2021 is a year of rebirth, reopening, rebuilding, and reimagining. In this context, we are proud to support performing artists creating, presenting, and producing new work that fosters belonging in Greater Boston, celebrates diverse cultural expression, imagines a more just world, and inspires us to take action for racial equity and social justice.
We are delighted to announce the fifth round of Live Arts Boston (LAB) grantees, in partnership with the Barr Foundation and generous donors. Performing artists, small performing arts organizations, bands, and groups of artists in the Greater Boston area were invited to apply for support to create, produce, or present new performing arts work for Greater Boston audiences. In addition to $15,000 each, LAB 2021 grantees will receive project documentation, one-on-one advising, peer networking opportunities, and support for other professional development, in partnership with local arts service organization Dunamis.
Funding supports work in dance, theater, music, opera, musical theater, spoken word, performance art, circus arts, traditional and folk performing arts, and any multi-disciplinary combination of the above. In the 2021 cycle, LAB is supporting 65 projects out of 308 applications.
Watch this video to learn more about the Live Arts Boston program, and scroll down to meet the 2021 LAB grantees:
projects funded since 2017
$4 million +
invested directly in local artists
2021 projects led by artists of color
Found in Translation is a series of virtual or hybrid theater events, live-streamed with captions to amplify the power and complexities of being multilingual, immigrants, or identifying as AAPI in Greater Boston.
Abria Smith will present a live showcase of theater, music, spoken word and movement based on her poetry book, Somebody Soup.
Adrian Anantawan will perform musical works inspired by his disability identity, collaborating with other musicians with disabilities around the world.
Jacques Schwarz-Bart will write an Afro-Caribbean jazz repertoire based on his Sone Ka-La concept and perform it in a concert series.
ANSON RAP$ will explore 3D sound with a live, 360-degree performance of the musical composition NOSE.
Experimenting with the textual settings in Lillian-Yvonne Bertram's book Travesty Generator and its themes of racial and social justice, this project will culminate in an evening-length musical presentation.
Artists' Theater of Boston is collaborating with accomplished poet Ashley Rose Salomon on her first full-length play, The Roslindale Love Canal, based on personal narratives that surround this little-known tragic event in Boston’s history.
Djeli and Balafonist Balla Kouyate is creating an album of traditional West African and fusion music with his brothers.
Suite Talk will be a full-length performance that layers rap/spoken word, contemporary and hip-hop movement, and original music from a diverse ensemble of artists who represent vibrant cultures emerging from Boston’s inner city neighborhoods.
Malcolm X to Malcolm X will be a compilation album commenting on a journey towards belonging, finding a place to call home, and sharing common ground with roots in both Boston and NYC.
Puerto Rican artists Beatriz Irizarry, Cristina Lugo, Marili Pizarro will collaborate with Boston-based artists Emily Beattie, Jimena Bermejo, and Callie Chapman, and composer Guarionex Morales-Matos, to create a performance through chance, research, and telematics.
Jessie Jeanne Stinnett teams up with ocean physicist Dr. Larry J. Pratt and Boston Dance Theater to create an art and science performance work which focuses on climate change through the lens of sea level rise.
For her debut album Inherited, Burcu will rewrite lyrics to her father's unreleased songs from the 70s, talking about being an immigrant and mental illness, in the form of letters to her father.
Cakeswagg will be creating an innovative hiphop album supported by captivating visuals and live performances.
Circus 617 will be creating an evening-length contemporary circus show focusing on the theme of artistic community and connection.
Claudia Medina is a female saxophone player. She will create an album of original music that will showcase the best of Peruvian music fusion with jazz and the rhythms of different cultures around the world.
In collaboration with patients recovering from neurovascular injuries, David McMullin will create music that challenges and benefits them in their rehabilitation, to be performed by a combined ensemble of patients and professional musicians.
Gapi (DoYeon Kim and Chase Morrin) will be creating a multi-cultural album dedicated to immigrant and women's rights.
Dzidzor is curating a live multi-disciplinary performance centered on God, black church, and West African griot and folklore.
Elae Weekes will be composing an Alternative R&B album and visual project inspired by the stories of young men in his community.
