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Mayor Walsh announces Boston Creates

April 9, 2015

Arts and Culture

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Arts and Culture

 Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the launch of Boston’s cultural planning process that will create a blueprint for arts and culture in the City of Boston. Boston Creates will engage residents, visitors, and stakeholders to help local government identify cultural needs, opportunities, and resources and to think strategically about how these resources can help the community to achieve its civic goals. The process will create a ten-year plan, designed to prioritize, coordinate, and align public and private resources to strengthen cultural vitality over the long term. Volunteers are sought to join the Leadership Council and Community Teams to advise on, guide, and drive participation in the process throughout its duration.

“Boston is a city of innovation, diversity and collaboration - a city where creativity and imagination are some of our most powerful assets,” said Mayor Walsh “Over the next fifteen months, we are going to look to all voices in the city to tell us what matters. This shared vision for the City will ensure all residents can fully experience and benefit from Boston’s vibrant arts and cultural life.”

In September 2014, Mayor Walsh appointed a 15-member steering committee, comprising representatives from City government and the arts. This committee was charged with recommending a cultural planning consultant team and advising the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture.

Upon the recommendation of the Steering Committee, Boston Creates will be led by the Cultural Planning Group, a consulting practice serving the field of arts and culture with some of the country’s foremost experts in organizational capacity building and public art. Founded in 1998, they have worked with municipalities across the country to create cultural plans. Locally, they will partner with WolfBrown and Archipelago Strategies to design a robust research methodology, understand the unique creative identity of Boston, and create a plan based on the priorities of the community.

“The Cultural Planning Group has a unique set of skills and a knowledge base of cultural planning that will help Boston understand how it can become a municipal arts leader,” said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. “Together, we will create a plan that builds on our existing creative assets, achieves consensus on the top priorities for improvement, and clearly spells out how we can move forward to implement the recommendations in the plan.”

The process will depend upon community participation for its success. The Cultural Planning Group will be working to engage individuals across the city in the process, creating a Leadership Council and Community Engagement Teams that will help guide the process throughout its duration. Applications for these volunteer roles can be found at www.bostoncreates.org.

On Tuesday, June 2, 2015, Boston Creates will host its first Cultural Planning Town Hall, inviting everyone from across the city to share their opinions and ideas about cultural priorities.  The Town Hall will be followed by interviews with individuals and groups to lay out a comprehensive map of Boston’s cultural assets, including its variety of arts organizations, festivals, and public art locations.

“The plan will be the most authentic if people engage,” said David Plettner-Saunders, partner at the Cultural Planning Group. “We want to helpBoston define its unique creative identity, develop a shared vision for the creative future and identify the sustainable resources that can make it happen. Ultimately, we will strive to create a plan that is both realistic and aspirational, one that has support of the public and the Mayor and one that will lead to greater civic leadership. We believe this is achievable through diverse participation and shared voices.”

In partnership with the City of Boston, the Barr Foundation and the Klarman Family Foundation have provided the funding necessary to ensure the cultural planning process could be launched in a timely manner and that it be informed by best practices from other cities.

“This is an exciting moment in time for Boston, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a plan that harnesses the full potential of arts, culture, and creativity to inspire us, to enrich our lives, and to enliven our communities,” said James Canales, president and trustee of The Barr Foundation. “Along with many others, we look forward to being a constructive partner in advancing arts and culture well into the future.”

The Cultural Plan is expected to be complete in June 2016. For more information, visit www.bostoncreates.org. Twitter users can engage with the process on social media using #BostonCreates.