How Six Local Art Colleges Are Using Barr Foundation Money to Collaborate More Closely

Although many major universities offer degree programs in the arts, many aspiring artists find themselves more at home at traditional art-focused colleges. Six art-focused colleges in Boston are part of the Professional Arts Consortium (ProArts), which is dedicated to visual and performing arts in Boston. The Barr Foundation, which devotes about 12% of its grantmaking budget to arts organizations, recently awarded a $140,000 grant to the ProArts Consortium (Read: Barr Foundation: Boston Area Grants).

The six recipient schools are Berklee College of Music, Emerson College, Boston Architectural College, The Boston Conservatory, Massachusetts College of Art, and The Boston Conservatory. With this grant money, the schools will collaborate more closely with each other to host cross-institution workshops and exercises. This means trumpet majors can take jazz dance classes and painting majors can explore the world of architecture for the first time, giving students a broader perspective about the purpose and application of art in the modern world.

“These schools are quite the extraordinary collection of creative equity with boundless potential of where you can go,” said Ross Bresler, Executive Director of Emerson College. “I feel that all of our schools are committed to making the experience in Boston for the creation of art to be as dynamic as possible.”

Even though Arts & Culture grants account for a relatively small part of the Barr Foundation's grantmaking budget, they're still significant, given the foundation's $1.3 billion in assets. Approximately 67% of Barr arts money goes to major and midsized institutions, with 33% remaining for youth arts programs like this one. Institutions of higher education, like these six art colleges, are lumped together with K-12 schools in Barr's “Nurturing the Next Generation of Artists and Art Lovers” program focus area.

Other recent grant recipients in this area include the Boston City Singers, Artists for Humanity, Sociedad Latina, and The Theater Offensive. The best way to introduce your arts education program to Barr is by filling out the foundation's online inquiry form, which simply asks you to describe your funding opportunity and an overview of your organization in 500 characters or less.