Wednesday, December 21, 2011



By Johanna Kaiser, Town Correspondent

The Fenway neighborhood is on its way to being known as an official destination for art and culture.

The Boston City Council today announced its support of the neighborhood's efforts to become the city's first state-recognized cultural district.

The neighborhood, which is home to a host of colleges and cultural organizations, including Massachusetts College of Art and Design, the Museum of Fine Arts, and Boston Symphony Orchestra, has been working to create cultural district around the Avenue of the Arts through the
 Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency promoting access to the arts .

The distinction would give the neighborhood funds to foster tourism and support neighborhood art organizations and programs. The council approved
 a resolution supporting the distinction, a necessary step toward the title of Fenway Cultural District.

The Fenway Cultural District Committee must now submit a complete application to the Massachusetts Cultural Council for approval.

State lawmakers approved the initiative to create cultural districts across the state in 2010 and the program began in April 2011.

"We have an opportunity to blaze a trail," Councilor Tito Jackson, said at the City Council meeting. Jackson said designating the area will increase tourism, the fourth largest industry in the city, and bring revenue to the city.

"It's not about competition with one another, it's about all ships rising," he said.

The effort to has been spearheaded by the
 Fenway Alliance, a group of 21 neighborhood cultural and academic organizations, that created the Fenway Cultural District Committee and hopes to oversee the district.

"It's amazing when you see [representatives from these organizations] all in the same room together," said Councilor Michael Ross, who co-sponsored the resolution with Jackson. Ross added that the amount of artistic and cultural resources in the city was "on par with multimillion people city, easy."

The council's resolution did address
 concerns about community involvement.

The resolution said the proposed district would encourage participation by people with disabilities, as well as low income, minority, and immigrant residents. The sidewalks and pathways in the area must also be travelled on easily by people with disabilities and the elderly.

That means avoiding popular brick paths that are often bumpy or broken. The district's proposed overseers would also encourage residents and business owners from surrounding areas to participate in all aspects of the district



There’s a new culture district in town and it’s in the Fenway neighborhood! Last week, the Boston City Council announced its support for the neighborhood’s efforts to become the city’s first state-recognized cultural district.

Congratulations to the Fenway Alliance who spearheaded the effort. Boston can now look forward to more design, art, and cultural events in one of the busiest sections of the city!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


(Boylston, MA)—Governor Deval Patrick today announced $7.4 million in grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) to support building projects for nonprofit arts, heritage, and science organizations across the Commonwealth.

The new CFF investment will support repairs, improvements, and expansions for 54 cultural organizations that plan to invest nearly $275 million in their projects. Grants will range from $14,000 to $250,000. A full list of new grants can be found online.

“These grants will create new jobs in arts, culture, and tourism -- three pillars of our state’s creative economy,” said Governor Patrick. “These investments will support our cultural organizations and allow them to serve the public with quality programs that will enrich our communities for generations to come.”

CFF fuels a nonprofit creative sector that employs 27,100 people, spends $2.1 billion annually, and generates another $2.5 billion of economic activity across Massachusetts, according to a recent study by the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Organizations that received past CFF grants are spending more than $800 million on their building projects, and providing more than 11,000 building jobs, including architects, engineers, contractors, and construction workers. They also plan to add more than 1,150 new permanent jobs after their capital projects are complete.

CFF grants have also helped restore many of our nation’s most historic landmarks and treasures, which in turn have brought more cultural tourists to Massachusetts. In 2008 and 2009, more than 14 million people visited organizations receiving these grants; nearly one third came from out-of-state.

State Senator Stephen Brewer of Barre spoke about the value of CFF investments for one of those organizations in his Central Mass. district. “OldSturbridgeVillage has been a staple in the community for many years and is a driving force for visitors to the area,” said Brewer, who chairs the Senate Ways & Means Committee. “I applaud the Village for its hard work and the many improvements they have already made to make the visitor experience one to remember. The infrastructure improvements that will be made possible by this grant will ensure that the buildings, roads, and structures here will be preserved for generations of visitors to come.”

“We thank the Governor for his commitment to investing in our nonprofit cultural sector through CFF,” said Anita Walker, MCC Executive Director. “We are also grateful to Senator Brewer and his colleagues in the Legislature for providing the authority for these investments. Support for this program is strong because it is real economic stimulus for a sector that adds so much to our quality of life.”

“From Cape Cod to the Berkshires, investing in the Commonwealth’s cultural institutions makes economic sense,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “Working to maintain and improve these facilities will continue to draw visitors to Massachusetts and provide creative outlets and activities for residents. I thank Governor Patrick and the Legislature for their support of this program; MassDevelopment is pleased to partner with the Cultural Council on issuing these grants.”

About MCC
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is a state agency supporting the arts, humanities, and sciences to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts and its communities. The MCC pursues this mission through of grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. Learn more at

About MassDevelopment
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development authority, works with businesses, nonprofits, and local, state, and federal officials and agencies to create jobs, increase the number of housing units, eliminate blight, and address the overarching challenges that limit economic growth, such as transportation, energy, and other infrastructure deficiencies. Learn more at

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Very Special Thank You from the Director!

