Huntington Theatre Company - Singer

Barr Announces Awards to 15 Boston Arts Organizations Under New Grant Program

Can you imagine Boston without its vibrant cultural life? We can't, either. Yet, a difficult economy and the departure of several longtime arts funders have created a "new normal" for arts in Boston. After many conversations with arts grantees about how best to respond, Barr is taking a new approach to its arts grantmaking—providing deeper, longer-term support for cohorts of mid-sized arts organizations.

We can’t imagine Boston without its vibrant cultural life. Yet, a difficult economy and the departure of several longtime, institutional funders have created what many have described as a “new normal” for arts funding in Boston. In light of this changing context, in 2011, Barr began a process to explore how best to focus its arts and culture giving. We held one-on-one interviews and multiple group meetings with grantees. We also conferred with local and national funders.

What emerged was a more targeted strategy that is focused on two areas the Foundation has supported since its inception—mid-sized arts organizations and youth arts programs that help young people achieve mastery in an art form. Beginning in 2012, Barr will provide deeper, longer-term support for cohorts of mid-sized arts and cultural institutions (with annual budgets of $1–$25 million), and for organizations providing opportunities for young people to pursue excellence in the arts. Our focus on cohorts is a direct response to grantees, who noted that declining arts funding in Boston had resulted in fewer forums to share strategies, to learn together, and to coordinate collective action focused on drawing new funding to Boston arts organizations.

Starting in the fall of 2011, Barr issued its first open requests for concept papers. We are pleased to introduce the mid-sized arts organizations that will receive support under this new program:

Thanks to additional support from the Klarman Family Foundation, which shares our goals, we were able to support a larger group of organizations than originally anticipated. We are excited to begin working with these organizations and the Klarman Family Foundation to strengthen the arts in Boston.

*ArtsEmerson joined this cohort in fall 2012.

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