Build an equitable cultural ecology for Greater Boston
Through direct support to artists, small arts organizations, and arts service organizations, we strive to increase the capacity, output, and opportunities for performing artists, as well as to increase the volume, diversity, and access to art for all Greater Boston residents.
We have made significant investments in increasing the quantity, quality and type of creative production within the performing arts, with a focus on resourcing and developing creators that have had less access to philanthropy. Increasingly, these creators and producers -- who represent an emerging generation of artists of color, new Americans and members of LGBTQI communities, among others -- are well-positioned to create and present high-quality work within and outside Boston.
The most significant investment in scale and impact in this strategy area is Live Arts Boston (LAB). In addition to LAB, as part of this strategy, we have been providing support directly to artists through donor partnership programs like Next Steps for Boston Dance and the Brother Thomas Fellowship.
Support and develop inclusive public spaces
Public art fosters an exchange of ideas and perspectives, creates mobility, breaks down barriers and contributes to the quality of place. Our goal for this strategy is to support and develop inclusive public spaces rich with ambitious, culturally competent art.
Through funding to organizations that foster the development and curatorial leadership in creating public art, and through support of “place managers” that represent community interest in their stewardship of public spaces, we aim to support the development of Boston as a city of equitably distributed shared public spaces rich with relevant, ambitious, culturally competent and with public realm art programming.
We envision a Boston filled with public art that reclaims and highlights the fabric and texture of Boston and its diverse neighborhoods, rich cultures and thriving businesses.
The Boston Foundation has worked consistently to shore up the capacity and quality of public art in the region. To this end, we have been supporting the key emerging public art-focused organizations and projects, and have launched the Place Leadership Network to prepare a strong cohort of new-to-public-art spaces and places to serve as host venues for artists.
Attract new resources for areas of need in the arts
Our goal for this strategy is to leverage our discretionary resources to foster partnerships with local funders around areas of shared interest, to address areas of known community need and target under-resourced parts of the local arts sector.
In partnership with the local for-profit music business, we have launched the pilot of the Shout Syndicate, dedicated to supporting Boston’s exceptional creative youth development organizations recently experiencing a loss of depended-upon philanthropic support.
While this strategy is often responsive to a timely partnership opportunity, we have made our decisions to co-invest and co-create programs when, through careful analysis, we have determined that the goals and intended outcomes of a potential program align with a known community need, targeting a part of the arts sector that is or has been largely under-resourced, and where we can leverage our resources to attract others.
Grantee Spotlight: Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Fest
Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Fest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that strives to break down racial and social barriers to arts, music, and culture for marginalized communities of color across Greater Boston, through their annual festival, cultural curation, artist professional development and more. The Boston Foundation’s impact area and initiative (through Live Arts Boston) grantmaking has supported BAMS’ large-scale projects, such as the annual Boston Art & Music Soul Festival, a free all-day music and community event hosted in Franklin Park. Speaking about the impact of LAB, BAMS Fest founder, Catherine Morris says “Live Arts Boston grants are living proof that organizations such as the Boston Foundation and Barr Foundation believe in the healing power, community impact and shared experiences of music and live performances.