’Tis the season to Savor the Square
Festivals, fairs and fun enliven Nubian Square through Oct.
Every month from April to October, The American City Coalition (TACC) will host vibrant cultural and community events in Nubian Square as part of the Savor the Square initiative. Music festivals, a book fair, local shopping and family celebrations are intended to bring the neighborhood together and increase economic development in the square.
Savor the Square grew out of a Nubian Square market analysis run by TACC. “A common theme through the focus group was that a lot of people came to Nubian Square to get what they needed and then they left,” says Carole Walton, community development associate at TACC. In response to this, the community asked for weekend and evening events that would activate the square and encourage visitors to linger.
The program has been running annually for four years, but it’s growing and flourishing outside of the confines of pandemic restrictions. All the events are hosted at the Roxbury Branch of the Boston Public Library on its front plaza and are free and open to the public.
Savor the Square will host the annual Greater Roxbury Book Fair on May 20, highlighting local artists and authors from Roxbury and promoting the Boston Public Schools’ summer reading list. Visitors can attend author readings and book signings, learn about local literary organizations, attend story time and participate in other activities for all ages, like a cartoon tutorial with Comics in Color artist LJ-Baptiste.
Other events include the Roxbury Cultural & Music Festival on July 22, the Peace, Love and Hope Gospel Festival on August 19, Shop Nubian Square Day on September 16 and more. Many of the events are centered on the arts within Roxbury.
“What we understand about arts and culture is that not only is it a feature of the communities in which we engage, particularly Roxbury, and many folks in Dorchester and Mattapan, which really speaks to the breadth of the diversity of our communities…but it also creates jobs,” says Willie Bodrick, president and CEO of TACC. “It’s an opportunity for the artists to also be working.”
These programs are a win-win for Nubian Square. Community members get to attend vibrant concerts, socials and lectures for free; businesses get the benefit of prolonged foot traffic; and artists get paid for their work.
“For the community person, we want them to enjoy themselves, we want them to have fun, we hope that they meet new people,” says Bodrick. “And we want to make sure that they know that this community is one that is creating a community of collective engagement, but also care, concern and love for this neighborhood.”