Volunteer-led community teams were at the heart of the community engagement effort. These teams were responsible for connecting neighborhoods and communities to the process, leading community conversations, and encouraging participation in Boston Creates. They gathered ideas for the plan, empowered neighborhood cultural leaders, and fostered cohesion among local cultural organizations and artists. The team chairs are trusted leaders in their respective communities who helped Boston Creates hear from a broad range of voices. The City recruited additional team members through an open application process. A youth team, composed of volunteer high school students, led conversations with young residents of all the city’s neighborhoods.
The community teams reflected the city’s diversity in terms of culture, neighborhood, language, and age, and included many artists and creative workers. The teams had high levels of participation and energy and a strong sense of camaraderie. Each team collected information from its community in slightly different ways and created its own unique story about the community’s experience with Boston’s arts and cultural life. Participants also built relationships, formed collaborations, and generated a shared awareness of the possibilities for cultural development that is reverberating throughout Boston. It will be important to build on this work in order to move the plan forward.