Boch Center

Funding Received: 2013
Boston, MA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 26, 2013

Featured in the evening news broadcast, the ArtWeek kick-off event on September 26 at the Citi Wang Theatre (shown above) featured live performances including xylophone music, Spanish opera, and modern dance. Among this group you will find Zoo New England, hotel partners, Boston Ballet, City of Boston Arts, Tourism, and Special Events representatives, a Spanish opera singer, teen artists, choreographers, and many of other sponsors including the Highland Street Foundation—just to name a few. These are the creative pioneers that made ArtWeek spectacular.

The last month has been a blur as the inaugural ArtWeek Boston was launched—ten days filled with amazing arts and creative experiences including wide spread media coverage and learning from things that worked and those that didn’t. As noted above, the kick-off event included remarks by the Mayor’s Director of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events and even made the evening news! It was the beginning of an amazing ten days of unique and memorable experiences for many.

Recent Wins
ArtWeek’s biggest win is that the launch of ArtWeek exceeded expectations. We were able to build awareness rapidly about ArtWeek as a bold new brand. Countless new partnerships were forged with local hotels, (e.g. W Boston, Revere) restaurants (e.g. Tavolo, Salvatore’s), city departments (i.e. Boston Redevelopment Agency), other area events (i.e. Boston Idea Week), and community partners (i.e. Artists for Humanity). Arts aficionados old and new participated in ArtWeek’s 50-plus events across Boston and were blown away by what they experienced. Many event hosts were inspired, excited, and encouraged by their ArtWeek participation; we are already getting inquiries about Spring ArtWeek.

Events: Several events had RSVPs in the 100s, resulting in limiting attendance and having Standing Room Only. Many of the organizers viewed their event as a success regardless of number of tickets sold (more than half of programs and events were free and open to the public) simply because it brought positive attention and feedback to their organization and partner(s). Here are personal first-hand highlights:

-- SoWa Artist Guild’s ‘Naked Art Live’ - where in-studio artists painted/sculpted while giving attendees access to personal journals, models, and other behind-the-scenes inspiration
-- A moving art and performance experience curated by VSA (Very Special Arts) centered on agoraphobia
-- A creative conversation session that spotlighted 14 cool creative ideas in 3-minute snippets
-- A lounge experience inspired by Hopper’s iconic Nighthawks piece that included an electric ‘pop-up’ modern dance performance
-- A library event that merged opera with zoo animals and a children’s chorus
-- A hotel/museum partnership that encouraged people to design their own public benches
-- An innovative 3-theatre progressive dinner highlighting the theatres’ vibrant history and theatrical lore

Media and Public Relations: Through highlights by local tourism websites, the City of Boston, and countless media outlets, ArtWeek coverage was amazing. Check out these terrific television segments from local media highlighting ArtWeek: WGBH, CityLine, and Chronicle. Additionally, print and online coverage crossed state lines, ArtWeek made the evening news on several nights, and we have just fielded an inquiry from international press.

Future: The success of the first ArtWeek Boston has already inspired exciting possibilities about the future of ArtWeek. Citi Center has had recent conversations with the Governor’s Creative Economy Office, the national performing arts center consortium, a location-based social media start-up, local colleges, and many others who attest to the extraordinary potential of ArtWeek and want to see it grow and succeed.

This first ArtWeek was a citywide experiment. While some events were overwhelming successes, others saw a more moderate response, and a few events were cancelled due to lack of interest. We are now collecting feedback through surveys and will be analyzing results to uncover shared success factors or common characteristics among the less popular events. Anecdotally, what did we learn? The arts patron of today truly values the unique, one-of-a-kind experiences that ArtWeek can offer—the most successful events truly provided an untraditional way to experience art, many which included audience participation and immersion. Event hosts and patrons alike appreciated the value of complimentary partnerships. Lastly, the event host needed a deliberate marketing effort to support that of ArtWeek to be a success. Experiences that targeted participants with a particular skill level (i.e. dance or singing), were multi-day or mid-day workweek events, and events that relied solely on ArtWeek marketing were less successful. Press clamored for photo and video resources to help promote individual events – but over 60% of the events were developed just for ArtWeek and therefore lacked the necessary visuals. Some events struggled with their community partners, while others have already expanded their relationships as a direct result of ArtWeek. What we DO know is that people are talking about ArtWeek. They are excited about what it was and are inspired by what it can become. Spring ArtWeek is just around the corner and we’ve already started planning and integrating lessons learned. Here’s to making each ArtWeek bigger and better!

Want to follow ArtWeek’s progress as we start planning for Spring (April 25 - May 4, 2014)? Connect with us at: