Tonight Mayor Walsh delivered his annual State of the City address at Symphony Hall. In this national historic landmark and one of the top concert halls in the world, Mayor Walsh once again reinforced his commitment to the arts by announcing a million-dollar investment in Boston’s artists.
We know that Boston is a culturally-vibrant city. Many artists come here to learn and train, attending the outstanding institutions such as Massachusetts College of Art and Design, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Berklee College of Music, the New England Conservatory and many others. Yet it can be challenging for artists to find housing, sustainable sources of funding and places to showcase their work. We have heard this repeatedly during the cultural planning process.
We also heard how strongly Boston believes in the power of arts to transform a city. This belief is echoed by Mayor Walsh and he is committed to seeing Boston viewed as a municipal arts leader. He’s backing up this commitment with the Mayor’s Million Dollar Investment in Artists, three new programs to help Boston’s artists.
First, Mayor Walsh committed $400,000 for direct artist grants. This will be a competitive grant process for artists living in Boston and the funds will be available in a variety of programs. The guidelines for the grants will be announced in the coming months. To stay up-to-date, sign up for our mailing list here
Second, Mayor Walsh has committed $100,000 to creating the Boston Artist Resource Desk at City Hall, staffed by a full time Boston Artist Resource Director. The director will serve as a liaison between artists and arts producers and City Hall, helping with permitting, licensing, housing and other functions. The office will serve as an aggregator for grant opportunities and will assist in the creation of a professional development program as well as establishing partnerships with other city departments.
Finally, building on the success of Boston’s Artist-in-Residence program announced last year, Mayor Walsh has committed $500,000 to expand the program to 10-12 Boston Centers for Youth and Families. Artists will be in residence in the BCYF centers to work with both the staff and clients to develop programs and to support creative problem solving, helping to transform the work and impact of the centers as well as the help in the implementation of other government practices and policies at the centers.
Boston Creates, the cultural planning process, is ongoing. We are looking forward to sharing the draft plan with you in March. But as the planning process continues, the work to elevate arts and culture in Boston continues. We can’t wait to get started on these new programs.