Mayor Walsh Announces City of Boston Receives National Endowment for the Arts Award
City to Create Artists in Residency Program within City Government; One of 69 Awardees Nation-Wide
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For Immediate Release
July 16, 2015
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
617.635.4461

BOSTON - Thursday, July 16, 2015 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced a $100,000 Our Town award to the City of Boston from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support an Artists in Residency program within city government, hosted by the Mayor's office of Arts and Culture.

"This Our Town award signifies the City's dedication to engaging and growing with the arts," said Mayor Walsh. "I thank the National Endowment for the Arts for recognizing Boston's important role in maintaining and enhancing our cultural capital."

"The City of Boston demonstrates the best in creative community development and whose work will have a valuable impact on its community," said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. "Through Our Town funding, arts organizations continue to spark vitality that support neighborhoods and public spaces, enhancing a sense of place for residents and visitors alike."

As part of the City's Cultural Planning Process, called Boston Creates, the Artists in Residency program will work to directly connect local artists with city departments and the municipal planning process, informing policy around civic practice and the role of artists in government and community work. The City is working to identify which departments will host these artists, and will use this program as a pilot learning lab for how artists in residence can be institutionalized in other departments and agencies. The cohort of artists will receive capacity development, training and support focused on the growth of their ability. More information about this process will be available in the coming months.

The mission of the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture is to foster the growth and well-being of the cultural community and promote participation in the arts. Recognizing the importance of creativity across all policy areas, the Office seeks to promote access to arts and culture to all of Boston's residents and to make Boston a municipal arts leader. The Office will partner with the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) to implement the Artists in Residency program.

"The Mayor has charged us with thinking about ways that the arts can be integrated into initiatives and functions across city government," said Chief of Arts and Culture Julie Burros. "We want to explore ways in which creativity can help us deliver city services. Embedding artists in city departments will certainly result in great collaborations."

MassArt is a natural partner to collaborate with the City of Boston on this project. As a public institution, MassArt is dedicated to accessibility and community engagement, as well as excellence in arts programming, and MassArt maintains a network of public, private, non-profit, local, city, state, national and international relationships.

"We are proud to be the City's primary partner for this important initiative," said Acting President of MassArt Kurt Steinberg. "Civic and community engagement are at the core of MassArt's mission and I am excited for the MassArt community to contribute its creative talents, expertise and energy to the City of Boston's Artists in Residency program."

"The Our Town project is another step in the City of Boston's leadership in arts policy," said NEA Director of Design Programs Jason Schupbach. "It's a fantastic example of putting artists at the center of government innovation, and the NEA is excited to see where it leads."

In total, NEA announced 69 awards of almost $5 million through the Our Town program's fifth year of funding. The NEA received 275 applications for Our Town this year and will make grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000. 

The Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful and resilient places with the arts at their core. Since the program's inception in 2011 and including these projects, the NEA has awarded 325 Our Town grants totaling almost $26 million in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

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