$500,000 Awarded in Workforce Development Contracts for Artists and Creative Workers

Mayor Michelle Wu and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture today announced $500,000 in contracted services has been awarded to 12 individuals and organizations to provide technical assistance, professional development, and workforce development services to Boston artists and creative workers.

“This program will allow us to bring valuable professional development services and resources to a section of our workforce that has been extremely hard hit by COVID-19, yet has continued to positively impact our communities with their work,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “We look forward to continuing to invest in new ways to support artists and creatives so that they can fully thrive in this city.”

“Artists and creative workers are essential to the City’s recovery and a key aspect of our creative economy,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. “We’re excited to be able to remove some of the barriers that this community faces when it comes to creating and sharing their work, and looking forward to hiring creative workers and creative small businesses to provide these services.”

The City’s goals for this program included contracting with individuals and organizations that: 

  • are able to assist artists who live and work in Boston further develop their careers through direct services and workshops that are culturally responsive, 
  • work toward creating a stronger creative economy in Boston while artists continue to recover from and adapt to COVID-19 and its impacts on our local creative economy,
  • work with artists within multiple artistic disciplines, and 
  • work with artists in Boston with various accessibility needs.

Contracted consultants include: 

  • Boston Center for the Arts, which will carry out the ACTivate Residency, five-day residencies to individuals and small groups of artists to create site-responsive work in the historic Cyclorama. 
  • Company One Theatre, which will lead a professional development for educators program serving 100-150 educators, that aims to provide training in theater integration and teaching/learning in a cohort model where classroom teachers and teaching artists can learn from each other.
  • Dynamizing Equity, which will pilot one cohort of their Embodied Equity series consisting of workshops and training for BIPOC artists and creatives to express experiences of “othering” and anti-Blackness and to develop the capacity to embody racial equity and inclusion principles using somatic practice.
  • The Loop Lab, who help produce mini “behind the scenes/making of” videos, video recordings of live performances, or evergreen or recap videos for 30 artists and creative workers.
  • MassArt, which will offer a series of free professional development programs to creatives in Boston, including creative economy workshops that address common business concerns, one-on-one office hours, portfolio reviews and critique groups, and the Creative Economy Business Incubator – an eight month, two-course program teaching creative entrepreneurship through the real time launch and growth of student owned ventures.
  • MassMoCA, which will lead online small creative business-focused workshops in English and Spanish, one-on-one technical assistance slots for Boston artists in English and Spanish, three Spanish language community strengthening events, and two stipended affinity groups for Boston artists who have participated in Assets for Artists workshops.
  • Meena Malik, who will provide a three-part conflict navigation workshop and a healing space session for BIPOC artists, arts educators, and creative workers who do social justice work.
  • OOMPA, whose cultural label Outlaud Entertainment will offer five independent performance artists of color the opportunity to take part in a 15 month-long, cohort-based artist development program that will culminate in new work production with at least one publicly viewed performance.
  • ROYA, which will provide curation of performances, social events, parties/networking events and art installations to support relationship building and network connecting in the local creative community.
  • Stephanie Houten and Laurel Kulow, whose program "By Artists for Artists" will offer creative media services to local artists.
  • Urbanity Dance, Inc., whose Space Rental Program will provide access to high-quality, accessible studio space, at no cost to the artists who participate. Urbanity Dance, Inc. will also provide opportunities for the Rental Artists to gather, socialize, network, and collaborate.
  • Veronica Robles, who will host two professional development bootcamps predominately for Latinx and immigrant artists and creatives, and a showcase that will allow a cohort of artists to present their work to presenting organizations and cultural institutions in and around Boston.

"We are grateful to Mayor Wu and the Office of Arts and Culture for their belief in MassArt and the power and impact of art and design, and we are thrilled to be a partner and a collaborator with the City and the art and business communities," said MassArt President Mary K. Grant.

The City of Boston prioritized services that are tailored to support artists and creative workers from demographics that saw the most economic impact due to COVID-19, including women, people of color, immigrants, artists who have lower levels of education, artists who identify as LGBTQIAP+. The following neighborhoods were also prioritized: Mattapan, Dorchester, Allston-Brighton, East Boston, Roxbury/Mission Hill, and Fenway/Kenmore.

This program will run until spring 2024. It was funded by the American Rescue Plan Act appropriated by the City Council last summer, and is part of the City’s COVID-19 recovery efforts.

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