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Olmsted Now Parks Equity and Spatial Justice Grant

Committee of Neighborhoods

| 6 min read

Grant Submission Deadline: 11:59PM on May 27, 2022

Grant info sessions will be held via Zoom
May 9 6:00 – 7:30 pm
May 17 12:00 – 1:30 pm Register for an info session here.
Apply for the Olmsted Now Parks Equity & Spatial Justice Grant

The Committee of Neighborhoods, in partnership with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, has launched the Olmsted Now Parks Equity and Spatial Justice Grant. We are offering 5 grants at $20,000, 5 grants at $10,000 and 10 grants at $5,000. Each grant is intended to explore how we can turn the idea of “parks equity” into strategic action.

To that end, we invite unsung and/or emerging creatives and organizations, as well as well-known artistic voices, to animate green spaces. We are interested in both high-profile, high-trafficked park spaces and underutilized neighborhood green spaces, such as greenhouses and/or farms. The idea is to draw visibility to both site and artistry⁠—people and spaces that might invoke a new kind of energy around spatial justice in Boston, when given the resources strategically.

This grant is intended for artists, creatives, collectives, cultural organizers, organizations and local businesses who live and/or work in Boston. This said, we acknowledge that relationships to place are complicated, and that Black, Indigenous, people of color have been displaced and erased from the City of Boston over generations through forced removal and gentrification. We recognize and respect Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of the land, specifically the city of Boston, and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories. As such, if you or your collaborators are not located in the City of Boston, tell us in your application how you relate to Boston and what your project’s relationship is to the city and this history.

The selected projects/ events will be required to take place between July through October 2022. In addition to the financial support, the awardees will also receive assistance with permitting, operational and marketing support through the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, as well as mentorship.

GRANT CRITERIA:

(1) Local Boston, Massachusetts artist/ creative/ collective/ cultural organizer/ organization/ local business with strong community ties (If you or your collaborators are not located in the City of Boston, tell us in your application how you relate to Boston and what your project’s relationship is to the city)

(2) Equity: 
Focus on unsung and/or emerging artists/ creatives/ collectives/ cultural organizers/ organizations/ local businesses activating well known green spaces such as the Boston Commons, Franklin Park, and the Back Bay Fens

OR
Focus on underutilized parks and green spaces in local neighborhoods to be activated by seasoned, well-known artists/ creatives/ collectives/ cultural organizers/ organizations/ local businesses    

(ex: an artist with little to no notoriety with proven work ethic of 3-5 years, activating public spaces in an effort to engage and welcome community members, especially those systematically excluded, in well-known and widely frequented areas such as the Fenway or a well known organization like BAMS (Boston Art & Music Soul) Festival activating a small local park in a Dorchester Neighborhood with an afternoon performance)

(3) Place: Open to all green spaces in the city of Boston, with a focus on revitalizing under-utilized parks (green spaces can also include farms, green houses, etc.)

(4) Have a comprehensive plan for project execution (including timeline and budget)

NOTE: A minimum 20% of the budget is required to compensate the artist/ creative/ cultural organizer/ organization/ local business (ex. A project that seeks a $5,000 grant should total up to $4,000. The remaining $1,000 is compensation for the artist/ creative/ collective/ cultural organizer/ organization/ local business.)

(5) Events/Experiences: We are seeking a host of experiences which will be held in public parks and green spaces in Boston including but not limited to public art, musical events, workshops, storytelling, yoga and exercise, etc. to attract and engage Boston residents and beyond. The selected projects/ events will be required to take place between July through October 2022.

(6) Applicants are encouraged to attend an Olmsted Now Public Art and Spatial Justice Grant info session. Please contact Joelle Fontaine at Joelleds4si@gmail.com if you are unable to attend the scheduled times. Grant info sessions will be held May 9th at 6:00pm – 7:30pm and on May 17th at 12:00pm – 1:30pm via zoom. Please register here

RESOURCE: Check out the Boston Open Space Plan below for a list of local parks as possible locations for your proposal.

Boston Open Space Plan: https://www.boston.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/updating-seven-year-open-space-plan 

WHO IS THE COMMITTEE OF NEIGHBORHOODS

To orient bicentennial planning, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy commissioned Stephen Gray, Associate Professor at Harvard, and his firm Grayscale Collaborative to conduct an equity analysis and action plan. This foundation has guided Olmsted Now organizers to do more than “include” communities that have historically been structurally excluded from park decision-making in Greater Boston. The bicentennial has become the opportunity to recognize and affirm the power within neighborhoods to imagine new ways to experience and activate public space, and to re-center programming decisions where they need to be: in the community. 

The Committee of Neighborhoods was formed to achieve this. Comprised of intergenerational leaders
working around Franklin Park’s Roxbury, Grove Hall, Mattapan and Dorchester neighborhoods, the
Committee includes voices from youth and seniors, artists and educators, non-profit directors, as well
as community and small business organizers. Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI), Boston’s
experts in spatial justice and public-making, facilitates Committee member training in public-making
and spatial justice, effective requests for programming proposals, criteria for grant selection, grantee
cohort-building, event promotion, audience cultivation and authentic community feedback—all
through a cultural equity lens. DS4SI has guided the Committee of Neighborhoods to refine criteria to
distribute $200,000 in funding for community-generated bicentennial programs.

Current members of the Committee of Neighborhoods have been meeting since January 2022:
Andrew Sharpe, Authentic Caribbean Foundation
Anita Morson-Matra, Baldwin in the Park
Ambar Johnson, Livable Streets Alliance
Barrington Edwards, Artist
Biplaw Rai, Comfort Kitchen
Jay Lee, Franklin Park Coalition/ City of Boston
John Linehan, Franklin Park Zoo/ Greater Grove Hall Main Streets
Karenlyn Bunch, Greater Grove Hall Main Streets
Karen Young, Artist
Asiyah Herrera, 826 Boston
Nakia Hill, 826 Boston
Paul Willis, 826 Boston
Youth Literary Advisory Board, 826 Boston
Pat Spence, Urban Farming Institute
Shavel’le Olivier, Mattapan Food & Fitness
Kay Savage, Mattapan Food & Fitness

The $200,000 in programming funds has been raised by the “Come Together” Fund of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy Board of Directors and the larger Olmsted Now coalition and entrusted to the Committee of Neighborhoods. 


Grant Submission Deadline: 11:59PM on May 27, 2022

Apply for the Olmsted Now Parks Equity & Spatial Justice Grant

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