Supporting cultural space
Space to create and share work is vital for Boston’s arts and creative ecosystem. We need to act now to secure and create cultural space.
Boston has lost several creative workspaces and cultural venues over the last decade. Other cultural spaces are under threat today. This space instability is limiting all other aspects of our work. We want to see no net loss of cultural space in Boston. This means that any cultural space under threat needs to be secured or re-provided and new cultural space should be created.
The arts are essential to so many different aspects of our city. They are important to our quality of life, community resiliency, and Boston’s economy. Artists and cultural organizations need to be in Boston to:
- develop their talents
- serve their communities, and
- share their work.
Equitable access to space is a key priority of our office. We need cultural space in all neighborhoods.
Still have questions? Contact:
Humphreys Street Studio artists paint campaign slogans on property roofs in support of #ARTWORKSHERE campaign.
Models for actionModels for action
- Model: Cultural Facilities Fund
Mass Cultural Council manages this fund in collaboration with MassDevelopment. It provides major improvement grants to nonprofit cultural organizations.
This is a city-sponsored public development authority and mission-driven real estate agency. It was created to develop and steward permanently affordable space for arts and culture.
- Model: Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) in San Francisco
CAST purchases and leases space for the exclusive use of nonprofit arts organizations.
- Model: Create a version of Inclusionary Development Policy for cultural space
This would require cultural space or funding for cultural space as part of commercial space developments. Recent zoning amendments in the South End have established this as a tool in Boston.
- Model: Increase Linkage Fees in order to allocate a % to cultural space projects and programs.
Boston’s current Linkage Program requires commercial developments over 100,000 square feet in Boston to pay into funds. These funds support the creation of affordable housing and workforce development. A small increase and percentage allocation would create millions of dollars for cultural space.
- Model: Leverage philanthropic financing and donor-advised funds
Create more low-interest or forgivable loans for cultural space projects and operators.
- Model: Creative Land Trust
The Creative Land Trust was established in London. The goal is to secure long-term, affordable space for artists and creatives. It does this through a social enterprise which takes on the ownership of buildings.
DSNI aims to empower residents to create a vibrant neighborhood in collaboration with community partners. This includes Community Land Trust mechanisms.
- Model: Grow cultural planning processes to be more integrated in neighborhood planning like transportation and infrastructure planning.
- Model: Build Art Space Equitably (BASE) Certification
BASE's goal is to grow capacity in communities of color to build permanent affordable cultural spaces. It seeks to extend the "onramp" to commercial real estate development further into cultural communities.
- Model: Community Vision
Community Vision provides nonprofits, small businesses, and social enterprises in California with strategic investment and guidance to deepen work, scale impact, and strengthen communities.
CSA is a body of artists and cultural workers that act as representatives of their respective work and the arts sector. They work towards creating and preserving space in Oakland. The program creates peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing on new operating and space preservation models.
- Model: London’s Culture-at-Risk Office
The office provides direct support and advocacy for creative businesses, cultural organizations, and community groups. It aims to move at-risk cultural and creative spaces from immediate threat to long-term sustainability.
- Model: Require reporting of cultural and creative sector impact of development projects.
Establish processes for capturing impact and mitigation strategies related to arts and culture. This is often done for environment and transportation in the Development Review process.
This is an interactive mapping tool that catalogues cultural space in Seattle. The goal is to count every square foot of every cultural space in the city and cross reference with demographic data.
- Model: SpaceLab NW
This map brings together cultural space research and information that has not existed in one place. It plots the location of a wide range of cultural spaces. Users can view it alongside useful data like transport networks and population growth.
Defining key terms
Cultural space includes spaces to make work, such as:
- artist studios
- rehearsal spaces
- fabrication spaces
- recording spaces
- fashion studios
- photography studios, and
- film facilities.
It also includes spaces to present work, such as:
- live music venues
- performance spaces
- gallery spaces
- event spaces, and
- gathering spaces that host cultural events.
Artist work-live housing is another form of cultural space.