Arts for All, Boston Community, Classical, Dance, Neighborhood Arts, News, Public Performance


Celebrity Series is proud to announce that the organization has been awarded a $600,000 grant from the Barr Foundation. The grant award covers 30 months of activity to support artistically innovative programming,  deepen community engagement initiatives and upgrade our website.

Gary Dunning, President and Executive Director of the Celebrity Series, noted, “We are thrilled to receive this significant award from the Barr Foundation. This investment will catalyze artistic innovation and growth on concert stages, in our community collaborations, and in our work in the public realm. We are deeply grateful to the Barr Foundation for this meaningful vote of confidence in our work.”

Mixcla, Stave Sessions 2016

“Celebrity Series has a bold vision to increase the range of adventuresome programming,” said San San Wong, senior program officer for Arts & Creativity at the Barr Foundation. “Distinguished national and international artists who are masters, emergent talents and risk-takers from across disciplines and cultural practices, will advance more exciting and dynamic spectrum of cultural offerings for Greater Boston’s audiences and communities.”

Since Celebrity Series’ founding in 1938, over 300 world renowned artists, ensembles, orchestras and dance companies have given their Boston debut on a Celebrity Series stage. Many early career artists who have gone on to major success have been debuted in Boston by the organization, and performances that mix genres and media, represent diverse cultural perspectives, and work in more contemporary aesthetics represent a core part of the annual programming. Initiatives such as the Debut Series, launched in 2012, and Stave Sessions, launched in 2014, present emerging artists in classical and contemporary music, and often introduce audiences to new works and the next generation of performing artists.

Amy Lam, Celebrity Series Artistic Programmer, says, “This award from the Barr Foundation is game-changing for the organization. It will enable us to move forward boldly on the programming front, allowing us to undertake new and innovative initiatives that we weren’t able to do in the past.”

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater master class at Boston Arts Academy, 2016

Alongside mainstage performances, Celebrity Series’ Arts for All! community engagement programs connect a dynamic network of hundreds of community collaborators, reaching thousands of individuals annually, through more than 100 public activities, including interactive workshops for youth and free community concerts in six Boston neighborhoods, master classes with mainstage artists in public schools and conservatories, free and discounted tickets to mainstage performances, and large-scale, public participatory performance projects such as Street Pianos and Let’s Dance Boston.

Robin Baker, Senior Manager of Community Engagement, added, “The Barr Foundation’s support will give us the means to bring Boston-based and world renowned artists to community settings that are natural gathering spots within local neighborhoods. We are excited for this opportunity to deepen artistic and community collaborations, fueling participation in the arts across the city and helping us realize our vision of Arts for All!” 

Vertigo Dance Company, 2016

Shaw Pong Liu and Sandeep Das at Dorchester Stringfest 2016

Tara Erraught and Henning Ruhe, Debut Series 2016

Photos by Robert Torres

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