City Awards $500,000 in Workforce Development Contracts for Artists and Creative Workers

Through American Rescue Plan Act funding, Mayor Michelle Wu announced last week the city has awarded $500,000 in workforce development contracts for artists and creative workers, including East Boston’s Veronica Robles Cultural Center (VRCC).

Wu and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture announced the VRCC was one of 12 individuals and organizations that will get funding to provide technical assistance, professional development, and workforce development services to Boston artists and creative workers.

“This program will allow us to bring valuable professional development services and resources to a section of our workforce that has been extremely hard hit by COVID-19, yet has continued to positively impact our communities with their work,” said Mayor Wu. “We look forward to continuing to invest in new ways to support artists and creatives so that they can fully thrive in this city.”

Veronica Robles, who will host two professional development bootcamp predominately for Latinx and immigrant artists and creatives, and a showcase that will allow a cohort of artists to present their work to presenting organizations and cultural institutions in and around Boston.

“Artists and creative workers are essential to the City’s recovery and a key aspect of our creative economy,” said Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston Kara Elliott-Ortega. “We’re excited to be able to remove some of the barriers that this community faces when it comes to creating and sharing their work, and looking forward to hiring creative workers and creative small businesses to provide these services.”

Wu said the City’s goals for this program included contracting with individuals and organizations that: are able to assist artists who live and work in Boston further develop their careers through direct services and workshops that are culturally responsive; work toward creating a stronger creative economy in Boston while artists continue to recover from and adapt to COVID-19 and its impacts on our local creative economy; work with artists within multiple artistic disciplines, and; work with artists in Boston with various accessibility needs.

Wu said the city prioritized Boston neighborhoods, like Eastie, hit hardest by the pandemic with the new funding. A priority was also placed on services that are tailored to support artists and creative workers from demographics that saw the most economic impact due to COVID-19, including women, people of color, immigrants, artists who have lower levels of education, artists who identify as LGBTQIAP+.

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