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$450,000 in COVID-19 funding awarded to local BIPOC arts organizations

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Arts and Culture

This initiative is a collaboration between the City of Boston, The Boston Foundation, and the Barr Foundation.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, in partnership with The Boston Foundation and the Barr Foundation, today announced that 17 local BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) arts and culture organizations will each receive $25,000 unrestricted grants for COVID-19 relief. The grantees will also participate in a collective learning and discovery process to identify the shared and unique needs of organizations founded, led by, and serving communities of color to thrive in the Greater Boston area. These findings will directly inform future grant-making, technical assistance, and other supports.

"This is an exciting learning opportunity for us, and I'm looking forward to working with our funding partners and the grantee organizations to better serve Boston's arts community, and support the equitable representation of all cultures and artistic practices in the city," said Mayor Walsh.

Grantee OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center.

The organizations receiving relief funding are directly involved in supporting artists, including youth artists, to create and present new work, and they serve as cultural anchors in Greater Boston's BIPOC communities. Many have also pivoted in the pandemic to meet the basic needs of their communities and to support cultural workers deeply impacted by public health considerations. The grantee organizations are:

"We are proud to join with the City of Boston and the Barr Foundation in supporting these critical cultural organizations that serve as hubs and connectors within their communities," said Eva Rosenberg, Interim Director of Arts & Culture at the Boston Foundation. "The Boston Foundation is committed to investing in leaders and communities of color and we welcome the opportunity to deepen our relationships with these incredible groups as they help lead the way to a just recovery and much-needed social healing through the power of creativity and culture."   

"Relief funding for BIPOC organizations is extremely important, especially given the current times we are living in and given the history of where BIPOC organizations have been on the funding ladder," said Shaumba Dibinga, Founding Artistic Director of OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center. "The hope is that this funding will bring awareness to other funders and create a larger pool for BIPOC organizations to receive relief funding and keep our businesses thriving."

Funding from the City of Boston was made possible by the CARES Act, and this collaborative effort strives to immediately support small- to mid-sized arts organizations drastically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative also aims to begin addressing historical disinvestment in BIPOC communities and the need for structural change that prioritizes investments in culture-bearers, artists, and arts organizations of color that are uniquely positioned to imagine and lead our communities towards a more just future.

"This is such a committed, creative group of leaders, and we are grateful to invest in, and learn alongside them, in partnership with the Boston Foundation and the City," said San San Wong, Director of Arts & Creativity at the Barr Foundation. "Investments in the arts are investments in our civic infrastructure. Greater Boston has many BIPOC artists and cultural organizations that are elevating the diversity of voices and perspectives, and aspirations for justice in our communities. We hope this initiative provides both short-term relief and long-term insights into more authentic and sustainable ways to strengthen and sustain them."

As part of this initiative, the City of Boston, The Boston Foundation, and the Barr Foundation will convene leaders from these grantee organizations, along with others, through a facilitated process that seeks to identify obstacles to accessing support and resources for BIPOC arts organizations. Together, the community and funding partners will attempt to imagine what a more equitable cultural ecology would look like, including specific recommendations for philanthropic investment and transformative capacity-building. 

"I look forward to building off of this partnership and utilizing our learnings to advocate for more investments in Boston's ALAANA and BIPOC organizations," said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston.