Mayor Martin Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture in collaboration with the Boston Cultural Council (BCC) and the Mass Cultural Council announced the Veronica Robles Cultural Center (VRCC) was one of 181 Boston arts organizations that will share $472,955 in 2018 Boston Cultural Council organizational grants.
The City of Boston contributed $300,000 in funding and Mass Cultural Council contributed over $170,000 to the Boston Cultural Council.
Veronica Robles is a cultural ambassador, educator and longtime community activist, who immigrated from Mexico in 2000. Mayor Walsh appointed Robles to serve on the leadership council for Boston Creates, the cultural plan for the City.
Veronica Robles, who runs the Cultural Center said, “I am so happy and I want to share this with all of you. I was approved to receive the opportunity grant from Boston Cultural Council, a local agency which is funded by the Mass Cultural Council and administered by Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture Boston to support my career as an artist this year.”
Aside from running cultural community programming throughout the year, Robles introduced the ‘Dancing Elotes’ experience to the annual East Boston Farmers Market two years ago to rave reviews.
The project includes a bike-cart selling elotes, traditionally prepared corn served on the streets in Mexico, as a literal and conceptual vehicle for cross-cultural culinary, and dance at the Farmers Market.
For the past two summers, shoppers at the Farmers Market were invited to help decorate a sculpture that was a symbol of peace and unity in the community.
Through the program Robles is also able to provide summer jobs for Eastie youth. The youths are responsible for making, preparing and selling the corn at each Farmers Market. The youth workers ride the traditional elotes bike into the Farmers Market where a line usually immediately forms. The youth workers dress the corn with special sauces and seasoning.
“VROCC has empowered the youth in East Boston by employing them and teaching them about their roots and culture through this cultural initiative and they have effectively utilized the power of the arts and culture to bring the community together by raising awareness on the importance of diversity,” said Director of the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement Alejandra St. Guillen.
Last year, Mayor Walsh joined the city’s Office of Immigrant Advancement to unveil the new mural on Paris Street just before Meridian Street.
The mural, completed by the city’s Mural Crew is on the Paris Street side of Dr. Dental and features Robles along with the late Carmello Scire of Carlo’s Catering.
“This is an exciting time for the City of Boston because we are investing in organizations and projects that have the potential to enhance Boston’s arts and culture community,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m looking forward to seeing how these organizations use art to unite, lift up and inspire Boston’s communities.”
Robles applied for funding through a competitive process and was selected based on their potential to enhance the quality of life, the economy and the design of Eastie, as well as advancing the goals of the BCC Cultural Plan.
Robles and other applicants were required to show how they plan to help grow access to the arts in areas not already well served by cultural opportunities, foster access to the arts for populations who don’t typically have access to the arts, elevate the work of Boston’s creatives, inspire the creation of new works, and support the achievement and provision of excellent, high quality arts and culture in the City of Boston.
The BCC received 208 applications for this year’s grant program.
“The Boston Creates planning process led us to realize the disparity of arts opportunities across the various neighborhoods of Boston,” said the city’s Chief of Arts and Culture Julie Burros. “By investing in arts organizations across the City, we’re a partner in their success and we’re helping to expand access to arts opportunities in every community.”