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Boston Artists-in-Residence (AIR)

Artists in our residency program partner with City departments. Together, they re-imagine a more creative and equitable Boston.

In the program, we bring together artists and City employees that share deep investments in community and social justice. The artists bring artistic expertise and experience with creative approaches. Our City partners provide subject matter expertise and experience with existing City systems. Artists learn more about government, while City departments learn about creative problem solving. They co-design projects that test new approaches to City policies and processes. They explore how City initiatives impact the experience of all Bostonians. Projects are often responsive to the social and political context of that year.

About the program

Through Boston AIR, artists work with City of Boston partners to strengthen City initiatives.

Continuity Funds

The Boston AIR Continuity Fund aims to maintain the work begun during the AIR residency, and to continue supporting the intended outcomes of the residency. We are excited to continue our support of seven AIR projects through this fund for a total of $69,300.

Many of the Continuity Fund recipients hope to broaden the reach and impact of their AIR projects. For example:

  • Heloiza Barbosa plans to work with community partners to produce listening events for the audio stories produced during her residency.
  • Jaronzie Harris plans to create a video of the play produced during her residency and to explore the opportunity for a tour of the show.
  • Lily Xie plans to fund the hotline created during her residency for an additional two years, develop a zine with her City Partner, and pay for a community-engaged design training for BPDA Planning staff and community partners.
Program History

Since 2015, Boston AIR has been dedicated to integrating arts and culture into all aspects of civic life by supporting collaborations between artists and municipalities. Through the past four cohorts, the program has:

  • invited 25 diverse artists into the City, and
  • worked with over a dozen City departments and agencies.

Artists and City partners have co-designed dynamic projects. They work to support the efforts of City departments and better serve Boston’s communities.

AIRs have used their residencies to examine how art can help reimagine a more equitable Boston. Through AIR, a textile artist has led workshops with women in recovery. A filmmaker addressed mass incarceration through fathers’ lullabies. Last year, a writer and organizer facilitated a youth-led campaign for a mental health block at Boston Latin Academy.

Read the Boston AIR evaluation

Listen to the podcast

Former AIRs

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