Building On A Big Year For Arts And Culture In Boston

As we move sầu forward inkhổng lồ 2022, it"s important that we look baông chồng on the past year. Here are a few of our proudest moments:

Continuing khổng lồ support COVID-19 recovery

We know just how much’s arts sector has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. This year, we spent a lot of time thinking about how we can best support the artists, creatives, cultural practitioners, & organizations that 3D the city’s arts community. We started by partnering with The Foundation và the Barr Foundation to lớn provide $450,000 in COVID-19 relief funding lớn 17 local BIPOC (Blaông chồng, Indigenous, People of Color) arts và culture organizations. We also convened these grantees to learn more about the needs of organizations founded, led by, và serving communities of color to lớn thrive in the Greater area.

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Arts & Culture COVID-19 Relief Fund grantee OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center

Our support for arts organizations continued when we made more than $3 million in funding available to local arts organizations through our recurring Cultural Council grants và Reopen Creative sầu, a new initiative sầu funded by the American Rescue Plan Act that aims to support arts & culture organizations that need financial tư vấn lớn recover from the economic impact of COVID-19 and reopen their offerings to the public.

In addition to arts organizations, we were also aware of the needs of individual artists & creative workers this year. We were so happy lớn be able to lớn fund all of the remaining eligible applications from artists who applied for the Artist Relief Fund in 20đôi mươi. And on top of that, we relaunched the Opportunity Fund! We just recently raised grant amounts and shifted our funding priorities lớn focus on individuals that belong to lớn geographic and identity-based communities most impacted by COVID-19.

Bringing more public art into lớn neighborhoods that is reflective sầu of communities

The đô thị saw a vast array of murals, sculptures, installations, and activations pop up in neighborhoods throughout the entire thành phố this past year. One of the biggest public art achievements of the year was that we allocated $750,000 in funding for mural projects at 10 sites across nine neighborhoods and awarded over $3trăng tròn,000 in grants to 27 short-term public art projects và activations as part of the Transformative sầu Public Art Program.


"Together" mural by Mz. Ioto, created as part of the Transformative sầu Public Art Program.

Projects included Mz Icar’s mural “Together”, a colorful love sầu letter that serves as a reminder that we are connected, valuable, và on a journey, & Alex Cook’s mural series that includes one with the message "you are loved", all at the Engagement Center in Newmarket.

We also saw some huge milestones in long-term public art projects. We installed’s first long-term artwork to be funded by the City’s Percent for Art Program, “Wythe và Web” by Matthew Hinçman in Jamaica Plain, a sculptural intervention that responds directly to lớn the community’s desire for artwork that embraces the neighborhood’s identity và “keeps JP weird”.


Ribbon cutting for “Wythe và Web” by Matthew Hinçman in Jamaica Plain.

And artist Joe Wardwell’s project at the Roxbury Branch in collaboration with poet Nakia Hill & youth from 826’s Youth Literary Advisory Board, a colorful, layered installation of poetry and Roxbury landscapes on three walls in the building, began installation & will be completely installed this month.

In addition to the big projects, we also paid 83 artists khổng lồ paint utility boxes through the PaintBox program. You might see one on your way lớn work, or while taking a walk in your neighborhood!

Seeing artists’ projects come lớn life through RIRJ

Through our Radical Imagination for Racial Justice (RIRJ) pilot program in partnership with MassArt, we awarded 16 grants at the kết thúc of 20đôi mươi lớn BIPOC artists imagining racially just futures in và with their community. There were so many amazing artists who developed great projects through the program this year, including: 

Husain Rizvi, an MIT student studying Urban Planning & Comparative sầu Media Studies who created “Games for Justice,” a summer program for BIPOC teens lớn learn game design and create đoạn phim games in an equitable environment.

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Duo Adobo-Fish-Sauce (Anthony Febo và Ricky Orng) who led “Recipes for Racial Justice”, a project where they conducted virtual workshops with “poet-chefs” to help them create their own recipes that communicate their cultural identity through food & spoken word. Lily Xie, whose multitruyền thông project "Washing" (洗作) highlighted the embodied effects of community power, urban thiết kế, & environmental racism in"s Chinatown & weaves together oral histories, iPhone videos, sound recordings, and performance art in response khổng lồ the legacies of the I-93 & I-90 highways. Musician Fabiola Méndez, whose project “Negrura,” in collaboration with Monica Cohen & The Boom House Productions, is a storytelling project about the Afro-Latinx community in’s Latin Quarter. The finished hàng hóa was a documentary that will be publicly screened soon!


RIRJ artist Lily Xie"s project "Washing" (洗作).

Supporting’s cultural spaces

Significant efforts have sầu been made over the past year khổng lồ protect, preserve, và grow’s cultural spaces. A proud moment for us was definitely the designation of the Little Saigon Cultural District, & receiving a $75,000 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts khổng lồ support the district. We look forward to lớn continuing lớn work with the district in the coming year!


Walking tour of Little Saigon cultural district.

We developed a guide for supporting cultural spaces in the đô thị, with specific ideas và models for action that can be used going forward. We’re continuing khổng lồ move sầu forward with placekeeping as a priority in our work.

We also had an exciting opportunity come out of our office this year, where we launched a Request for Proposals for an Indigenous Public Art & Cultural Spaces consultant lớn work with us over the course of two years. They will be working alongside our team to inform the City of"s public art commissioning program và governmental approaches to lớn art, property, & lvà in More details about this are coming soon — so stay tuned!

Celebrating the power of poetry

Our Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola & Youth Poet Laureate Alondra Bobadilla played an instrumental role in uplifting onfire-bg.comians & bringing communities together despite the uncertainty và hardships that were experienced by so many throughout the past year. 

Roxbury Poetry Festival.

Through virtual workshops và readings, including the HOME poetry series, they celebrated local poets while also giving residents of all backgrounds và experience levels the opportunity to express themselves creatively through written và spoken word. And we were so happy to be able khổng lồ come together in person to celebrate the inaugural Roxbury Poetry Festival & Alondra’s launch of her debut collection of poetry! Youth Poet Laureate Alondra Bobadilla reading from her debut collection of poetry, "With Clipped Wings".

This work is continuing, and we’re excited to announce’s new Youth Poet Laureate this month.

Embedding artists & creative workers in City departments

Our fourth cohort of Artists-in-Residence ( AIR) continued the work they began in 20trăng tròn khổng lồ help City departments reimagine policies and processes in creative sầu ways. This resulted in five sầu distinct projects that aimed khổng lồ improve the wellbeing of residents và create positive sầu change within City systems. AIR final event.

One project that we’re looking forward khổng lồ continuing is the mural to celebrate the life and legacy of Rita Hester in the Allston neighborhood. This mural was proposed by Artist-in-Residence Golden, & we’re currently in the artist selection phase of the process.

You can read more about each of the former Artists-in-Residence và their projects.

We’re eager to lớn see what 2022 has in store for us, & are ready khổng lồ keep working toward a stronger, more equitable arts ecosystem in! 

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