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City of Boston announces $7.35m investment in cultural community

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
City of Boston announces $7.35m investment in cultural community
City of Boston Chief of Arts and Culture Kara Elliott-Ortega (far right) and Mayor Michelle Wu (third from right) gather with Cultural Investment Grant recipients. PHOTO: ISABEL LEON, MAYOR’S OFFICE

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Equity and Inclusion Cabinet and the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion announced that 11 arts and cultural organizations around Boston will receive grants totaling $7,350,000 in the next three-and-a-half years. These funds are part of the Cultural Investment Grant program, the largest municipal investment in Boston’s cultural community in the history of the city.

Emily Ruddock, executive director of MASSCreative, said, “MASSCreative, arts advocates and members applaud Mayor Wu and the Boston City Council for this historic investment into the infrastructure of Boston’s creative economy. We know that arts, culture and creativity are an economic driver for Boston, and this funding will ensure that these communal benefits are guaranteed for every resident in every neighborhood.“

The grantees include Beat The Odds, a Grove Hall-based organization that teaches young people the skills to succeed in creative industries; Dorchester Art Project and Boston Little Saigon Cultural District, a collaborative mixed-use cultural hub serving Dorchester; BAMS Fest, the organization behind the BIPOC-forward Boston Art & Music Soul Festival; Design Studio for Social Intervention, a social justice-focused creativity lab; The Theater Offensive, an organization serving queer and transgender communities through theater arts; and Veronica Robles Cultural Center, an organization promoting and preserving Latino arts and culture.

The list also includes Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (Pao Arts Center), an organization utilizing cultural programming to promote the well-being of the neighborhood; Cultural Equity Incubator, a group supporting small and mid-sized arts organizations led by and for queer, trans, 2-spirit, disabled, Black, Indigenous and people of color communities; That Child Got Talent; Secret Society of Black Creatives; Next Leadership Development Corporation, a collaboration that provides filmmaking arts to young creatives; Jean Appolon Expressions, a Haitian folkloric dance company; and Hyde Square Task Force, an organization amplifying Afro-Latin culture and heritage among young people.

Catherine T. Morris, Founder and Artistic Director of BAMS Fest, said, “The Cultural Investment Grant is a pivotal opportunity and a new beginning for the city of Boston, its residents, working artists and organizations to unapologetically stand together, collaborate, connect and amplify our talents, values, narratives and possibilities for the entire arts and culture ecosystem.”

The grants will be distributed in increments over the course of three-and-a-half years, with the goal of creating sustainable long-term support for the organizations and access to their services for the community. The three runners-up for the grants — Company One Theatre, Boston Children’s Chorus and The Guild — will also each receive $10,000.

Morris says, “We now have the chance to mobilize, organize and hold ourselves and others accountable to ensure that our neighborhoods, cultural spaces, ideas and values are truly upheld and supported.”

arts, City of Boston, Cultural Investment Grant, Mayor Michelle Wu
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