$50k Our Town Grant Awarded to Design Partnership

Mayor Menino Announces $50,000 Our Town Grant Awarded to Design Partnership to Aid Development of Boston’s Innovation District

The National Endowment for the Arts Invests in Boston to Support Community Development through Design

(July 13, 2011) Boston — Today, Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded $50,000 to a Boston-based public-private partnership between the City of Boston, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, the Design Industry Group of Massachusetts and Design Museum Boston. NEA Chairman, Rocco Landesman presented the award today when he announced the inaugural round of funding for Our Town, a new program providing support for planning, design, and arts engagement projects that strengthen arts organizations while increasing the livability of communities across America.

“The City of Boston is proud that this award will help to further establish the Innovation District as a unique and vibrant cultural and economic center in our city,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “This effort is really symbolic of the collaboration that has already made the district a success. Together, the work of these great partners along with the neighborhood’s prominent artist community will highlight what an important role design plays in the Innovation District’s growth.”

NEA Chairman Landesman said, “Communities across our country are investing in the arts and smart design to enhance Americans’ quality of life and to promote the distinctive identities of our communities. Our Towncreates partnerships among local governments and arts and design organizations to strengthen the creative sector and help revitalize the overall community.”

NEA’s Director of Design Jason Schupbach added, “Creative placemaking is a strategy for making places vibrant. Arts and design are essential parts of the complex work of building a livable, sustainable community.”

The Boston-based Our Town program is focused on integrating design as a placemaking strategy in the development of Boston’s Innovation District. Launched in January 2010 by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, the Innovation District is a new vision for the next generation of the South Boston waterfront: 1,000 acres of residential, commercial, and industrial space, already home to New England’s largest artist community, a new contemporary art museum and many established industrial firms, where Boston’s strengths in entrepreneurship, technology, and the creative arts coalesce. The goal is to establish a featured role for the design industry in the evolving economic and cultural fabric of the district and to enhance development efforts already underway.

“It is really exciting to see the NEA recognizing the investment opportunity that exists in strengthening the connection between the art, design, and business communities in Fort Point,” said Anita Lauricella of the Fort Point Cultural Coalition. “The existing arts community will be a great asset in stabilizing the role of the design community in the development of the Innovation District”

Lead applicant, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, will oversee the project. The college continues to advance efforts to integrate design into the public sector as well as the broader economy through its strong academic programs and institutional support for organizations like DIGMA and Design Museum Boston.

MassArt President, Kay Sloan said, “I am so pleased that Massachusetts College of Art and Design is partnering with the City of Boston, Design Museum Boston, and the Design Industry Group of Massachusetts to strengthen the important role that design can and should play in the development of Boston’s Innovation District.”

The public-private partnership is planning for community outreach through a series of events, exhibits, and programs to educate the public and business leaders on the positive impact design can have on the built environment and the bottom-line. The grant supports planning for programs that can subsequently be implemented that are meant to increase the overall livability and build the connections that drive innovation and ultimately create jobs.

Design Museum Boston Director, Sam Aquillano, remarked that, “Design impacts every aspect of our lives and is a strong force in the Boston economy. The Our Town grant will allow us to bring design education and programming to the South Boston Waterfront to amplify the creative spirit and energy in the Innovation District for the benefit of all Boston residents and visitors.”



The City of Boston, under the leadership of Mayor Menino, is committed to the successful execution of key projects to solidify the vision for the future of the Innovation District. For more information, visitwww.InnovationDistrict.org.

Massachusetts College of Art and Design is one of the top colleges of its kind in the United States. Founded in 1873, MassArt has a legacy of leadership as the only independent public college of art and design in the country and the nation’s first art school to grant a degree. The college offers a comprehensive range of baccalaureate and graduate degrees in art and design, all taught by world-class faculty, along with continuing education and youth programs designed to encourage individual creativity. Whether at home in Boston or on the other side of the globe, the artists and designers of MassArt are dedicated to making a difference in their communities and around the world. For more information, visit MassArt.edu.

The Design Industry Group of Massachusetts (DIGMA) serves as a collective voice and advocate for the design sector in Massachusetts, and strives to raise visibility and build connections to support the sector’s growth. For more information, visit www.DIGMA.us.

Design Museum Boston educates the public on the positive impact of design in their lives through exhibits, events, and outreach programs. For more information, visit www.DesignMuseumBoston.org.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. For more information, go to www.arts.gov.


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