Plan Updates

City Takes First Implementation Steps

Boston, MA — Mayor Martin J. Walsh today launched the Boston Creates cultural plan: a ten-year initiative led by the City of Boston that will align public and private resources to strengthen cultural vitality over the long-term and weave arts and culture into the fabric of everyday life.

The plan identifies five strategic goals and calls for a cultural shift in the way City government and the private sector approaches and prioritizes arts and culture. This approach will include leveraging current and future municipal investments, creating new partnerships, breaking down barriers that hinder participation in the arts, creating infrastructure that supports artists, and aligning resources towards the goal of making Boston a municipal arts leader.

The City is working to create additional funding sources for the arts, including the announcement of a municipal Percent for Art program

Critical to achieving the vision of the plan is ensuring its long term-viability. This will include leadership and financial commitments from the City as well as the cultural, corporate and philanthropic sectors. In addition, the Mayor, as always, remains committed to strengthening existing and identifying new, sustainable sources of public revenue.

“We are already making substantial investments and policy changes that will have significant impacts across the city,” said Mayor Walsh “To fully achieve the goals of this plan will take time, ingenuity and collaboration, with City government, philanthropy, business and civic leaders, and the arts and culture community all working together to make the case for sustainable investment in the arts in Boston.”

The City is working to create additional funding sources for the arts, including the announcement of a municipal Percent for Art program which will leverage the City’s Five Year Capital Plan to invest in public art as part of major city construction and infrastructure projects. Through the capital plan, the Percent for Art Program would devote funding to public art equal to approximately 1% of the City’s anticipated annual general borrowing.
Separately, the Department of Public Works has made a commitment to budget $100,000 for permanent public art as part of a road improvement project in Hyde Square.

“Setting aside units and including money for public art are the first steps in helping Boston Creates reach its goal of making art accessible to all and keeping artists in Boston.”

As affordable housing for artists continues to be a challenge, today the Boston Housing Authority announced it will begin to set aside low-income housing for artists in redevelopments. As part of the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill public housing development into a new mixed-income community in Charlestown, the Boston Housing Authority and its developer partner Corcoran-SunCal will set aside 10 units of low-income housing, available to income-eligible artists. Simultaneously, new guidelines will be created for the City of Boston Artist Certification Program.

The BHA and the developer have also pledged to set aside money for public art in the project, with the details to be announced in the coming months.

“It’s no secret that high housing costs make it challenging for artists to live in Boston and we’re committed to working with Mayor Walsh to find innovative solutions to this problem,” said Bill McGonagle, BHA Administrator. “Setting aside units at the Bunker Hill public housing development and including money for public art in the budget are the first steps in helping Boston Creates reach its goal of making art accessible to all and keeping artists in Boston. We’re proud to do our part.”

Imagine Boston 2030 will include a commitment to catalyze three neighborhood Arts Innovation Districts.

Ensuring arts and culture will reach across geographic and cultural borders, Imagine Boston 2030, the city’s first comprehensive planning process in 50 years, will include a commitment to catalyze three neighborhood Arts Innovation Districts. Immediately, working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the City will study ways to strengthen Upham’s Corner as a cultural hub, building upon the City’s investment in the Strand Theatre and integrating local businesses and arts into the economy. Two more locations will be identified through Imagine Boston 2030’s public engagement process over the summer and into the fall.

To ensure sustained momentum over the long-term, implementation of the plan will require collaboration and leadership from the community. The Boston Foundation today announced the “Catalyze Creativity” Pooled Fund for Dance and Theater to provide critically needed, flexible support to small entities and artists working within the least institutionally-supported disciplines in the performing arts in Greater Boston – dance and theater, broadly defined. TBF will provide $500,000 per year for three years to pilot and establish this new mechanism of support within Greater Boston’s arts ecology. The Barr Foundation will contribute $250,000 in the first year of the Fund.

During the community engagement phase of the process and in the final Boston Creates town hall, Bostonians across geographic locations and diverse communities expressed a desire to see greater cultural equity and access to the arts in their city. To meet this demand, The Boston Foundation has committed to launching a cultural equity study later in the year, exploring how cultural equity and access to the arts can be enhanced across the city. They will also devote funding to an artist housing strategy, which will identify how the region can create sufficient supplies of affordable residential, live/work and work studios to address the needs of artists.

