Creative City

Creative City

A pilot program launched in 2015 with the aim of supporting artists in the exercise of their creative power and elevating the diversity of communities and artistic practice in Boston resulted in many participants taking risks, career opportunities for some of them, and real community change, a report from the New England Foundation for the Arts finds. According to the report, Creative City (28 pages, PDF), the Barr Foundation-funded initiative supported a variety of disciplines and media — including film, music, performance, visual art, dance, audio, textiles, sculpture, and the written word — by diverse artists and collaborators (67 percent of the grantees identified as persons of color) whose projects explored social issues such as housing, aging, gentrification, inclusion, abilities and disabilities, language differences, and cultural traditions. Among other things, the program enabled artists to test creative strategies stimulated by public spaces, social goals, collaborations with other artists and community organizations, and a re-envisioning of their work in a public context. The report also found that the projects not only enhanced artists' portfolios and helped them build marketable and transferable skills in the process, but also served as vehicles for a shared civic experience, boosting community pride and cohesion, for example, through the creation of safe, welcoming spaces for community dialogue about difficult issues such as immigration, gentrification, and identity.