(Boston, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts has awarded $275,000 in Fund for the Arts grants to five organizations to strengthen the public art field in Boston.

Fund for the Arts' supported "As If It Were Already Here" (2015) by Janet Echelman at the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston; photo by Allie Fiske

“The Fund for the Arts has a long history of investing in Boston’s public art practice,” said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards. “We believe that by investing in this diverse cohort of grantees – from organizations lifting up artists and socially engaged practice in community settings, to institutions that bring international visibility to Boston – NEFA will foster capacity-building and learning that will result in more equitable and sustainable public art practices.”

The Fund for the Arts panel - Tyra Sidberry (philanthropic and social sector advisor), Frank Mitchell (Amistad Center for Arts & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum), Liana Krupp (Krupp Family Foundation), and Rania Matar (photographer) - awarded each organization $55,000 over two years to support continued work in strengthening the public art sector locally. The recipients are:

  • Design Studio for Social Intervention: to expand the commissioning of local artists to collaborate and reclaim public spaces for communities of color to share experiences, feel welcome, and engage with public art.
  • The Institute of Contemporary Art: to support the ICA Watershed initiative, building on a practice of bringing together landscape, history, and contemporary art, working with community partners in East Boston on free related programming.
  • Now + There: to support a portfolio of temporary public art across Boston, and equipping local early to mid-career artists with curatorial, technical, and financial support through the Accelerator program.
  • Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy: to support public art - by both world-renowned artists and mid-career artists - relevant to Boston’s diverse visitor and resident populations, bolstered by artist talks, Art Ambassadors, and Youth Adventure Days.
  • Urbano Project: to foster the Artist in Residency program, including exhibitions, free community events, conversations, youth workshops, and more around public art that addresses important social issues and engages audiences.

Historically, the Fund for the Arts has supported site-specific public art projects created by professional artists working in collaboration with community-based nonprofit organizations within the greater Boston area. Fund for the Arts was on hiatus in 2017 as NEFA went through an extensive strategic planning process. These awards are part of a transition strategy as NEFA continues to operationalize its strategic plan goals of support: for artists and the creative process; networks and knowledge; and equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility.

About the Fund for the Arts
The Fund for the Arts was launched in 1981 by Boston attorney Phil David Fine, through an extensive publicity and fundraising campaign out of WBZ-TV (now CBS Boston), and drew support from local businesses, arts organizations, and individuals. In 1992, Fund for the Arts became a permanent program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, and today has assets of approximately $3 million.

About NEFA
The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation.  NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to networks and knowledge-building opportunities; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Learn more at www.nefa.org.