UCArtPlace | City of Ideas

Posted 04/18/2014 by Paul S. Grogan

Cedric Douglas inside the UP Truck

The rationale behind this approach is called “creative placemaking,” and it’s designed to elevate and amplify local culture and its assets as necessary pieces of sustained community vitality. We see that vitality even now across many parts of Boston, in our large institutions like the Museum of Fine Arts and the ICA, in innovative local companies like the Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, and at the neighborhood level in groups like Discover Roxbury and hundreds of smaller arts organizations that provide a uniquely Bostonian vibrancy that can be felt throughout the city.

But even with everything we have, there is more we can do – to enhance the impact of cultural assets in all our neighborhoods. Upham’s Corner, home of the majestic Strand Theater, is a perfect place to invest in increasing the profile of the arts in the city. And now may be a perfect time – with a new mayor who has expressed a desire to engage with artists, invest and enhance the city’s support of the arts and culture sectors.

Creators and artists thrive when they are connected to a vibrant arts scene, and neighborhoods are enlivened by the opportunity to engage with arts and culture.

This project can have impacts on both pieces of that equation.

This weekend and just about every weekend this spring and summer, Cedric and his team will be driving around Upham’s Corner in a refurbished delivery truck turned community art space – a mobile home for a community-centered and community-led visioning, design, site selection, fabrication and installation process. 

The UP TruckThe truck, called the “UP Truck”, is designed not just to gather ideas for artwork, but to engage neighbors young and old in better understanding the power of arts and culture. More than just a rolling suggestion box, it will allow residents to create, to discuss, and to think differently about arts and culture.

The Boston Foundation and its donors invest nearly $10 million each year in arts grants – to large organizations and small because we know in our hearts what this project sets out to demonstrate – when you connect arts, culture and community, a neighborhood can be lifted UP. 

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