Annis Whitlow Sengupta, PhD

Director of Arts and Culture

Department: Arts & Culture
Phone: 617-933-0774


Annis Whitlow Sengupta, Director of Arts and Culture, leads the arts and culture planning practice at the agency. In this role, Dr. Sengupta ensures that MAPC offers quality arts and culture planning support to municipalities, builds internal and external capacity to integrate arts and culture into planning as well as to advance equity, and expand inclusion and belonging throughout the region. She also develops partnerships between MAPC and the arts and culture sector and oversees efforts to improve the data available to strengthen the policy and planning conditions that can help arts and culture to thrive. Dr. Sengupta joined MAPC in 2017 with the launch of the Arts & Culture Department and helped build all areas of the department’s work prior to becoming Department Director in 2021.

Dr. Sengupta has lived, worked, and studied in the region for twenty years. Prior to joining MAPC, she worked for over eight years for Community Partners Consultants, a locally based consultancy where she was a Senior Planner. Her clients at Community Partners included municipalities and arts organizations. Her cultural planning expertise includes managing an innovative arts district master planning process in Beverly, Massachusetts, and a study of non-profit facilities of public accommodation along the Boston waterfront. In addition, she has worked in the campus planning practice of Sasaki Associates and as a lecturer in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, on teaching teams for community growth and land use planning, urban design, and Main Streets planning.

Dr. Sengupta is a graduate of Yale University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in an Architecture major. She also holds a Master of City Planning degree and PhD in urban and regional studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research explores the connections between place, culture, and identity in the context of racial politics and the immigrant experience. Her dissertation reconstructed the history of ethnic parades in Chicago, Illinois, and examined how cultural events in public space can build community identity, increase political access, spur design interventions, and promote economic development.

Dr. Sengupta represents MAPC as a member of the MASSCreative Policy Committee. She is a member of the American Planning Association and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Arts and Planning Division. She was a member of the board that secured the approval of the Arts & Planning Interest Group as a full division of the APA.

Areas of Expertise
Arts and cultural planning and policy, community and land use planning, visioning and strategy development, creative placemaking, artist residencies, data collection and analysis, cultural asset mapping,