The City has already begun implementing recommendations from the planning process. The Mayor appointed arts and culture advocates to boards and commissions, including three recent appointments to the five-member Boston Redevelopment Authority board, which stewards most of the development in the city. With a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the City launched Boston AIR, a program designed to inject creativity into municipal problem-solving. Interagency collaborations are now the norm in City Hall, with arts voices present in all internal planning and on task forces. The Boston Art Commission, the custodian of the city’s public art, created a streamlined application that removes many barriers for artists proposing public art projects. These are just some examples of the initial steps the City is taking to implement the cultural plan. Building on the Mayor’s initial FY17 investments in arts and culture, the City has identified five priority areas for Boston Creates year one implementation:
- Expand City support for the arts through investments in public art as part of major City infrastructure projects. In partnership with the City of Boston Budget Office.
- Commit to a sustainable source of affordable artist housing. In partnership with the Boston Housing Authority, the Department of Neighborhood Development, and private developers.
- Commit to the inclusion of three Arts Innovation Districts in Imagine Boston 2030, the citywide comprehensive plan. In partnership with the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
- Work with local philanthropy to establish collaborative funding mechanisms to meet the needs of the arts and culture sector. One such fund is being developed by the Boston Foundation and the Barr Foundation.
- Launch a pilot program that addresses the need for affordable rehearsal space. In partnership with private and non-profit institutions.
These initial implementation items are opportunities for immediate action that resulted from the planning process and respond to some of the highest priority needs that we heard through Boston Creates: public art, housing, and funding for the sector. Partners both inside and out of City Hall have stepped up to support program design and implementation efforts.
Some tactics of the Boston Creates cultural plan call for further study in order for us to understand policy implications and first steps. The plan specifically calls for studies on artist housing, accessibility and inclusion, cultural equity, and performing arts venues. The City is planning to do the first three of these studies (the cultural facilities study on performing arts venues is already underway) and will take the lead on working with appropriate partners to ensure that research findings result in actionable policy. In anticipation of these studies and in order to align internal policies with study outcomes, we continue to work across departments in City Hall on initiatives like advocating for artist housing and for performance and work space.
The City will continue to lead implementation efforts beyond those named above and align partners to convene, think through ideas and solutions, make connections between efforts and individuals, and advocate for arts and culture. The City will also continue to cultivate relationships with potential funders in the philanthropic and corporate arenas. Because of the unique missions and priorities of prospective funding partners, a variety of mechanisms are being explored—for example, direct support to the City or the development of a pooled grant fund. Funding partners may also choose to align their giving with the priorities identified in the plan.