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A letter to the artists of Boston

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Published by:

Arts and Culture

We stand in support of our black communities, in support of justice, and in support of anti-racist policies.

Dear Artists of Boston, 

The past couple of months have been extremely difficult, as COVID-19 has ravaged the country and disproportionately affected our communities of color. The pain and suffering felt by so many of us has only increased with the recent murders of individuals like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor, and acts of blatant racism like those of Amy Cooper. 

We stand in support of our black communities, in support of justice, and in support of anti-racist policies.

As we work to make Boston a more equitable city, we must be accountable and recognize the way racism is replicated in our own work through the systemic marginalization of black artists and black stories in Boston's arts and culture sector. Remaining silent is not an option, and there is no neutral. We urge all of our cultural organizations, institutions, and spaces to consider their role in upholding racist policies and ask that we all recommit to action. Commit to policies that support arts administrators of color and create real opportunities for advancement, hire artists of color with fair pay and treatment, commission works that tell non-white and anti-colonial stories, de-centralize western and European narrative and practices, identify women- and minority-owned businesses for local sourcing opportunities, and more. We must put into practice the belief that our fates are linked and truly and honestly move forward together.

We’re working on equitably serving Black and Brown artists through our Artist-in-Residence program, our support for individual artists and organizations, and our new grant in partnership with MassArt: Radical Imagination for Racial Justice. However, we know this is not enough.

We champion the vital role artists play in our city, especially during times like these, and we will continue to support both your political and artistic expression. We also realize that many of you are feeling afraid, overwhelmed, angry, and a wide range of other emotions that might be hindering your ability to express yourself freely and comfortably. Please reach out to us at arts@boston.gov if you have any questions about how to safely share your work in the face of COVID-19 and in response to racial justice work and activism in our City. 

In solidarity, 

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture