Boston Foundation Awards More Than $300,000 to Local Arts Groups

March 27, 2003

Boston – The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Boston’s primary presenter of new visual, performance and media artwork, was awarded the Boston Foundation’s $75,000 “Out of the Blue” grant at today’s quarterly meeting of its Board of Directors.  The Out of the Blue grants are unsolicited, one-year grants that are made to high-performance organizations that are making a difference in the community.

“The primary goals of these grants are to recognize strong organizational leadership and outstanding work. Because no organization rises above its peers without the hard work and vision of many committed individuals, the grant also necessarily recognizes the excellence of the board and staff leadership,” said Paul S. Grogan, President of the Boston Foundation.  “Under the guidance of Jill Medvedow, the ICA’s James Sachs Plaut Director, this mid-sized agency has described an ambitious, yet realizable vision for the role of a contemporary arts institution in this city that more readily embraces the traditional.”

One of the oldest contemporary art museums in the country, the ICA is in the midst of a $60 million dollar capital campaign to support its relocation to Fan Pier.  It is currently housed in an 1880s Back Bay police station that includes two floors of exhibition space divided by stairs, a video gallery, and a small, 144-seat theater. Now, ICA leadership is planning a highly anticipated move into a new 62,000 square feet and outdoor spaces for public performances, educational activities, and waterfront access.  A 5,300 square foot performing arts theater with glass walls facing the Boston Harbor will provide a natural backdrop for dance and jazz performances.

“The ICA is thrilled to be the recipient of this award, and grateful for the recognition and leadership of the Boston Foundation,” said Jill Medvedow.  “The arts and the new ICA ensure that creativity and culture will remain central to our shared vision of the city.  This award will help us reach our ambitious goals of transforming individual lives and civic life in Boston.”

“Today, the Institute of Contemporary Art is clearly poised to assume its rightful role as the region’s presenter, arbitrator, and educator in contemporary artistic matters,” said Ann McQueen, Program Officer of the Boston Foundation Arts Fund.  “This Out of the Blue award recognizes that while the ICA continues to be a work in progress, that progress has been significant.  The Institute of Contemporary Art has leveraged the vision and hard work of its board and staff to become a truly exemplary institution.”

The Boston Foundation continues its ongoing discretionary grantmaking in the arts and culture sector in a climate that has been brought into sharp relief by the realities of the current economic downturn and its accompanying state budget cuts, decreased individual giving, and the Foundation’s own constrained grantmaking capacity due to a reduced endowment.

In this dramatically altered funding environment, the Foundation is making a grant to support its first Senior Fellow position, as well as its convenings of a broadly representative group from the nonprofit, corporate and public sectors.  David Ellis, President Emeritus of the Museum of Science, will assume the one-year position of Senior Fellow in April.  His charge is to co-chair, along with Ann McQueen, a blue ribbon Cultural Task Force that will delve more deeply into the various funding mechanisms that could better support Greater Boston’s arts and cultural organizations, and to make recommendations for systemic change.  The Foundation released a major research project last month which analyzed the funding environment for Greater Boston’s arts and cultural organizations, and compared Boston’s mechanisms with those found in other metropolitan areas across the country.

“David Ellis earned the respect and admiration of his peers in the cultural community,” noted Paul Grogan, “not only based on his 12 years of service to the museum, but through his participation on the board of the Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences and Humanities, and his freely-given wise counsel.  We feel privileged to have his participation in this work, and look forward to his contributions in this vital area.”

Another grant, to the Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Sciences and Humanities (MAASH), will support its work to raise the profile of arts and culture state-wide and increase current funding of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  This is in keeping with the Foundation’s increased emphasis on sector-wide advocacy and capacity building.  MAASH will focus on building an advocacy network within the cultural community, forging new alliances, and educating and informing the general public and cultural communities of important issues in the field.

A grant to the Boston Museum Project will support its efforts to establish a Boston-focused history museum and visitor information center that is also a source for community pride, education, and civic engagement.   The museum hopes to secure a location on parcel 6 of the Rose Kennedy Greenway on the Central Artery Corridor.

A study of how public and private space directly adjacent to the new Central Artery land is being used was also funded this quarter.   Although not part of the arts and culture sector, this grant from the environmental sector to the Artery Business Committee will support the Wharf District Corridor Edges Study, and provide its key abutters with an opportunity to explore ways to integrate the Wharf District streetscape and the Rose Kennedy Greenway.  This project will also examine ways to activate the new public realm, reinforce the character of the Wharf District, and reconnect the city to the harbor.

Three musical organizations that have established outreach concerts and audience development programs will receive grants: the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Handel & Haydn Society, and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra.  Arts/Boston, a service organization focused on selling discounted and day-of-performance tickets, has established a comprehensive marketing capacity and is poised to impact both its own visibility and that of its member agencies.

The Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, has an endowment of more than $550 million and made grants of  $53.7 million to nonprofit organizations last year. The Boston Foundation is made up of 750 separate charitable funds, which have been established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a civic leader, convener, and sponsor of special initiatives designed to build community. For more information about the Boston Foundation and its grantmaking, visit, or call 617-338-1700.

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Arts and Culture Grants – nine grants totaling $257,500
Arts/Boston, Inc. - $40,000
Boston Foundation/Senior Fellow, Convenings - $30,000
Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Inc. - $20,000
Boston Museum Project - $30,000
Dorchester Community Center for the Visual Arts, Inc. - $30,000
Forest Hills Educational Trust - $20,000
Handel and Haydn Society - $12,500
Massachusetts Advocates for Arts, Sciences and Humanities - $50,000
Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston - $25,000

OUT OF THE BLUE GRANT – one grant totaling $75,000
Institute of Contemporary Art - $75,000

Environment Grants – one grant totaling $55,000
Artery Business Committee, Incorporated - $55,000