Fabiola Méndez will be producing an audiovisual series of duo collaborations with musicians from diverse origins and backgrounds, in which they'll arrange and perform music written by composers of color.
In collaboration with community members and artists, Faye Dupras will create a sensory-friendly interactive production using puppets, music, and live action for family audiences around themes of inclusion and belonging.
Forbes Graham will be composing a electroacoustic work for chamber ensemble inspired by the migration of the Charles Street A.M.E. Church from Beacon Hill to Roxbury.
Inner Space: A Collective Journey is an accessible, free, and immersive album release concert by Genie Santiago based around three themes: The Awakening, The Healing, and The Ascension.
I Give You My Home is a site-specific opera that paints a portrait of Rose Standish Nichols and her efforts to effect change through the Women’s Peace Movement, Women’s Suffrage, and in her professional work.
Episode 2 of Radio Play(s) will be a stage-performed podcast in which a timely theme is unpacked through a collection of stories, told through the spoken word, musical segments and connected by a powerful score.
Hyphae is an interactive performance inspired by the behavior of wild mushrooms that brings choreographer Emily Beattie, poet U-Meleni Mhabla-Adebo, and designer Rosa Weinberg together with their audience to create a single, networked organism.
First-generation Russian-Jewish artists, choreographer/dancer Ilya Vidrin and multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter Alec Hutson, will create a multimedia evening-length production in response to Soviet-era bard songs of oppression and hope.
Jackie O'Riley & Rebecca McGowan will create a show of traditional Irish dance and music blurring the distinction between movers and band.
Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE) will present Kiltirèl Conexiones (Cultural Connections in Haitian Creole and Spanish) a collaborative dance project with Gerardina Halloran that highlights and celebrates the deep connections between Haitian and Dominican cultures.
Jha D will produce a series of spoken word poetry flashmob events throughout the city of Boston that recall and honor the experiences of the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.
Jonathan Bailey Holland will create an electroacoustic work for string quartet that deals with the relationship of live vs. prerecorded sound in a live concert setting, as well as the concepts of memory and perception.
Jose Soto will record an album of original music that reflects the life philosophy and social values of the Bribri indigenous community and how this philosophy is expressed culturally.
In collaboration with vocal chamber ensemble Renaissance Men, KAIROS Dance Theater will create FOXY, a contemporary cabaret interpretation of Stravinsky's famed satirical opera-ballet Renard.
Kim McLarin will stage back-to-back readings of her one-woman play Divorce Dog across Boston to explore cultural segregation in the Boston theater community and how audience shapes the creative production of Black artists.
Laura Sánchez will be creating a multimodal live production combining flamenco with poetry, visual art, drama and creative expression inspired her award winning short film After Dark.
Play for Change, led by Tanya Nixon-Silberg (Little Uprisings) & Bonnie Duncan (The Gottabees), will be an immersive theatrical experience for families featuring puppetry, live music, and art-making to talk about power, joy, and liberation.
Altars is an interdisciplinary production that blends dance, spoken word, art song and community, and which will highlight local, BIPOC artists in Boston.
The Medusa Reclaimed team will connect art to action for justice by creating a theatrical fantasia with songs to stir Medusa's voice in all of us.
In community with two-spirit, trans* & queer kin of color, They Watch You Thrive will cultivate a series of live artspace activations rooted in care, belonging, and intergenerational power.
Mohamed Araki’s Al-Murtaja is a livestream, studio recording, and short documentary film showcasing traditional and original music from Sudan.
Uniting local activists, comedians, musicians, and other performers, Muhammad Seven & the Spring will produce Awakenings, a three-act showcase focused around one important theme and accompanied by a musical album.
Naseem Alatrash will be recording an album of his original contemporary Arab music compositions, as well as traditional music from the eastern Mediterranean basin and North Africa.
Naked Empire Bouffon Company will be creating an outrageously satirical, anti-colonial comedy about the diasporic Puerto Rican experience.
Director/pianist Sarah Bob of the New Gallery Concert Series will produce Adopt and Adapt, an evening of new music and new visual art examining how one navigates new realities in family, country, and lifestyle.
Nolan Tesis will be producing a live ballroom show exploring how the underground House / Ballroom scene grew from its roots in the Harlem Renaissance to existing as a global freedom movement and LGBT subculture.
