Creative City, NEFA

Creative City

The Creative City grant program brings diverse public art to life across Boston.


Visible, diverse, and accessible art is a vital aspect of a city’s cultural life. Historically, people only experienced art in performance halls and museums. With public art, all Boston residents have the opportunity to come upon and engage with creative work. In order to better understand the barriers and aspirations around public art in Boston, Barr and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) commissioned a study on public art in the city. The study found that while artists were eager to create public art and work in unconventional spaces, they lacked the resources and tools to plan, apply for grants, and navigate the permitting process.

Grant Description:

The Creative City grants program enables artists of all disciplines to create public art, with public participation, to engage Boston’s many communities. Creative City works with individual artists, artist collectives, and artistic collaborations led by artists of color and across multiple aesthetics and forms. Applications are reviewed by an expert panel who offer awards based on artists' criteria and priorities. The selected cohort of artists will receive professional development, technical assistance, and access to a network of artists and community partners to develop their practice and implement their creative vision.

Outputs and Outcomes:

  • Convene a cohort of artists and provide access to grant support and professional development for practical demonstrations of artist-driven work in new settings
  • Publications that more widely share learnings from this project and engage the community.
  • Build knowledge and skills of Boston artists in working with communities and successfully completing grant applications and permitting processes.
  • Increase creation of artist-led and experimental new work that integrates public participation and imagination throughout Boston.
  • Build a strong network of artists and venues across the City for learning and connections to resources.
  • Share learning about public art and community work to build capacity and interest more widely.

Learn more about Creative City

New England Foundation for the Arts, Inc.

To help establish the Creative City initiative, expanding the diversity of imaginative, quality public art in Greater Boston and the infrastructure to support it. A portion of this grant was recommended and paid through a donor-advised fund.

  • Award Date: 9/17/2014
  • Amount: $1,700,000
  • Term: 48 months
  • Program: Arts & Creativity

New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) is a nonprofit providing leadership and resources that benefit artists, the public, arts funders, and policymakers throughout New England and beyond.