Boston (Fairmount Corridor, Uphams Corner, Dorchester), MA

Contact Name
Liora Beer
Project Dates
Winter - Fall 2015 (Year One)
Workshop Leader
Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) 2015
Workforce Development, Real Estate
Fairmount Innovation Lab is a cross-sector lab, incubator & accelerator that advances the aspirations of talented creative and entrepreneurial residents along the Fairmount/Indigo Corridor (population of 93,000, predominantly low income & minority). FIL strategies include space for creative makers, cultural events and exhibitions, community meetings and ideas exchange; an access point for business resources, workshops, advising, network building and funding; and a competitive accelerator to build viable start-ups that help catalyze innovation within a local context. Participants gain access to a community of highly motivated entrepreneurs, work space, mentors and experts in business model development, marketing, finance, legal issues, technology, sales and design. new contacts and funding.
Project Goals
What were the specific goals of this creative economy project? Describe the community development challenge or opportunity that your project was designed to address:
To provide ambitious Fairmount Corridor-based artists, creative entrepreneurs and residents with access to a shared incubator space, inspiration, business development methodology, mentors, subject matter experts, networking, seed funding and other resources for advancing creative practices and launching start-ups in creative industries.
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
We are in the planning stages at this time but will have a lot of information to share by June when the first cycle of Lab & Accelerator will be near completion . Thus far, we have secured the space, held informational community meetings and are about to release the application.
Who was involved in this project and what did they do? (be sure to include the partners from outside of the creative sector and how local voices were included):
Project partners thus far include: Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, the Design Studio for Social Intervention, Uphams Corner Main Street, Four Corners Main Street, Four Corners Action Coalition and the Dorchester Arts Collaborative,

Stakeholders include: ArtPlace America, the Boston Foundation, the Barr Foundation, Surdna Foundation and Kresge Foundation
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
The Fairmount Cultural Corridor is a creative placemaking initiative that combines collaborative efforts of residents, artists, community organizations and businesses to support vibrant, livable neighborhoods along the Fairmount Commuter Line, made stronger through an active local creative economy. The Fairmount Cultural Corridor is designed to advance a vision that draws upon the local cultural assets and ethnic traditions of the Corridor’s residents.
What projects or places, if any, inspired your approach to this creative economy project?
I was inspired to launch this project by my experience working with creative residents in the Fairmount Corridor and by my experience creating a social enterprise and becoming a MassChallenge Finalist. Since that time, I have been investigating several accelerator models but haven't found one that has a Lab and Accelerator in which artists and entrepreneurs can cross-pollinate.
Project Specifics
Please list the steps taken to implement the project:
We are still in the early stages of the project. Steps that have been taken thus far include:
Ensuring interest
Securing the space
Initial Promotion
Holding community information meetings
Surveying artists, creative residents and entrepreneurs in the community. We are about to release the application.
If the project steps changed over time, please describe how:
NA at this time
What were your major obstacles for the completion of the project?
Haven't completed the project yet but securing the space was the first hurdle.
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
Leveraged a relationship with someone who is held in high esteem by the building owner/manager
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
1. Do the work that's needed building relationships and partnerships
2. Engage members of the community in significant ways in the project from the start
3. Collaborate with partners to gather resources
Project Impact
How has this project strategically connected arts and cultural activities to social, economic, and cultural issues in your community? What is different in your community as a result of this project?
We anticipate that this project will strengthen the social, economic and cultural fabric in Fairmount communities. Creating the Fairmount Creative Industry Lab & Accelerator that will have a competitive residency program as well as host public events by and for artists and ambitious entrepreneurs will increase community engagement, inspire cross-pollination/sharing of resources, and spur the launch of creative businesses.
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
NA at this time
How did you measure this success or progress?
We anticipate that this project will strengthen the social, economic and cultural fabric in Fairmount communities. We will measure success by number of people who attend public events the Lab & Accelerator and the number of creative businesses launched.
Please describe any unexpected impacts:
It's too early to know of unexpected impacts but we will be able to speak to that by June.
CCX Workshop Handout