Written by Now + There
Equality is at the core of Now + There’s (N+T) work. Now in our fifth year of producing engaging, thought-provoking public art, N+T centers not only artistic vision but connecting people, transforming spaces, and sparking conversation. Social justice is inherent in what we do.
So we couldn’t be more excited to join Arts Connect International (ACI) as a Community Partner for the upcoming Arts Equity Summit. ACI’s work connecting emerging artists, artists of color, and communities with arts institutions is crucial in developing an inclusive arts ecosystem in Boston.
Arts equity means investing in Boston-based artists and building neighborhood connections. Take, for example, N+T’s Public Art Accelerator program. The Accelerator guides Boston-area artists through a 6-month curriculum and funds their projects with grants up to $25,000. In 2018, seven Accelerator participants — including two black artists and one Latina artist — produced six projects in neighborhoods spanning Dorchester to East Boston, with an emphasis on community partnership and engagement. In 2019, six more artists will create new, community-focused projects that engage with issues of justice, power, and equality.
Arts equity means prioritizing an intersectional approach to producing and creating public art. In 2017, our “Year of the Woman,” we paid over $37k to nine female artists, over half of whom were women of color, in conceptual design fees and project labor. In 2018, N+T partnered with 21 diverse community partners and invested $120,000 in neighborhoods not always served by public art through Accelerator funding, including Roxbury, East Boston, Jackson/Hyde Square, and Egleston Square. As we gear up for our 2019 season, we’re looking forward to forging even more connections throughout Boston, including a recently-announced partnership with DS4SI for an upcoming artwork project in Upham’s Corner, Dorchester.
Perhaps most importantly, working towards equity means listening. To that end, we’re looking forward to our conversation on creating a more equitable climate for public art in Boston at AES19. Our Summit panel, “Loop-breaking: creating a virtuous cycle of public art production,” will consider the challenges of creating truly community-oriented artworks and discuss barriers to entry for public art artists and audiences alike.
We’re grateful to ACI for making this conference possible, and we look forward to gathering together with friends and partners, new and old. Thanks for having us, AES19!