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Hyde Square Task Force

A Commitment to BIPOC Arts and Communities

Powering Cultural Futures connects and serves 15 community-rooted arts organizations. This multiyear initiative results from a collaboration between Barr, the Ford Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

Today, the Barr Foundation announces Powering Cultural Futures, a six-year initiative that celebrates and supports arts of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities across Massachusetts. The initiative involves 15 organizations that play crucial roles as art producers and presenters, cultural hubs, training grounds for new artists, and more. They are treasures in their communities, with trusted leaders who embrace arts to speak powerfully about the experiences, struggles, triumphs, and dreams of community members.

Powering Cultural Futures supports these organizations in their work to increase access to arts and cultural expression of BIPOC communities, develop networks of mutual support for BIPOC artists, and evolve BIPOC artforms and aesthetics. Each organization will, over the course of this capacity-building initiative, pursue a scale of operations that fits its aspirations and reflects the needs, hopes, and assets of its community. These cohort members will also contribute, along with Barr and our partner foundations, to bolstering the ecosystem of arts providers and donors that is vital to the flourishing of BIPOC arts statewide, and indeed to the vitality and creativity of all our communities statewide.

This initiative is grounded in Barr’s belief that action and sustained commitment are required to honor the vision of, and address the inequities faced by, those who have been most deeply harmed by white supremacy. BIPOC artists, arts organizations, and communities have for too long lacked access to the resources of major funders including Barr. Powering Cultural Futures is a step toward a more just and inclusive arts sector in Massachusetts. We take this step in partnership with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the Ford Foundation, through its America’s Cultural Treasures initiative. Barr announced our partnership with Ford last fall and is pleased to deepen our ongoing relationship with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

This initiative is grounded in Barr’s belief that action and sustained commitment are required to honor the vision of, and address the inequities faced by, those who have been most deeply harmed by white supremacy.

These partners, who share commitment to racial justice, arts, and community wellbeing, formed the Creative Futures Collaborative. The Collaborative, seeded with $5 million each from Barr and Ford, focuses on building the capacity of a thriving, well-resourced BIPOC arts sector in Massachusetts. Powering Cultural Futures is the first initiative created through the Collaborative. For Barr, this launch represents continued expansion of our Arts & Creativity Program portfolio and reflects our holistic approach to strengthening the ecosystem that supports cultural expression across Massachusetts.

As the Powering Cultural Futures initiative ramps up, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts is also beginning research to inform design of a donor engagement initiative supporting BIPOC arts. Experimentation, learning and sharing knowledge are practices that animate all activities of the Collaborative, and we look forward to reporting more in 2022 about the activities introduced today. We also welcome involvement of other donors and philanthropies in the statewide Creative Futures Collaborative for BIPOC arts.

We are excited to join with and learn directly from the cohort of Powering Cultural Futures participants. The dedication and creativity of these community-rooted arts organizations inspires our work for racial justice and vibrant Massachusetts arts and communities.

Read more about the Powering Cultural Futures Initiative

Participating Organizations

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