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Barr Foundation Announces Creative Commonwealth Initiative

In partnership with five community foundations, Barr launches new $3 million initiative to strengthen arts and creativity across Massachusetts.

At the Barr Foundation, we believe arts and creativity are essential for thriving communities. In 2016, when we expanded our Arts & Creativity program to all of Massachusetts, we knew we would need to identify partners across the state with deep knowledge and relationships in various communities. That is why we are excited to announce the Creative Commonwealth Initiative.

A partnership with five community foundations - Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Essex County Community Foundation and Greater Worcester Community Foundation - Creative Commonwealth is rooted in our shared belief that artists and arts organizations inspire, challenge, and bring our communities together. Yet, in Massachusetts, depending on geography, art form, or networks, access to funding is uneven - and so are opportunities to experience arts and creativity. Though Massachusetts has thousands of artists and cultural organizations, philanthropic support also tends to be unevenly distributed. Creative Commonwealth aims to address these challenges.

A map of Massachusetts, detailing the five regions where Creative Commonwealth will impact.

Community foundations have an important platform to generate new opportunities in their communities, and to connect donors and policymakers with artists and arts organizations to support their creative work. As those connections deepen, people across Massachusetts access more creative experiences that represent the rich diversity of our communities, and funding for creative work can become more equitable and sustainable.

Depending on geography, art form, or networks, access to funding is uneven - and so are opportunities to experience arts and creativity. #CreativeCommonwealth aims to address these challenges. Tweet This

Barr is investing $500,000 over two years for each Creative Commonwealth partner to pilot and implement new initiatives that emerged from community-driven planning efforts funded by Barr in 2017. Each community foundation will launch a portfolio of strategies and activities comprised of grants, knowledge and skill-building activities, and platforms for connecting. In addition, we have awarded $300,000 to the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts to facilitate opportunities for the Creative Commonwealth partners to share strategies and lessons learned with each other and the broader field. All together, Barr's investment in Creative Commonwealth totals nearly $3 million.

We hope you'll follow along and support this significant new endeavor to strengthen arts and creativity across the Commonwealth, and the varied and remarkable regional initiatives of our partners. And we welcome your reactions, ideas, and engagement with us using #CreativeCommonwealth.

Read the Creative Commonwealth Press Release

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