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Uphams Corner receives $480,000 grant to spur cultural development

Posted by Patrick Rosso  June 13, 2012 09:51 AM

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A $480,000 grant will help Uphams Corner strengthen its cultural identify and improve planning initiatives around the Dorchester neighborhood.

The one-year grant, coordinated by the Boston Foundation, and provided by ArtPlace, a collaboration of national foundations, will be used to create a "culture economy," which includes outdoor markets and art installations around the historic Strand Theater on Columbia Road and the Uphams Corner Commuter Rail Stop on Dudley Street.

"We invested in the Strand Theatre because we recognized that it is an irreplaceable part of the city and its culture," Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement. "The Strand provides a place for the people of Uphams Corner and the City of Boston to come together for music and the arts, and this effort can strengthen the cultural identity of Uphams Corner and be a potential model for the City's work all along the Fairmount Line."

According to the city, the money and the Uphams Corner Initiative will be used as a pilot project to build upon the Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative, which will evaluate ways to increase development and traffic along the corridor.

To read more about the initiative, click here.

The Boston Foundation's involvement with the project includes its collaboration with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development, and the Mayor?s Office of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events, which currently manages the Strand.

"With a revitalized rail station, ethnic diversity, a growing arts scene and one of city's cultural gems in the Strand Theatre, Uphams Corner is a perfect setting to engage local residents, artists, businesses and community organizations in the design and creation of a cultural brand that highlights the vibrancy of the neighborhood," said Paul Grogan, president and CEO of the Boston Foundation in a statement.

In addition to the partnership between the city and the Boston Foundation the project also includes a variety of community partners including the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation, Uphams Corner Main Streets, and the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative.

"Community collaboration is a critical part of this place-making strategy," said John Barros, executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in a statement. "When you engage the neighborhood at multiple levels throughout the planning, and give the community ownership of the vision, you create something powerful and sustainable for the long term."

With the partners the city and the Boston Foundation will work with local communities and business to create a vision for the neighborhood with public art, markets, and "pop-up" exhibits in vacant store fronts.

Local groups will also be working with neighborhood based artists to help them grow their audience and portfolios.

"We have been making direct small business and start up loans for over 16 years, including to local artists," said Jeanne Du Bois, executive director of Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation in a statement. "The arts economy has proven to be a significant economic driver, and we hope to help these local arts businesses grow, find locations to rent or buy, and ultimately secure their future in their own community."

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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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