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Boston Creates: Implementation in Action

Just over sixty days ago, we launched the Boston Creates Cultural Plan.  We quickly moved from planning to implementation and we haven’t looked back.  

One of the goals of the plan is to keep artists in Boston and attract new ones to Boston.  That means we need to invest in individual artists, make City government more accessible, welcoming and responsive, and find opportunities for affordable artist housing as well as presenting and production space.  

Earlier this month, Mayor Walsh launched The Opportunity Fund, a pilot grant program designed to support individual artists in the activities that help them share their work with the public or teach others, continue their professional development and hone their skills. It’s a monthly grant program, which gives us the flexibility to help artists when they need the funds, when a small grant can help them take advantage of an opportunity to showcase their work or learn a new skill.  Each month, we’ll have $10,000 to share in grants of up to $1000.  We know this is needed:  In the first month alone, we received more than 90 applications.  We’ll be opening applications again on September 1st.  

At launch, we talked about creating an Artist Resource Desk to help artists navigate City Hall and the arts and culture sector in Boston.  I’m pleased to let you know we have recently posted a job opening for an Artist Resource Manager to staff this desk.  Please view the job listing here and help us find the right person who can focus on delivering outstanding service to the arts and culture sector in Boston

In the next few weeks, we’ll begin accepting applications for the Assets for Artists program.  This program will offer matching grants to artists, coupled with training in money management, business planning, and other professional skills needed for success.   

And this fall, as part of a larger artist census effort we’ll be collecting more information from artists regarding their housing needs; helping us further quantify issues surrounding residential, live/work, and work studios.

Another goal of the plan is to integrate arts and culture into all aspects of civic life.  To do that, we know we need to integrate creative thinking into the work of every municipal department and all planning efforts, to use arts and culture for civic discourse, to ensure arts education and arts learning is available citywide and to integrate arts, culture and creativity into the public realm and urban environment.

As the first cohort of the Boston Artist-in-Residence (Boston AIR) program comes to a close, more than 110 applications were submitted by artists who were interested in participating in the second phase of the program.  The selection committee is currently reviewing the applications and later this month, ten artists will be selected to work in collaboration with the Boston Centers for Youth & Families.  If you are interested in learning more about what one of our AIR artists worked on this past year,  take a moment to read about Shaw Pong Liu’s work with the Boston Police Department in this article from The Boston Globe.    

Just this week, we announced the availability of the RFP for the Hyde Square public art project, asking artists and residents to submit their proposals for a public art installation that will be implemented in conjunction with the reconstruction of Hyde Square in the fall of 2017. The project is being funded through a commitment from the Department of Public Works, who allotted $100,000 of the budget for public art.  It’s a perfect example of how we can integrate arts and culture into all aspects of civic life.  

Over the next couple of months, we are going to continue to focus on implementing programs that address all of the goals outlined in the plan.  I’ll continue to keep you updated on our progress and as we move forward, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions

Remember, Boston educates, innovates, incubates, celebrates, participates…. And above all, Boston Creates.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!

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