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.

Arts & Creativity Strategies
Learn more about Arts & Creativity Strategies


Learn about current investment priorities for Barr's Arts & Creativity program below. To see all recent Arts & Creativity grantmaking activity, visit our grants database.

ArtsAmplified Initiative

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

Barr and eight Massachusetts community foundations are advancing diverse, equitable arts and creative expression through a ten-year initiative.

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

Change from the Inside Out

What does prioritizing racial equity in an arts organization look like? A new series shares stories and reflections from Barr partners.

Explore partner stories

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

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

Download our Inquiry Form

Recent Arts & Creativity Blogs