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Mayor Michelle Wu Appoints Alexandra Valdez as Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Boston

Cultural Affairs Office created by restructuring existing City Hall departments to better serve and support Boston’s cultural communities 


Mayor Michelle Wu today announced that Alexandra Valdez will serve as the Director of the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of Boston. In this role, Valdez will lead the Office of Culture Affairs, a team composed of Cultural Advisors who will engage and partner with communities across Boston to shape the cultural landscape of Boston. The office resides within the City’s Equity & Inclusion Cabinet. This office was created following a restructuring of existing City departments after Mayor Wu signed a 2023 City Ordinance, sponsored by City Councilor Julia Mejia and co-sponsored by Councilors Brian Worrell and Tania Fernandes Anderson, establishing an Office of Cultural Affairs. Mayor Wu made this announcement during the City’s Caribbean Heritage Month celebration and flag raising at Boston City Hall. 

“Alexandra’s service and leadership in our city has already made a huge impact across so many City departments and so many communities in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Ensuring all of Boston’s communities are connected to city services and resources is critical in making Boston the best city for families. I look forward to Alexandra’s leadership in supporting our diverse communities across our city’s neighborhoods.”

The formation of the office is marked by moving the cultural community liaison role from the Office of Neighborhood Services (ONS) to the Office of Cultural Affairs. The cultural advisors will continue to work closely with ONS neighborhood liaisons to better connect cultural communities with City Hall, ensure cultural organizations efforts to build community and foster civic engagement are supported and will facilitate the delivery of services in collaboration with City departments. 

"We're making sure every Bostonian, regardless of cultural identity, feels at home in our City,” said Mariangely Solis Cervera, Chief of Equity & Inclusion. “I’m looking forward to this team’s work and there is no one better than Alexandra Valdez to lead this charge. Welcome to the team, Alex!"

"We are thrilled to witness the Office of Cultural Affairs come to fruition, led by Alexandra Valdez as the Director,” said City Councilor Julia Mejia. “With her visionary leadership and strategic planning, we are confident that the office will successfully craft policies, protocols, and programs to elevate the social, emotional, and financial prosperity of our vibrant and diverse communities.”

"The new Cultural Affairs Office ensures that every cultural community that wants one has a larger voice in city government," said City Councilor Brian Worrell. "I'm confident that Alexandra has the experience and skills to shape this new office in a way that will empower our city's diverse population."

Valdez brings over a decade of leadership and management experience, most recently as the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement. She has a proven track record of building respectful and trusting relationships across diverse stakeholders, ensuring that all voices are amplified, heard and valued. 

"I am honored to serve as the Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Boston," said Alexandra Valdez. "I am passionate about creating inclusive spaces where every resident feels a sense of belonging, and I look forward to working collaboratively with our communities to make Boston a vibrant and culturally rich city for all."

Valdez and the Cultural Affairs team will also partner with community leaders and cultural organizations to curate events and initiatives that celebrate Boston's cultural diversity. Valdez will also be responsible for developing and implementing culturally competent programming, spearheading policy initiatives to support diverse cultural communities, and fostering a sense of belonging among residents.

The Cultural Affairs team currently consists of four cultural advisors: a Cape Verdean Cultural Advisor,  Haitian Community Advisor, Latinx Community Advisor and a Vietnamese Cultural Liaison. The City is also excited to announce that it will search for a Caribbean community liaison in the near future.

As one of its first initiatives, the Office of Cultural Affairs launched the Cultural Affairs Community Building Mini-Grant Program. These grants, ranging from $500 to $5,000, aim to invest in the cultural sector by supporting non-profit organizations, particularly allowing them to build community and civic engagement across traditionally underserved groups. The deadline to apply for this mini-grant program is Wednesday, June 12, 2024 at 5:00 p.m.

Grant funding must be used for community building activities such as:

  • Providing culturally relevant services and trainings to traditionally underserved groups.
  • Organizing community workshops and events to foster engagement and provide valuable resources.
  • Establishing support groups to meet specific needs within the community.
  • Celebrating cultural gatherings to promote understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures.
  • Facilitating community outreach and advocacy initiatives.
  • Creating community centers and gathering spaces for social connections and resources.
  • Offering training programs and leadership development opportunities.
  • Developing programs to foster intergenerational connections.
  • Promoting volunteerism and civic engagement to build a sense of ownership and solidarity.

Eligible cultural organizations must demonstrate a clear vision for a creative, equitable, and just city. Priority will be given to organizations serving historically excluded cultural communities in Boston. For more information on how to apply, please visit the Office of Cultural Affairs’ website.

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