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Investing in the arts through the Imagine Boston Capital Plan

At the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, we’re excited for what the capital plan will allow us to achieve in the next five years.

On Thursday, April 26, Mayor Walsh stood in the Shattuck Picnic Grove at Franklin Park to announce the City of Boston’s $2.4 billion Imagine Boston Capital Plan (Fiscal Year 2019 - 2023), which makes critical investments in every Boston neighborhood, guided by Boston's citywide plan, Imagine Boston 2030. As part of this plan, the City will see new playgrounds installed, new fire houses built, school kitchens renovated, and more. 

At the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, we’re excited for what the capital plan will allow us to achieve in the next five years. One of these achievements is the continuation of the Percent for Art program, which sets aside one percent of the City’s annual capital borrowing budget for the commissioning of public art. In fiscal year 2018, we saw $1.7 million go toward this effort, and starting in July, $1.8 million will be allocated for fiscal year 2019. 

We have several Percent for Art projects underway now, and more coming in the near future. Artist Matthew Hincman is working on a piece of public art as part  of the newly renovated Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library. Soon, we will be releasing an RFP for public art at the Dudley Branch (currently undergoing a $17.2 million renovation), and the artist selected to carry out a public art project at the Vine Street BCYF Center (a $5.3 million renovation) will be announced.

As for the future, Boston will invest in creating new branch libraries, including a $12.6 million investment to build a new addition at the Faneuil Branch Library in Brighton; a $18.3 million investment in the design and construction of a branch library at Adams Street Library; a $18 million investment in the development of a new Upham's Corner Branch Library; and a $12.1 million investment to support the construction of a new facility for the Fields Corner Branch Library. And that means more public art too!

Along with the Upham’s Corner Branch Library, the Strand Theatre is also benefiting from the capital plan, with $3.4 million going toward life safety renovations including an elevator, accessibility upgrades and fire prevention in fiscal year 2018. With the renovations approaching completion this month, the Strand has a full lineup of events happening in the fall, just in time for the theatre’s centennial!

Another critical element of the capital plan is the investment in Boston Public Schools. One project we’re delighted to see come to fruition is a new facility for Boston Arts Academy, a project totaling nearly $125 million. This investment in the development of Boston’s creative youth is unprecedented.

These efforts to create and improve public spaces including schools, parks, libraries and community centers clearly enforce the City’s leadership and commitment to create fertile ground for a vibrant and sustainable arts and culture ecosystem and integrating arts and culture into all aspects of civic life, both of which are goals outlined in the Boston Creates cultural plan. We can’t wait to see the impact these projects have on our City, and the creative opportunities that result. 

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