Boston is known as a city with deep history, and it has served as a leader across many fronts–from abolitionist efforts to immigrant rights. But it also has a complex history of racism, something which continues to impact residents and visitors to the city today. With over half of the City’s residents being people of color, there is an opportunity for us to better understand our diverse cultures and live up to our democratic ideals.
In the Boston Creates cultural plan, one of the five main goals is to “cultivate a city where all cultural traditions and expressions are respected, promoted, and equitably resourced, and where opportunities to engage with arts and culture are accessible to all.” Since the creation of that plan in 2016, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture has worked toward this goal in several ways, including by incorporating an equity lens into our grantmaking, bringing public art to historically underserved neighborhoods, and by facilitating an artist in residence program that revolves around the theme of resilience and racial equity. It has become apparent through our work thus far that there is an increasing need to further refine our work to more intentionally reflect the diversity of our city’s residents. We see great value in making equity the anchor of all of our work and programs.
As part of the Equity Transformation Project, we’re looking for a partner to help us craft and implement a strategy that centers a multitude of cultures present in our communities and prioritizes funding artists, art organizations, and art forms that have been historically underrepresented. So, we released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a consultant to take on this work. The deadline to respond to this RFP is December 6.
We’re looking for a leader who can guide our multigenerational and multiethnic team in these honest and vulnerable conversations. Our goal is to strengthen our team as a unit and empower each individual member with the skills to be an effective ally in relationship-building and service delivery for Boston residents.
The second part of this project is that we are going to create a public roster of entities that do this kind of equity work in order to make it available to people seeking these services in the future. In order to create a publicly available roster of qualified individuals and firms who focus on racial equity at the intersections of our program areas, we’ll soon be putting out a Request for Information (RFI) from individuals and firms who operate at the intersection of equity and arts and culture.
We want to lead by example. We aim to advance an equitable Boston that understands its complex past, reflects its present, and imagines its future without fear of upsetting the status quo. We are seeking partners that dare to dream with us in envisioning what Boston could be and are invested in committing to the requisite work to make it a reality.