In 2014, I served as a copywriter and ghostwriter for The Barr Foundation. This appointment coincided with the City of Boston's efforts to create a cultural plan, per the order of Mayor Martin J. Walsh. Working with Director of Communications Stefan Lanfer and Senior Program Officer E. San San Wong, I fulfilled the following duties.
- Writing a Q+A synthesis to illustrate the City of Boston's nascent cultural plan, its objectives, and how the plan would be executed.
- Ghostwriting cultural plan-centric blog posts for foundation officials.
- Attending local cultural planning events and panels to transcribe exchanges.
The Q+A synthesis text is viewable below.
BOSTON 2015-2025 CULTURAL PLANNING:
Questions + Answers
In 2015, Mayor Martin J. Walsh will launch Boston’s first-ever cultural planning process.
During his campaign and first six months in office, Mayor Walsh kept hearing one
resounding imperative from his constituents: Boston residents need more arts and culture in their lives. Thankfully, Bostonians were quick to propose their own solutions, such as expanding arts education in schools, approving more public arts projects, and making Boston a more affordable place for artists to live and work in. The new Mayor listened, took notes, and immediately set to work formulating a plan to fulfill this essential need.
The cultural plan will lay foundations for a Boston where residents of all cultural
backgrounds can readily create and experience art. Cultural planning will brand Boston as a dynamic city where creativity can flourish, and where art can be integrated into any neighborhood block, classroom, or economic sector. Already, Mayor Walsh has appointed former City of Chicago cultural official Julie Burros as Boston’s first Cabinet level Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner. The planning process – expected to begin in January 2015 – will similarly capitalize on the recent momentum of MASSCreative’s Create the Vote Campaign, last year’s Mayoral Candidate Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity, and the Barr Foundation’s 2013 cultural planning forums.
Before the planning process initiates, a 50-100 member Leadership Council will select a qualified planning consultant to bring onboard the project. The Council issued its official Request for Proposals (RFP) in October and is currently considering submissions. To support this talent search, Barr will work directly with Technical Development Corporation (TDC), a Boston-based nonprofit and research consulting group. We believe that TDC’s extensive benchmark research on cultural planning in major US cities will help the Leadership Council reach and recruit a local consultant who can provide a fresh and experiential perspective on the City of Boston and its diverse neighborhoods.
Given the considerable cost of developing and implementing a citywide cultural plan,
typically ranging between $250-600K, Barr has also joined forces with The Klarman
Family Foundation to provide private funding that will supplement the City of Boston’s
Arts and Cultural Affairs budget. To this end, the Leadership Council members will draw deeply from their professional networks to bring new and enthusiastic partners to the project. Contributions will be welcomed through the completion of the planning process.
Boston residents and visitors will have ample opportunity to add their own voices and
ideas to the project. An ongoing, all-inclusive exchange of ideas will be conducted by
way of open town hall meetings, social media groups, and localized cultural festivities.
Throughout the planning process, a Steering Committee of 15 city government and arts
officials will moderate these community brainstorm events. Each committee member
comes to the table with a personal invitation from City of Boston Chief of Policy Joyce
Linehan, along with endorsements from Barr and The Klarman Family Foundation.
Together, we will create a roadmap to a more artistically empowered Boston: a city that will shine and grow for decades to come.