Art and culture add vibrancy to places and neighborhoods, and can be an integral part of community planning. The MetroFuture vision for the Greater Boston region includes goals and strategies that pertain to increasing the region's artistic and cultural resources (goal #43). Goals identified include: fostering urban vitality through support for arts districts; supporting arts and culture as a way to build community and civic engagement; supporting the coordination of creative economy initiatives; and supporting live/work spaces and creative incubator spaces (strategies 6E, 11B, and 11c).
In August of 2015, MAPC established the Inner Core Arts and Planning Working Group, which consists of municipal staff from twelve municipalities in the Inner Core subregion and advisors from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the New England Foundation for the Arts. The Working Group is advising on the development of an Arts and Planning Toolkit. The Working Group is chaired by Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston.
The Toolkit will be a resource for municipal staff interested in innovating their planning and community development work through projects and partnerships that engage arts, culture, and the creative community. The Toolkit will provide a menu of strategies grounded in case studies of real projects within and outside of Massachusetts that are exemplary of how arts and culture can be an effective component of planning, land use, transportation, economic development, housing, infrastructure, public health, and public safety projects and initiatives.
The Toolkit will be launched as an interactive website resource and as a downloadable PDF in spring 2016. If you would like to receive notification when the Toolkit is launched, please contact Regional Planner Jennifer Erickson.
Recent Activities & Events
Hull Surfside Banner Art/Design Call for Entries
In May of 2015, MAPC worked with the Town of Hull to develop and release a call to artists inviting art/design concepts for banners for the new light posts on Nantasket Avenue and Water Street at Surfside. The banners brand the Town of Hull's Nantasket/Surfside business corridor as part of the town's effort to revitalize the Nantasket Beach area. The selected artist/designer/team received a stipend of $2,500 toward the cost of producing the banner design and coordination with the Town of Hull's Surfside Design Working Group.
Temporary Public Art at the Salem Point Neighborhood Pop-Market
In August of 2014, MAPC and the City of Salem organized a pop-up market at Peabody Street Park that included businesses fron the Point Neighborhood. The market included Dj music and a participatory art project led by Salem artist Miguel Cruz.
Forums and Webinars
In 2014, MAPC partnered with the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) to organize a series of webinars and forums on the topics of art and planning and zoning in support of the creative economy.
- On November 20, 2014, MAPC sponsored a webinar with Gregory Jenkins, Executive Director of the Somerville Arts Council. Using the City of Somerville as a case study, Greg discussed relationships between government departments, access to funding, and common goals. The Somerville Arts Council is one of the most active arts councils in the state. Greg discussed how he has worked with municipal staff to advance common goals related to placemaking and planning and zoning for the artist community.
- On June 26, 2014, MAPC and the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) cosponsored a forum to highlight how artists and municipalities in our region are working together to integrate temporary and permanent art in ways that enhance community life and support local planning and community development goals. Over 60 people attended the forum including municipal planners, arts council staff, and representatives from community-based organizations. Guest speakers from Gloucester, Salem, and Malden talked about current local art initiatives and collaborations that are advancing community development goals.
Funding and Technical Assistance Resources
In addition to MAPC, below is a select listing of local and national resources available to assist municipalities with the integration of art and culture into local planning and community development and planning for public art:
- Massachusetts Cultural Council
- New England Foundation for the Arts
- Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI)
- MassDevelopment Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Places Grant Program for Gateway Cities
- ArtPlace America
- Public Art Fund
MAPC is available to assisting municipalities with planning for public art and planning and zoning in support of the creative economy. Please contact us if you'd like to discuss a project. For additional information or questions, please contact MAPC Regional Planner Jenn Erickson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-933-0759.