Mass Cultural Council designates Little Saigon Cultural District in Fields Corner
Mayor Kim Janey and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture today announced the Mass Cultural Council has voted to designate a portion of Fields Corner in Dorchester as the Boston Little Saigon Cultural District. This is the final step in formalizing the district, and it follows a December 2019 resolution by Boston City Council.
“This area of Dorchester has long been a hub for Vietnamese American culture and community, and it’s great to see the vibrancy and diversity of the neighborhood recognized in this way,” said Mayor Janey. “I look forward to seeing the cultural district inspire residents and visitors to support local businesses, try new restaurants, and participate in arts and cultural events happening in the neighborhood.”
The City of Boston, in partnership with NOVA, has been approved for a $75,000 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the district. This is one of 63 grants nationwide that the agency has approved in this category to support projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes, ultimately laying the groundwork for sustainable systems change.
“We are excited about the official cultural district designation,” said Annie Le, Board President of Boston Little Saigon. “We hope to bring more awareness of Vietnamese arts and culture that our older generation has instilled in us and captivate new ideas from the younger generation. We look forward to working with everyone to create more arts and business supports in the Fields Corner area.”
“As the country and the arts sector begin to work towards a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce this Our Town funding. These awards will support cross-sector partnerships such as the one led by NOVA and the City of Boston that demonstrate the power of the arts to help communities create a better future for themselves,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers.
The Boston Little Saigon Cultural District aims to highlight, recognize, and preserve Vietnamese American culture already present in the area and the community’s significant contributions to Dorchester’s unique history of immigrant experiences. The district strives to help local arts and humanities improve the quality and range of their public programs so that more local families can benefit from them. Goals of the cultural district include establishing the area as a tourist destination, instilling a sense of pride and ownership in the community, attracting new businesses to the area, and reinventing a point of attraction for Vietnamese American events, programs, and organizations.
“Cultural districts help all of us celebrate the diversity of our city, and we’re excited to take this step to recognize the major contributions that Vietnamese Americans continue to make to Boston,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston.
“As I consider our 51 state-designated Cultural Districts, I am inspired by the strong sense of community pride showcased by each one, as well as their collective commitment to harness the power of culture to enrich community and stimulate the economy in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council.
In addition to the Little Saigon Cultural District, Boston has three other existing cultural districts: the Fenway Cultural District, the Roxbury Cultural District, and the Latin Quarter Cultural District in Jamaica Plain. You can learn more about Boston’s cultural districts online. For more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.ABOUT THE OFFICE OF ARTS AND CULTURE
The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture is a City agency that enhances the quality of life, the economy, and the design of the City through the arts. The role of the arts in all aspects of life in Boston is reinforced through equitable access to arts and culture in every community, its public institutions, and public places. Key areas of work include support to the cultural sector through grants and programs, support of cultural facilities and artist workspace, as well as the care and commissioning of art in public places.