“The Boston Foundation is proud to provide significant funding to small organizations, collaborations, and artists historically deprived of institutional capital.”

“The Boston Foundation is proud to provide significant funding to small organizations, collaborations, and artists historically deprived of institutional capital in Boston,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “The process of Boston Creates, so ably supported by the Barr Foundation and The Klarman Family Foundation, has demonstrated a shared commitment to meaningful change to our city’s approach to supporting the arts. Mayor Walsh has elevated this urgent and timely conversation, and we must further come together as a community to provide the leadership and resources to bring our shared expectations to fruition and make Boston the preeminent arts city in America.”

Showcasing the types of partnerships it will seek to catalyze, the City announced Emerson College and the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development will partner to commission a feasibility study to look at designing and implementing a Creative Industries workforce program. It is expected that such a partnership would also utilize the area’s community colleges to identify Bostonians who would be trained for jobs in the city’s arts and culture institutions and industries.

In another new partnership, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston will advise the City of Boston on conservation of the City of Boston’s art collection, sharing its expertise and best practices on care and preservation as well as evaluating the current state of the collection. The City looks forward to leveraging the very specific expertise at the MFA in an effort to protect and preserve artwork owned by the City. In addition, the City and the MFA will work collaboratively to site sculpture from the MFA’s collection on parkland contiguous to the museum’s Huntington Ave. location.

Additionally, The Alternatives Spaces Pilot Project will use underutilized private space as rehearsal space for arts organizations. Beginning with space commitments from Massachusetts Eye & Ear, AT&T’s flagship store on Boylston Street and the Plumbers Local 12 Union Hall, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will help these entities write and distribute an RFP for use of their spaces for rehearsals on a regular basis, for a minimum of one-year commitment. The program will expand as other companies and organizations with available space step forward.

Arts organizations can forge new cross-sectoral relationships with companies and institutions.

“We are particularly excited about this innovative, low-cost program,” said Joyce Linehan, Chief of Policy for the City of Boston. “It not only answers a need for rehearsal space that we heard loud and clear, but it also serves as an avenue for arts organizations to forge new cross-sectoral relationships with companies and institutions.”

At the forefront of a cultural shift is creating the infrastructure that ensures artists can thrive in Boston. Guidelines for two new grant programs are forthcoming. The first is the Boston Opportunity Fund for Artists, a rolling grant program designed to help artists take advantage of immediate opportunities to showcase their work. $10,000 will be available monthly for distribution to artists, in amounts of $500 and $1,000. Later this year, the City will launch a highly competitive artist fellowship program. The City of Boston continues its second round of the innovative Boston AIR in which artists are in-residence in City agencies.

“Keeping artists in Boston and creating a fertile environment where they can work is a key goal of the cultural plan,” said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. “From the establishment of an Artist Resource Desk to a significant increase in grant funding and creating ways to help artists take advantage of these grants, we are working to find ways to help Boston artists- veteran and new – showcase their work and thrive here.”

Funding

Percent for Art

Percent for Art will leverage the City’s Five Year Capital Plan to invest in public art as a part of major City infrastructure projects. Through the Capital Plan, the Percent for Art Program will devote funding to public art equal to approximately 1% of The City’s anticipated annual general borrowing. Public art projects will be sited at or near select City capital projects such as libraries, schools, parks, public safety facilities, and special roadway projects. The City will develop policies and procedures to govern usage of the funds, processes for project and artist selection, and long-term maintenance of public art. The City will initiate a pilot of the program in FY17, with a full roll out planned in FY18.

Catalyze Creativity – Pooled Fund for Dance and Theater

Aligned with the goals of the cultural plan, The Boston Foundation (TBF) today announced the “Catalyze Creativity” Pooled Fund for Dance and Theater, a collaborative fund to provide critically needed, flexible support to small entities and artists working within the least institutionally-supported disciplines in the performing arts in Greater Boston – dance and theater, broadly defined. TBF will provide $500,000 per year for three years to pilot and establish this new mechanism of support within Greater Boston’s arts ecology. The Barr Foundation will contribute $250,000 in the first year of the Fund.

Artists Grants

Guidelines for the previously announced artist grant programs, funded through the Mayor’s Million Dollar Investment in Artists, are forthcoming. One of these programs will be the Boston Opportunity Fund for Artists, a rolling grant program designed to help artists take advantage of immediate opportunities to showcase their work. Each month, $10,000 will be available for distribution to artists, in amounts of $500 and $1,000. Later this year, the City will launch a highly competitive artist fellowship grant program.

Anonymous Artist-Endowed Trust Grant

A $50,000 grant to the Fund for Boston Neighborhoods provided by an anonymous donor will be split equally between support for individual artist grants through the Boston Cultural Council and the Boston Artist-In-Residence Program at Boston Centers for Youth and Families.

Eastern Bank

As the first corporate partner on board, Eastern Bank has made a grant to support the Boston Cultural Council to continue the work of convening the cultural community in alignment with the goals of the cultural plan.

Integrating Arts Through the Fabric of the City

Imagine Boston 2030 – Creation of Arts Innovation Districts

Arts, culture, and creativity will be an integral part of Imagine Boston 2030, Boston’s first citywide planning process in 50 years. Boston Creates has and will continue to inform the goals of the comprehensive plan.

The plan will include a commitment to catalyze three neighborhood Arts Innovation Districts. In the immediate term, working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the City will study ways to strengthen Upham’s Corner as a cultural hub, building upon its investment in the Strand Theatre and the integration of businesses and arts into the local economy. At least two more Arts Innovation District locations will be identified through Imagine Boston 2030’s public engagement process over the summer and into the fall. These districts will build on existing and emerging nodes for arts and culture, and feature innovative opportunities, incentives, and pilot projects to cultivate arts and innovation.

Boston Artist-In-Residence Call for Artists

Announced in January, the City of Boston continues its second round of the innovative Boston Artist-In-Residence (Boston AIR) program, in which local artists are embedded in City departments to help promote creative thinking within municipal government. In FY17, the program will be expanded to place artists in Boston Centers for Youth & Families. Later this month, Boston AIR will detail the call for artists, including the timeline and how many artists will be selected.

Public Works Commitment

The Department of Public Works has announced a road improvement project in Hyde Square, where $100,000 has been budgeted for permanent public art.

City Hall Guest Curators and Collaborations

The Museum of Fine Arts, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Peabody Essex Museum and the DeCordova Museum have committed to curate temporary galleries at City Hall. In addition, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will collaborate with the Institute of Contemporary Art/ Boston to host a teen art show at City Hall.

Public Art Collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)

The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) will advise the City of Boston on conservation of the City’s art collection, sharing its expertise and best practices on care and preservation, as well as evaluating the current state of the collection. The City looks forward to this partnership as a part of an effort to better protect and preserve artwork owned by the municipality. The MFA and the City will also work collaboratively to site sculpture from the MFA’s collection on parkland contiguous to the Museum’s Huntington Avenue location.

Support for Artists

Housing for Artists

Boston Housing Authority (BHA) announced it will begin to set aside low-income housing for certified artists in redevelopments. Immediately, as part of the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill public housing property into a new mixed-income community in Charlestown, the Boston Housing Authority and its developer partner Corcoran-SunCal will set aside 10 units of low-income housing, available to income-eligible artists. The BHA and the developer have also pledged to set aside money for public art in the redevelopment project, with the details to be announced in the coming months. Simultaneously, new guidelines will be created for the City of Boston Artist Certification Program.

This follows the recent announcement of Boston East, a development by Trinity Financial in East Boston, a residential community that includes 174 market-rate and 26 affordable units, including six artist live-work-sell units, where artists can have small galleries as part of the unit, open to the public.

Aligned with the plan, The Boston Foundation announced they will devote funding to develop an artist housing strategy, which will identify how the region can create sufficient supplies of affordable residential, live/work, and work studios to address the needs of artists.

Assets for Artists

Partnering with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MASS MoCA) Assets for Artists program, the City of Boston will fund 10 Boston artists to receive matching grants of $1,000 to $2,000 each, coupled with training in money management, business planning, and other professional skills needed for success. In addition, the City’s Office of Financial Empowerment will provide free one-on-one financial coaching and credit building workshops to the cohort of 10 artists.

Artist Resource Desk

Announced with the Mayor’s Million Dollar Investment in Artists, the staff position for this new function within the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture will be posted later this month. Working closely with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, this person will serve as a liaison between artists and arts producers, and City Hall, helping with permitting, licensing, housing and other functions.

