Roxbury gets a cultural boost

Roxbury, brimming with art and history, has been designated a cultural district by the state, after a years-long effort to attract people seeking out authentic slices of Boston’s ethnic mosaic.

The district includes Dudley Square and John Eliot Square, both at the heart of black culture in the region.

“The dream of a Roxbury Cultural District is now a reality,’’ said Councilor Tito Jackson, who along with colleagues Ayanna Pressley and Michelle Wu pushed for the designation.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council, which awards the designation, selected Roxbury this month.

The designation opens the neighborhood to grants, state transportation money for such things as new signs, and a mention on the state’s tourism website. A flood of support is also expected for businesses and arts and cultural institutions.


Cultural districts, defined by the state as walkable compact hubs of artistic venues and night life, launched in 2011 under a law that aims to promote urban centers, industrial enclaves, and fishing ports, the state said.

Any city or town can apply for the five-year designation. The state has 32 cultural districts, including two in Boston: the Fenway Cultural District and the Boston Literary District, a swath along Boylston Street that includes Emerson College.

Meghan E. Irons can be reached at meghan.irons@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.