Octavia Bryant is creating with a goal of bringing what R&B does for Black intimacy back to the forefront of the conversation, and making an R&B project that reflects a healthy, evolved psyche for Black people.
Omar Najmi will be composing and producing a workshop of his new opera This is not that dawn, about the Partition of India.
Palaver Strings joins forces with the genre-defying chamber ensemble Warp Trio to present Affirmation, a program centering music and stories that have been suppressed or misrepresented in mainstream media narratives.
Pedro Reina-Pérez will be sharing a multidisciplinary artistic and scholarly presentation on the life and work of cellist virtuoso Pablo Casals, with an original score by Boston musicians Brian and Rosi Amador.
Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion and collaborators offer a platform for "Queer Cabarets" through their multi-media installation Queerhenge, a culmination of intersectional and intergenerational dialogues within the project Stones to Rainbows/Gay to Queer Lives.
Phoebe Potts will be writing and performing a tragic-comic one woman show about adoption, capitalism, and the tyranny of American motherhood.
ReachYou is a transmission from the future to help us be in the present. It is an immersive, free, interactive, performance in Augmented Reality made by Katrina + Jonah Goldsaito with compositions by Beau Kenyon.
Continuing her exploration of music for bicycles, Reynaliz Herrera will compose, present and record BIKEncerto: a concerto for solo bicycle and orchestra, performing it at Somerville Community Growing Center with her company Ideas, Not Theories.
Smirna Ortiz will compose and record a collection of Latin transcendental etudes for piano.
Soyoung L Kim, in collaboration with Ashley-Rose Salomon and Fernadina Chan, will be creating a performance art comprised of of spoken word, dance, and visual art, inspired by 강강술래 Ganggangsullae, a traditional Korean dance.
TC Squared will be creating a devised virtual theatre piece that explores people's biases and prejudices through an incident in a laundromat.
Theatre of Eternal Values will be creating a devised play about the power of womanhood, based on a historical meeting between Harriet Tubman and Pandita Ramabai.
Todd Dahn will create an urban musical that tells the story of how women of color have been affected by the founding and growth of America.
Transient Canvas is commissioning and recording new works by four BIPOC composers: Jonathan Bailey Holland, Yoon-Ji Lee, Jennifer Jolley, and Matthew Evan Taylor.
Triy will create an album based on love, fatherhood and being a black man in America.
In the Space Between follows VLA Dance Director Victoria L Awkward and company members on a journey from reality, to a dream world, and to uncomfortable spaces "between."
Villada will be staging a Fashion Theatre piece inspired by the way that our bodies hold emotion and the textiles we choose to hold ourselves.
White Snake Projects, Cerise Lim Jacobs, Mary Prescott & Elena Araoz explore the "pandemic within the pandemic," the surge of Intimate Partner Violence during Covid-19 through the lens of Homer's Odyssey using live, virtual opera.
Zayra Pola will be creating a grand release live concert for her very first Salsa album Te Va Gustar, that was made possible by 2020/Live Arts Boston grant from the Boston Foundation.
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston Children’s Chorus
A Tribe Called Red
New England Foundation for the Arts
College of the Holy Cross ALANA Alums
StiggityStackz Worldwide Inc
Northeastern University, College of Arts, Media + Design; Beau Kenyon Studios
New Hampshire Theatre Project
Center Stage Dance Studio
Castle of our Skins
Education Development Center
George Yamazawa, Jr.
Woventales Production LLC/QuezairePresutti-Arts LLC
Jasmine M. Rush
UnBound Bodies Collective
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Secor Productions
Movement of the People Dance Company
Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, INC
Boston Center for the Arts
Diamond Family Circus
Marian Taylor Brown
Arts Connect International | Heilbronn University
Mehmet Ali Sanlikol
Composer, Performer & Professor at New England Conservatory
Mwalim DaPhunkee Professor
Polyphonic Studios & UMass Dartmouth
The Record Co.
Shakespeare to Hiphop
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Romy Saint Hilaire
Arts After Hours, Community Music Center of Boston
Storyteller, Cultural Worker
Simone D. Cottrell
Creative Arkansas Community Hub & Exchange
Co-chair of the Medford Arts Council, Educator, Recording Artist