BOSTON -Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, along with the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) and The Fallon Company, announced that GrubStreet has been selected to operate 13,166 square feet of civic/cultural space at 50 Liberty at Fan Pier on the South Boston Waterfront.
GrubStreet, the largest creative writing center in the country, will create a literary destination with year-round programming to serve a wide range of residents from across Boston and the region. By agreement of the BPDA and 50 Liberty LLC, an affiliate of The Fallon Company, GrubStreet will receive a $25 per square foot construction allowance — totaling $329,150 toward improvements to the space.
In addition, Cross Cultural Collective (C3), a black arts collaborative that elevates, celebrates, and promotes African diasporic arts and their creators in Boston, has been conditionally selected by the Mayor’s Office, BPDA and W/S Development to operate a space designated for civic and cultural use on the South Boston Waterfront. The designation of this space is contingent upon reaching specific planning milestones set out by The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture in consultation with C3. The City of Boston has offered to support C3 with $150,000 in technical assistance over the next two years, as it builds capacity and resources in preparation to operate a cultural space.
“Both GrubStreet and C3 will bring innovative cultural destinations to our waterfront that will create access to new opportunities for Boston’s residents and visitors,” said Mayor Walsh. “The work of these organizations will help fulfill our mission to create a diverse, welcoming Seaport for all.”
GrubStreet plans to build a narrative arts center at 50 Liberty featuring a bookstore, cafe and community space for writers, a podcast studio, as well as classrooms to expand GrubStreet’s workshops. It will also feature an event space for readings, slam poetry, storytelling events, and shows that combine words with music and dance. GrubStreet serves students of all ages and backgrounds through classes in their current downtown location, as well as in neighborhoods including Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, and East Boston. This new location will allow the non-profit organization to expand its programming and activate a space for collaboration by students of all ages and backgrounds.
“We’re grateful to the city for recognizing the importance of storytelling, writing, and reading to our culture. We look forward to this exciting leap forward and to building a dynamic new site for literary and cultural creation and gathering,” said Eve Bridburg, GrubStreet’s Founder and Executive Director.
“As an innovative leader in its category, with a strong reputation for transforming the local writing community and contributing to the national literary conversation, GrubStreet is a welcome addition to Fan Pier,” said Joseph F. Fallon, President & CEO of The Fallon Company. “We look forward to the launch of the new narrative arts center at 50 Liberty, which will support the civic and cultural community in the neighborhood and the City.”
C3 plans to create a multipurpose center for arts and cultures of the African Diaspora with programming and resources for artists of the diaspora. C3 is currently in negotiation with the City about occupying a 5,000 square foot space. The $150,000 in technical assistance from the City of Boston will support the formation of a non profit entity, completion of an organization/strategic plan, completion of a space development/facilities plan, completion of a fundraising plan, and progress made toward fundraising goals.
“We very much look forward to holding future talks with the City as we continue to shape and build our Collective, our vision, and physical center for African diasporic arts on the water’s edge,” said Ashleigh Gordon, member of C3. “We are excited for what’s to come and what we are able to accomplish with the City’s support.”
The selection of GrubStreet and C3 follows a public and transparent process to select civic or cultural users to activate available spaces in ways that serve a diverse population. Following the release of a Request for Ideas (RFI) in January 2018, the BPDA received eight proposals, and in April hosted an open house where the top four respondents presented their proposals to the public. The selection process is modeled after an effort completed in 2015 when the Society of Arts and Crafts was selected as operator of similar space provided at Pier 4.
The selection committee represented multiple departments across the City and considered criteria including public comment letters, the ability of the respondent to create a welcoming space that serves a diverse population, and access to the financial resources to build-out and operate space year-round.
The announcement builds on Mayor Walsh’s Boston Creates Cultural Plan, a ten-year city initiative designed to align public and private resources to strengthen cultural vitality over the long-term, and weave arts and culture into the fabric of everyday life. Since the launch of Boston Creates in 2016, Mayor Walsh has committed to leading the implementation of the plan by building City resources for arts and culture and creating the necessary partnerships to address the critical needs identified through the planning process. The full cultural plan can be found online at http://plan.bostoncreates.org.
50 Liberty is a residential condominium building with 120 residential units and retail, restaurant and civic/cultural space on Fan Pier on the South Boston Waterfront. The civic/cultural space consists of 5,000 square feet on the southeast corner of the first floor of the building, with the remaining square footage on the second floor.