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Boston is a City of Champions

While our beloved New England Patriots might not have prevailed last weekend, we can rest assured we are still a City of Champions, that is, Arts Champions.

Just last week, Berklee’s own Rubén Blades earned the award for Best Tropical Latin Album for Salsa Big Band. Overall, Berklee alums have received a total of 283 Grammy Awards. And if you think that’s impressive, Berklee alums have also won Academy Awards for music in films, as well as Emmys and Tonys. Remember "Book of Mormon"? It won Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, and Best Original Score in 2011. Author, composer, director, and overall talented guy Trey Parker (also of South Park fame) is an alum from 1988.

Boston has two Regional Theatre Tony Award-winning theater companies: the Huntington Theatre and the American Repertory Theater. In addition, to that, the ART has earned a whopping 19 Tony awards over the years. The Boston Symphony Orchestra has also earned nine Grammys awards.

Tom Fiedler, Dean of the College of Communication at Boston University, is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. In addition, BU can boast six Nobel Laureates and dozens of Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellows, and National Book Award winners. Twenty-five Emersonians were nominated for Emmy Awards in 2015 alone. The Boston Early Music Festival, which has only ever made eight recordings, earned five nominations. Not a bad record! They’ve won one, so far, but there are likely more to come. 

Our most recent announcement regarding this year’s Boston Cultural Council Organizational Grants are a testament to all of this. We’re proud to say we were able to fund over $470,000 to 181 arts organizations across Greater Boston. These organizations, varying in artistic discipline, demographics, and neighborhoods, all have plans to make Boston do great things through the power of the arts, and we’re so excited to be able to help them achieve that. Funding these organizations will also help us in terms of our own goals outlined in Boston Creates, which include making arts accessible to every resident of Boston, diversifying artistic opportunities and making sure everyone is equally represented through art, and using art as a catalyst for larger conversations about social change.

And it doesn’t end there. In a few weeks we’ll be announcing the first round of this year’s grantees for the Opportunity Fund, a pilot program geared toward providing artists with meaningful one-time opportunities to help advance their careers and artistic goals. Investing in individual artists is another major goal of Boston Creates, and we are excited to see how these grants pave the way for even more arts champions in Boston. Stay tuned for more!

What’s so special about this idea of Boston being a city of arts champions is that it extends far beyond the City’s arts sector. We have elected officials, CEOs, and even youth coming together to advocate for the importance of the arts. Last month, Boston Arts Academy celebrated its 20th anniversary with its performance “Dancing in the Streets” at the Strand Theatre, and presented Attorney General Maura Healey with the Boston Arts Academy Champion Award in recognition of her incredible passion for the arts. And just this week, MassPoetry held their annual Evening of Inspired Leaders, where leaders from a variety of industries came together to read a favorite poem and speak about the connection of art to their own lives and fields of work.

This connection across neighborhoods, backgrounds, and industries is what separates Boston from other cities, what makes us a city of arts champions. We can’t wait to see what artists and arts supporters will achieve this year in the City of Boston.

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