On November 6, friends of the Boston Foundation gathered together at a special luncheon to launch our 2020 Annual Campaign for Civic Leadership, which provides crucial support to the Boston Foundation’s civic research, public forums, coalition building and deep public policy work.
The program featured Boston Foundation President and CEO Paul S. Grogan in dialogue with special guests Lee Pelton, President of Emerson College, and Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum of Fine Arts. The discussion focused on the power of the arts to inform and transform the dialogue around the critical problems facing the Greater Boston community.
“One of the great purposes of cities is to enable the arts,” said Grogan, opening the program, “and the arts have always been central to the work of the Boston Foundation, whether stewarding our cultural heritage or supporting new art.”
Both arts administrators spoke to the goal of making their institutions integral to the fabric of the Greater Boston community and relevant to the world far outside its walls. Pelton addressed what he called “one of the major tropes of our day: borders,” adding that Emerson is seeking to build a “borderless campus,” not only with outposts in California, Europe and Australia, but locally in Boston, where he hopes to “build bridges with the community, not walls.”
Teitelbaum said that although the MFA is a great legacy institution, what drives his work today is making sure that everyone feels that the MFA belongs to them. “My greatest hope,” he said, “is to create a conversation at the MFA about what we want to be—a conversation that includes civility and community.” Both institutional leaders also expressed a deep commitment to diversity, with ArtsEmerson’s eclectic and accessible offerings and the MFA’s purposeful exploration of different cultures.
The Annual Campaign for Civic Leadership is co-chaired by Dwight and Kirsten Poler and Phill and Liz Gross. To learn more about the Boston Foundation's Civic Leadership work and donate to the 2019-2020 campaign, visit tbf.org/civicleadership.