Live Arts Boston announces a diverse cohort of 60 artist partners in fourth year of the program

Program has now made more than $3 million in grants; more than 70% of 2020 grants go to projects led by artists of color

June 16, 2020

Boston – The Boston Foundation and Barr Foundation today announced 60 performing artists, groups, and small organizations will share in $770,000 in grants to create, produce, and present new works in the fourth year of the Live Arts Boston (LAB) program. The artist partners, representing a cross-section of performing arts styles and genres, were chosen from more than 340 applicants through an open community review process that included nearly 50 national and local artists and arts administrators.

Meet the 2020 LAB grantees

Selection from 2020 LAB page
Meet all 60 LAB artists and learn more about their projects on the Live Arts Boston page of
Live Arts Boston

For the second consecutive year, more than 70 percent of those receiving funding are projects led by people of color, and roughly half of individual artists in the program are immigrants or new Americans. In addition to their grant funds, the grantees will receive project advising, skill-building workshops, networking opportunities, and support for professional development that bring the total support for the project in 2020 to nearly $1 million.

Since 2017, Live Arts Boston funding has made it possible for recipients to provide millions of dollars in direct payments to artists working on their projects. In addition, the 245 grants since the beginning of the program have created a network of shared and peer resources for local artists across all performing arts disciplines and genres.

“We are in a time of unprecedented challenges to the local arts community, but also one that is inspiring a new generation of creative innovations in the sector,” said Eva Rosenberg, Interim Director, Arts and Culture at the Boston Foundation. “The creativity and resilience of artists are urgently needed in this extended crisis. In keeping with our racial equity focus, we are proud to announce a cohort of grantees that includes strong representation from communities of color at this moment of racial reckoning for the country. We are hopeful and confident that not only will Live Arts Boston funding provide support for these artists and their work, but also that the network of artists LAB creates will provide a collective platform to share ideas, develop new practices, and provide much-needed mutual support at this critical time.”

Beyond the Live Arts Boston funding, the Boston Foundation has also provided $115,000 in funding to five Black- and Latinx-led LAB grantee partner organizations – BAMS Fest, Castle of our Skins, Danza Orgánica, HipStory, and Front Porch Arts Collective – to support their efforts to uplift other artists.

Barr Foundation
The Barr Foundation is a partner in Live Arts Boston
Barr Foundation

“Culture is key to social change, and artists are our culture bearers, truthtellers and provocateurs,” said San San Wong, Director of Arts & Creativity at the Barr Foundation. “COVID-19 and the racial justice uprisings have brought widespread attention to the fact that the status quo is deeply broken, and must be challenged. Live Arts Boston supports artists who have the vision and inspiration to engage our communities in reimagining and building a more compassionate, vibrant and just society.”

With an eye toward the rapidly changing landscape for artists and arts organizations, the LAB grant partners will work in close partnership with recipients, providing them with flexible support for their continuing creative efforts in the coming year.

Facts about the 2020 LAB Cohort:

Number of grantees: 60
Grants to individual artists: 31
Grants to groups and organizations: 29

Percentage of groups and organizations led by POC: 61%*
Percentage of individual artists identifying as POC: 84%**

Grant recipients by self-described career-level:
Early career: 31%; Mid-career: 22%; Experienced: 47%

Grant recipients by primary discipline:
Music: 48%; Dance: 18%; Performance Art: 17%; Theater: 7%; Traditional/Folk Art: 5%; Spoken Word: 3%; Opera/Musical Theater: 2%

Grantees receiving LAB support for the first time: 67%

Grantees who had never previously applied for a grant of any kind: 25%

Artists in the 2020 LAB Cohort represent neighborhoods across the City of Boston, as well as 17 other communities – Arlington, Belmont, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Dedham, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Milton, Newton, Quincy, Somerville, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, and Weymouth. A full list of the 2020 grantees is attached.

* : This percentage was calculated as the number of grantees who identified a majority of the members of their project team as non-white

** : Percentage of individual artists defining themselves as: Black/African American, Asian/Asian American, Spanish/Hispanic/Latinx, Middle Eastern, North African, or Multi-Racial