WBUR, has received a $1,000,000 grant from the Barr Foundation, the largest private foundation in New England and a significant funder of arts and creative expression. The grant supports the enrichment of arts and culture vertical The ARTery over a three year period, enabling WBUR to bring The ARTery to scale with comprehensive coverage that reflects Boston’s diverse arts and culture community.

Under the leadership of editor and critic-at-large Ed Siegel, The ARTery has grown to become a destination for Boston arts and culture. The ARTery reaches hundreds of thousands of people each week on-air through regular reports and special series like “Arts Forward.” The ARTery online publishes 500 stories a year which generate 1.6 million page views. The grant from the Barr Foundation will ensure the ARTery can expand its coverage and reach by delivering on a variety of new platforms and formats.

“We are extremely grateful to the Barr Foundation for its support,” said WBUR general manager Charlie Kravetz. “It is incredibly meaningful that Barr has chosen to support The ARTery and WBUR’s commitment to coverage of the arts, while other media outlets have reduced their coverage. This grant will enable us to expand and inspire a more diverse audience with the richness and character of the changing and evolving arts and culture scene.”

“WBUR and The ARTery have their finger on the pulse of the dynamic, diverse range of fresh and compelling art and creativity in Greater Boston and beyond,” said San San Wong, Barr Foundation Senior Program Officer for Arts and Creativity. “Combined with the intelligence of their journalism, commitment to next generation journalists, and embrace of new technological platforms, WBUR and The ARTery are poised to deepen how we understand and debate the potential of this vital sector.”

In 2015, The ARTery received the Commonwealth Award, given by the Massachusetts Cultural Council for “expanding quality coverage of arts and culture.” The ARTery site features many of the top regional arts writers and its posts often attract a viral audience that reaches well beyond Boston.

With the support of the Barr Foundation, The ARTery will expand its contributions to the strength of our region’s creative economy by driving greater participation in and support for local artists, organizations and institutions. The ARTery will increase its presence on the radio while adapting to meet shifting media consumption habits that rely more heavily on mobile devices and on-demand audio, and it will innovate to deliver quality content in new ways.

The grant will support:

  • Increased and Deliberate Focus on Community Arts: The ARTery’s multiplatform coverage will regularly extend to the community level, providing an opportunity to both reflect the diversity of Boston’s neighborhoods and expand its current audience.
  • Increased Audience Diversity: The ARTery aims to reach a younger and more ethnically and racially diverse audience through the content it covers and the platforms it shares it.
  • Cultivating and Mentoring the Next Generation of Arts Journalists: The ARTery will create a fellowship for future arts and culture journalists to support efforts to further diversify content and contributors.
  • Expanded On-Air and Online Content: The ARTery plans to invest in a second full-time arts reporter and increase its contributors in order to cover more arts and culture stories on-air and online.
  • Podcast and Video Development: The ARTery will go beyond the text-based model of online journalism by increasing video content and developing podcasts on arts and culture.
  • Greater Social Media Presence and Audience Engagement: The ARTery will increasingly use social media to broaden our online presence and engage in a dialogue with people about everything from our coverage to contributors’ arts and culture picks.
  • More Events and Enhanced Civic Discourse: The ARTery will coordinate more public events to highlight arts and culture issues and increase the dialogue across Boston’s artistic landscape.
  • Explore a Collaboration with an Arts Calendar and Convener: The ARTery will integrate a mobile-first arts and events solution in order to serve as a one-stop shop for artistic and cultural events and convenings throughout the city.


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