People celebrate outside and make art at a block party.

Announcing the 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.

Arts and cultural organizations have enormous potential to add value to the vibrancy, social wellbeing, and creative economies of their communities. Yet, amidst rapid change in our communities and broader society, these organizations must also grow and change. To remain relevant and to thrive, compelling artistic programming that engages diverse artists and audiences is necessary but not sufficient. Organizations also need a sound operating model with adequate and appropriate capital, and staff and board members who embrace change and cultural differences. Today, we are pleased to announce the next evolution of the Barr Foundation’s partnership with The Klarman Family Foundation—the Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative, a $25 million investment in 29 arts and cultural organizations from across Massachusetts to strengthen these essential capacities. Last week, the foundations made the first set of three-year grants under the new initiative, marking the beginning of what is expected to be a six-year journey of learning, collaboration, and growth.

We are pleased to announce the Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative, a $25 million investment in 29 arts and cultural organizations from across Massachusetts.

A cohort of organizations from across Massachusetts:

Representing diversity across artistic disciplines, geographic reach, stages of organizational development, and budget sizes, the 29 organizations are:

Organizations will receive multi-year, unrestricted operating grants. Additionally, through a grant to TDC, a nationally recognized nonprofit consulting and research group, organizations will participate in a learning program focused on capitalization, cultural competency, and adaptive capacity. Organizations will also receive customized training and technical assistance, and be eligible for supplemental funds for targeted research, capacity building, and/or pilot projects.

The Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative extends a partnership that began in 2012, when the Barr Foundation and The Klarman Family Foundation launched the Barr-Klarman Arts Capacity Building Initiative, a multi-year investment to strengthen the long-term financial health of a group of 30 Boston-area arts organizations. TDC also served as initiative co-designer and technical assistance provider. Since then, the Barr Foundation’s Arts & Creativity Strategy evolved from a focus only on Boston to all of Massachusetts. A program evaluation also provided invaluable feedback from participants about what elements of the experience were most helpful to them, and how we could improve the model. And we are thrilled to bring that learning into a next manifestation of this partnership, to strengthen a group of organizations who are creating and presenting arts and creativity in communities throughout the Commonwealth.

Map of Massachusetts showing the cohort distribution of the Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative

Visit the Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative page to learn more about the ideas underlying this effort, the key elements of the experience for our partner organizations, and the selection criteria. We look forward to sharing news, progress, and lessons throughout the journey.

We also invite you to subscribe to Barr’s arts email list for future updates, and to share this news and join the conversation on social media using #BKMassArts.

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