The Maverick Landing Community Services program has been picked as one of twelve Boston-area organizations to receive funding from The Boston Foundation and the Barr Foundation to begin a new phase of Culture for Change. The program, originally piloted in 2008 by the Barr Foundation, is a unique approach to out-of-school time youth development.
The program at Maverick Landing will center on a partnership between professional artists and youth workers. The Culture for Change program will enable youth at Maverick Landing to build fluency in an art form while exploring and taking leadership on issues of racial justice that are of importance to them.
“Culture and the arts are powerful forces for understanding and addressing social issues,” said Senior Program Officer at the Boston Foundation, F. Javier Torres. The Boston Foundation will administer the initiative. “We are thrilled to partner with Maverick Landing Community services because of their tremendous capacity to work with artists and young people as they engage community, build cross-cultural relationships and spark civic dialogue. Their dedication and leadership will support young people as powerful agents of change within the city.”
In years past in Eastie, Culture for Change has paired youth workers and professional artists in an effort to give youth here ages 15 to 21 a level of fluency in an artistic discipline, such as theater, music, or even DJ-ing. This includes an understanding of the history of the art form–especially in relation to one’s own ethnic or cultural heritage, command of core technique, and the ability to reinterpret both based on life experiences. Eastie youth then use this artistic training as a vehicle for effective cultural expression. “This encourages the creativity, critical thinking, respect, and awareness of self and others needed to bridge cultural and racial inequities,” said Torres.
This year, the Barr Foundation partnered with the Boston Foundation to implement the next phase of the program, engaging a broad cross-section of Boston youth ages 15 to 21 who have few opportunities to access culturally rooted artistic programs and who are eager to explore issues of racial justice.
Maverick Landing has received funding in previous grant cycles. They were selected based on their past work with Culture for Change, their organizational learning culture and community accountability models, and with an eye toward building a cohort that was diverse in terms of organizational size, location, and population served.