There are reasons why the Boston Creates process incorporated such unprecedented community engagement. This approach grew, in part, out of a core belief that creativity is not just the realm of professional artists and designers, or of the innovators who have made Boston a world leader in fields such as healthcare and technology. Everybody has creativity, and everyone should have the ability to engage in creative activity and be part of Boston’s rich arts and culture scene.
Innovation and creativity are part of Boston’s DNA, just as much as our fabled history. That history, in fact, is full of examples of creativity and innovation—not just in the arts, sciences, and technology but in civic life as well. In the early 19th century, for example, the city established the first public park in America, the first public school system and public secondary school, the first public school for African-Americans, and the nation’s first large, free, publicly supported municipal library. These inventions responded to the need to extend educational and cultural opportunities to greater numbers of Bostonians in a city that was becoming increasingly diverse.
In today’s even more diverse city, we need to continue the work of enabling more Bostonians to enjoy and benefit from the city’s cultural resources—and to develop, share, and be recognized for their own creative expression. We also need to find innovative ways to support Boston artists and arts and culture organizations. The sector itself is much more inclusive than in the past, when officially recognized arts and culture in Boston were the domain of an elite few and the institutions they founded. Realizing these goals presents challenges but also furnishes an opportunity to unlock unprecedented amounts of creativity in order to strengthen the sector, foster creative solutions to problems in many other spheres, and enhance the life of the whole city.
As the Boston Creates process has made clear, many Bostonians today want to make arts and culture as much a part of the city’s identity as its history and traditions; its world leadership in education, healthcare, and innovation; and its rich tapestry of neighborhoods, communities, and cultures. The Boston Creates cultural plan presents a ten-year framework for the City, the city’s arts and culture sector, and all Bostonians who want a culturally vibrant Boston—or just want to be able to enjoy the city’s arts and cultural riches to the fullest.
Through Boston Creates, as a community, we envision:
- A Boston in which arts and culture are not just part of a storied past but at the heart of the city’s contemporary identity—powerfully expressing who Bostonians have been, who we are, and who we hope to be.
- A Boston that demonstrates in concrete ways how it values artists: enabling them to create and showcase their best and most innovative work, grow and develop throughout their careers, and receive the support they need to survive and flourish here.
- A Boston that celebrates diversity in all forms by inspiring and empowering all Bostonians to express their individual creativity and cultural identities.
- A Boston in which arts and culture are woven into the very fabric of urban living, where Bostonians—residents, workers, students, and visitors—participate and take pride in the vibrant cultural life to be found in every corner of the city.
- A Boston that fosters creative thinking as a way of solving our problems great and small.
Under the leadership of Mayor Walsh, we will continue to work together across social, cultural, geographic, and sector boundaries to bring the power of creativity to bear on the city’s challenges, great and small, and invent the Boston we want to live in for years to come. We know we can do this because Boston educates, innovates, incubates, celebrates, collaborates, and participates—but most of all, Boston Creates.