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New leader for Roxbury Cultural District board of trustees

Artist/filmmaker Daniel Callahan named president

Celina Colby
Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
New leader for Roxbury Cultural District board of trustees
Daniel Callahan PHOTO: JONATHAN TURNER

Multimedia artist, filmmaker and designer Daniel Callahan has been appointed president of the Roxbury Cultural District board of trustees. A native of the Boston area and Roxbury, Callahan worked around the U.S. before finding his way back home. He hopes to bring the same artistic support and inspiration that he’s received here to other artists and art organizations in Roxbury.

“We are based on recognizing and identifying Roxbury’s cultural assets and establishing tools, strategies, resources and spaces to elevate the community of Roxbury, not only as a living repository of arts and culture but also throughout the ages,” says Callahan. “Our vision for what Roxbury will become is a healthy and thriving ecosystem for arts and culture.”

One of the primary ways the Board of Trustees will pursue that vision is by compiling a directory of artists and art organizations in Roxbury and utilizing that database to connect artists with resources. Funding is one of the greatest challenges for many art projects; Roxbury Cultural District would be the glue that holds all the local makers and organizations together. Callahan encourages artists to reach out to the Roxbury Cultural District team to be added to the list or to discuss other needs in the community.

Getting the word out about Boston’s robust arts scene will be another part of the work. “Massachusetts is in the news a lot, and it’s not so much for its arts and culture — but it should be. There’s a richness here that doesn’t need to be created, it just needs to be elevated,” says Callahan.

In his personal art practice, Callahan debuted his first feature film this year, which was screened at the Roxbury International Film Festival and is working on a new piece about the dual crises of the coronavirus pandemic and the structural racism here in Boston. He also teaches at Emerson College.

Callahan says that many of Roxbury’s art institutions, like the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, feel separated from the Boston community, when they should be part of one ecosystem. That museum and other organizations deserve more recognition and support for their work. Community members who want to get involved can help source information for the database by connecting artists to the RCD. Board membership positions are also available, he says, and donors are always welcome to support the cultural cause.

“As human beings, art is foundational to our existence and to our existence in a positive way,” says Callahan. “The question really is, are we willing to put the resources towards what we know we need?”

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