Boston Community Access Low Power FM Radio Program

When the City’s Low Power FM station signs on later this year, it will feature a new program produced by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, highlighting arts offerings throughout the city and showcasing Boston talent.

Cultural Space and Facilities

Alternatives Spaces Pilot Project

This fall the City will launch an Alternative Spaces Pilot Project, an initiative to identify underutilized private spaces eligible for rehearsals and performances by arts and culture organizations. Beginning with space commitments from Massachusetts Eye & Ear, AT&T’s flagship store on Boylston Street, and the Plumbers Local 12 Union Hall, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will help these entities write and distribute an RFP for use of their spaces for a minimum of a one-year commitment. The program will expand as other companies and organizations with available space step forward.

Civic and Cultural Space RFP

Later this summer, continuing Mayor Walsh and Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) Director Brian Golden’s push to improve the way the BRA engages with the public on planning efforts, the BRA will issue an RFP for an additional civic and cultural space in the South Boston Waterfront. This follows a successful RFP for cultural space at 100 Pier 4, awarded to the Society for Arts & Crafts (SAC) last year, which will open exhibition and retail galleries this fall. The SAC will also include space for lectures and workshops, a planned public craft library and programming for the civic plaza.

Performing Arts Cultural Facilities Study

Last fall, the City launched a cultural facilities study designed to help understand the current performing arts landscape and determine the best next steps for supporting, developing, and sustaining performing arts facilities. The results of the study will be released later this summer.

Cultural Equity

Cultural Equity and Access Study

During the community engagement phase of the planning process and in the final Boston Creates town hall, Bostonians across geographic locations and diverse communities expressed a desire to see greater cultural equity and access to the arts in their city. To meet this demand, The Boston Foundation has committed to launching a cultural equity study later in the year, exploring how cultural equity and access to the arts can be enhanced across the city.

Boston Arts Consortium for Health Survey

To encourage deeper engagement by practitioners in the field of arts and healing, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will partner with Boston Arts Consortium for Health (BACH) to design a survey to evaluate the depth and breadth of the use of the arts in a variety of healthcare settings including hospitals, community health centers, and senior centers. The survey will also assess how arts and culture improve community and individual health in other organizations such as youth development facilities, schools, and prisons. Survey dissemination is expected this fall.

Arts Education and Training

Creative Industries Workforce Study with Emerson College

Emerson College and the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development will partner to commission a feasibility study to assess the design and implementation of a new Creative Industries Workforce Program. The partnership will also call upon the area’s community colleges to help identify Bostonians to be trained for jobs in the city’s arts and culture institutions and industries.

Boston Public Schools Arts Education Policy

Boston Public Schools (BPS) will revise its Arts Education Policy to reflect significant progress made in delivering arts education offerings to students and a renewed commitment to quality arts education in public schools. The current Arts Education Policy was adopted in 1994, endorsing sequential training in Music, Visual Arts, Theater, Dance and Literary Arts as part of the core curriculum, including collaboration with Boston’s professional arts and cultural community, the establishment of site-based Arts’ Planning Teams, student enrichment and honors programs, festivals and exhibits to showcase student artwork, and professional development for arts teachers.

Even with the progress BPS Arts has made, the landscape for quality arts education remains uneven in the schools. In the Spring of 2008, BPS launched a planning process to develop a coherent framework for District-wide expansion of arts education. Based on the results of the planning process, a multi-year, three-part strategy was launched. The strategy prioritized: expanding direct arts education; building capacity at the district level to support systematic growth throughout the district; and strengthening coordination, recognizing the importance of strong and sustainable partnerships between schools and the rich and diverse arts, cultural and higher education institutions.

The revised Arts Education Policy will to align with the arts education goals of the cultural plan, which promote sustained, quality, and sequential arts education programs for all Boston Public School students.

2016 BPS Arts Expansion Fund Grants

EdVestors today announced the 2016 Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion Fund grants, a commitment of $680,000 to schools working with nonprofits and/or teaching artists to expand, sustain, or deepen access to arts education for BPS students. Funding will go to 65 schools and 34 nonprofit arts partners to continue to expand arts learning opportunities in schools as well as to nonprofit arts organizations providing professional development for BPS arts teachers.

These grants complement the increased public funding for arts education, which has led to an 80% increase in BPS Arts Specialists since 2009. Combined, this has resulted in 17,000 additional students receiving arts educations during the school day compared to 2009.