Pumping fresh funds into Boston’s arts-grants economy, the New England Foundation for the Arts has embarked on a three-year pilot program designed to help local artists bring their work to neighborhoods throughout the city.
Dubbed Creative City, the program is presenting an initial cohort of nine area artists and arts collectives with funding for projects that range from writing workshops and visual arts projects to concerts and spoken word/dance performances.
“We’ll count Creative City as a success if artists are inspired to create projects that lift up the many voices of Boston, and that promote participation and a sense of belonging,” said Cathy Edwards, executive director of the New England Foundation for the Arts. “These projects engage people in the places that they live, work, and play.”
Funded by the Barr Foundation, Creative City offers recipients cash awards of $2,500 to $10,000. It also makes available stipends of up to $2,500 to community partners to help offset production costs.
“We required that artists lived within the [Interstate] 495 corridor and that they have a strong community partner working with them,” said Edwards. “We want to support projects where there is a meaningful connection between the artist and the place.”
The initial group of grantees includes Denise Delgado, who plans to hold community writing workshops in and around the Egleston Square neighborhood that will result in a series of text-based public artworks.
Anna Myer plans to present a performance piece featuring area dancers and spoken-word poets that interrogates the effects of racism in America, and Wen-ti Tsen is preparing a weeklong visual arts project that explores Chinatown’s past and present.
Other recipients include Cedric Douglas, Lisa Link, Lina Maria Giraldo, Jorge Arce, Castle of our Skins, and the Makanda Project. Proposed community partner organizations include Roxbury Community College, the Urbano Project, Urban Scholars, and Northeastern University Center for the Arts, among others.
Recipients have 12 months to complete their projects. The next deadline for funding is Feb. 1.
“This is a program that we hope will grow to exist in communities around New England,” said Edwards. “We imagine a network of Creative Cities, where artists are resourced to highlight the people, places, and ideas that make our civic landscapes unique.”
Malcolm Gay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @malcolmgay.