Thank you so much for your participation in the 10th Anniversary of Opening
Our Doors yesterday! The Day was a big success--we are still collecting
participant numbers but it may have been our biggest year ever.

The Day opened with the Boston Children's Chorus on the Plaza, followed Bob
Gittens who introduced Mayor Menino, then State Rep Byron Rushing, and Vice
Chair of the MCC Barbara Wallace Grossman. Two Berklee College
students--Eytan Nicholson and Vincent Sneed who created The Boston Song
performed it for us on the stage. The Kick-Off activities concluded with
the Happy Birthday Song led by Vincent Sneed, and then a huge children's
parade (led by the Hot Tamales Brass Band) around the Reflecting Pool.
Children picked up their free cupcake from the cupcake cake donated by Sara
Ross of Kickass Cupcakes Food Truck, and made their way to all other

Kelly Brilliant, Executive Director

Friday, October 7, 2011

Check out the FACES of the Fenway!

For today's post, we have a video clip for you to enjoy, we are gearing up for Monday's Opening Our Doors event, and will be back with all the latest news and Fenway cultural happenings on Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Executive Director, Kelly Brilliant, Interviews Hunter O'Hanian of the MassArt Foundation

By Kelly Brilliant, Executive Director, The Fenway Alliance

Photo by JWLensworks
Hunter O'Hanian is Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the MassArt Foundation. He and BWP Connector Kelly Brilliant dug into the concepts of design and the creative economy.

Kelly Brilliant: Richard Florida and others have popularized the concept of "the creative economy. " How would you define it, particularly for those who may be skeptical that it is just trendy economist jargon that exists more in theory than in reality?

Hunter O'Hanian: It is the real economic activity which is a direct result from creative endeavors. The range is quite large as it varies from artists in their studios in Boston’s South End to galleries on Newbury Street, to the 1,000+ employees at the Museum of Fine Arts to the thousands working in the design related companies throughout the state. There is virtually no economic sector which does not contribute to the creative economy. Grocery store chains, financial institutions, hospitals, and universities make up the largest employers in Massachusetts and each and every one of them use members of the creative economy to succeed in their business model.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy 10th Birthday to "Opening Our Doors" Arts and Cultural Festival

Posted by Elise Couture-Stone, Marketing & Development Associate, The Fenway Alliance

Image by Tania Ostorga
This is an exciting year as we are celebrating the 10th Birthday of "Opening Our Doors"! We will have a children's parade led by the music of the Hot Tamales--a live brass band--around the Reflecting Pool of the Christian Science Plaza where we host the Kick-Off on Monday, Oct 10 at 10 AM. Kick-Ass Cupcakes is donating a beautiful cupcake cake so that everyone attending the Kick-Off can help us celebrate. Boston Children's Chorus will begin the Day, and Berklee guys Eytan Nicholson (writer) and Vincent Sneed (performer) will be on hand for a rendition of their famous "So Good--the Boston Song" to get us all in the spirit. Oh, and we'll have lots of food trucks so people can grab a quick, delicious lunch on the run, so they don't have to miss a thing!  Take a look at the full list of activities and events going on this year, and don't miss out!
We here at the Fenway Alliance have been working diligently with our partners to bring the city this free arts festival, we really hope you can join us! One of our staff members will be riding a city bike from event to event, taking pictures and tweeting throughout the day, maybe you and your family will have a snapshot taken and posted on our website, Facebook and blog! 

See you there! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

ShiftBoston! Interviews Executive Director Kelly Brilliant:

By Elizabeth Tereshko, Editor, ShiftBoston! 

ShiftBoston: Can you tell us a bit more about the 'Opening Our Doors' event? What is happening and who are the key players involved?

Kelly Brilliant: I had the germ of the idea for Opening Our Doors when I took the position of Executive Director of the Fenway Alliance 11 years' ago.  I thought that we had such great cultural and artistic resources within the 21 member institutions of the Fenway Alliance (including the MFA, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston Conservatory, NEC, Berklee College of Music, BSO, Northeastern, etc.) that it was just natural to offer a free day of culture to the community.   I thought it was important that it be free to allow those who might not ordinarily participate due to costs concerns.

I remember what a positive impact it had in our community when Malcolm Rogers, Director of the MFA, opened up the Huntington Avenue entrance of the Museum about 11 year's ago-basically  the Museum's  front door--which had been shuttered for a number of years, prior.  I wanted to build on that spirit, and also build on a day that the Museum of Fine Arts had traditionally been open for free to the public--Monday, Columbus Day.  "Opening Our Doors" seemed like a fitting name for our event.   I crossed my fingers that the other the institutional members would get behind the idea.   And they did in a quantity and quality of artistic offerings that I couldn't have ever imagined.