Arts and creativity are essential for vibrant, vital, and engaged communities.
Elevating the arts and enabling creative expression to engage and inspire a dynamic, thriving Massachusetts.
Great art transforms the way we engage with the world. It brings beauty into our lives. Through creativity we can transcend conventions and generate new ideas, alternatives, and possibilities. Arts and creativity have the power to connect us with each other, to help us understand our dynamic environment, and to imagine new, better, different futures.
Against a backdrop of rapidly changing demographics, technological advancements, and evolving art forms, Barr’s Arts & Creativity program seeks to invest in bold ideas and leaders. Our overarching goal is to elevate the arts and enable creative expression to engage and inspire a dynamic, thriving Massachusetts. We will pursue this goal through three strategies: advancing the field’s capacity to adapt, take risks, and engage changing audiences in new ways; fostering opportunities to connect the arts to other disciplines and sectors; and activating public support for the arts.
Arts & Creativity Strategies
To achieve our goal of elevating the arts and enabling creative expression to engage and inspire a dynamic, thriving Massachusetts, we pursue three strategies:
Adapting boldly. Spanning sectors. Activating public support.
Learn about current investment priorities for Barr's Arts & Creativity program below. To see all recent Arts & Creativity grantmaking activity, visit our grants database.
Powerful art. Bold leadership. Vibrant communities.
We're partnering with 15 accomplished arts organizations across Massachusetts to amplify their leadership in communities.Learn more about ArtsAmplified Initiative
Hyde Square Task Force
Powering Cultural Futures Initiative
A six-year partnership with 15 community-rooted organizations to support BIPOC arts and communities, and advance a more equitable Massachusetts arts sector.Learn more about Powering Cultural Futures Initiative
Creative Commonwealth Initiative
A decade-long partnership between Barr and five Massachusetts community foundations to strengthen arts and creativity across our Commonwealth.Learn more about Creative Commonwealth Initiative
Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative
A $25 million investment over six years in 29 Massachusetts arts organizations to strengthen financial health and capacity to adapt to change.Learn more about Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative
Culture and Community in a Time of Transformation
Explore new research that highlights the hopes of Massachusetts residents for the future of arts and culture.Dive into the research
San San Wong on the Essential Role of the Arts
"The essential nature of arts is to take risks, to experiment, and to really look at what's a contemporary conversation."
Investing in Organizations to Pursue an Artistic Risk
What does artistic risk look like? What kind of support is needed to allow organizational risk taking?
Barr-Klarman Arts Capacity Building Initiative and their arts organization partners explored these questions. A fund was set up as part of the Initiative, with the goal of supporting projects that took organizations out of the comfort zone of their usual practice, potentially against standard field practice, and with the potential to change their organizational way of working. We commissioned a series of videos to document the journey and impact of the seven projects that were funded.Learn more about Investing in Organizations to Pursue an Artistic Risk
How Barr Partners to Invest in Individual Artists
Meet Our Arts & Creativity Team
E. San San Wong Director of Arts & Creativity
Giles Li Senior Program Officer, Arts & Creativity
SueEllen Kroll Senior Program Officer, Arts & Creativity
Alexandra Juckno Program Associate, Arts & Creativity
Francisco Torres Program Officer, Arts & Creativity
Jamilah Bradshaw Program Officer, Arts & Creativity
Arts & Creativity Program Grantmaking Process and Inquiries
Grants awarded by the Barr Foundation originate in several ways. The majority are initiated by our staff. Additionally, given the value we place on long-term partnerships, many grants are renewals for current grantees. However, we also welcome those who feel their work aligns with our priorities to introduce themselves to us through an inquiry process.
To submit an inquiry to the Barr Foundation’s Arts & Creativity Program, please assemble your responses and requested materials outlined in our inquiry form below, and submit via email to email@example.com.
Recent Arts & Creativity Blogs
Arts Engage People in Bettering the Places They Love
Leaders from two Massachusetts community foundations on how arts and creativity enrich civic life.
Read the blog post
Jamilah Bradshaw Shares Perspective as a New Arts & Creativity Program Officer
Jamilah Bradshaw joined the Barr Foundation in July 2022, bringing experience as a social justice leader to the Foundation. In this conversation, she shares the perspectives she brings to this new role.
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Francisco Torres Shares His Perspective as a New Member of the Arts & Creativity Team
Francisco Torres recently joined the Barr Foundation as Arts & Creativity Program Officer. A city planner by training, Francisco describes how the arts influenced his career and work in philanthropy.
Read the blog post