Mayor Walsh today annnounced a ten-year program, called Boston Creates, to "weave arts and culture into the fabric of everyday life" in the city.
The city will set aside money each year for public art projects - 1% of each year's spending on capital projects. One of the first areas to benefit will be Hyde Square in Jamaica Plain, where the city Public Works Department will spend $100,000 on public art to go along with a planned road upgrade.
Also, the city is designating Upham's Corner in Dorchester as the first of three "arts innovation districts," to turn it into "a cultural hub, building upon the City's investment in the Strand Theatre and integrating local businesses and arts into the economy." Two other areas in the city, not yet selected, will also be designated this way.
The Boston Foundation will spend $1.5 million over three years on grants to small dance and theater troupes, while the MFA will help the city preserve its existing art - and will begin to display more of its sculptures on Fenway parkland near the museum. The Barr Foundation will kick in another $250,000. Emerson Collecte will work with the city to try to develop a "Creative industries workforce program," while institutions with space to spare - including Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the AT&T store on Boylston Street and the Plumbers Local 12 union hall will let local cultural groups use the space for rehersals.
Key to the program, however, is finding a way to let local artists stay in the increasingly expensive city. The Boston Foundation will study how to house artists, but in the meantime, the mayor's office announced:
Today the Boston Housing Authority announced it will begin to set aside low-income housing for artists in redevelopments. As part of the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill public housing development into a new mixed-income community in Charlestown, the Boston Housing Authority and its developer partner Corcoran-SunCal will set aside 10 units of low-income housing, available to income-eligible artists. Simultaneously, new guidelines will be created for the City of Boston Artist Certification Program.
The BHA and the developer have also pledged to set aside money for public art in the project, with the details to be announced in the coming months.
Walsh also announced a grant program, that will distribute a total of $10,000 a month, to local artists, to be followed later this year with a fellowship program.