You Can Make a Difference: Support the Narrative Arts Center

GrubStreet dreams of a literary future for Boston, one in which all Bostonians have access to the narrative arts. In partnership with Harvard Book Store and Mass Poetry, we have a great chance of securing a bid to create a dynamic, inclusive, and fully accessible Narrative Arts Center in Boston's Seaport, one that showcases, celebrates, and supports writers at all stages and from all backgrounds. In two minutes, you can help us realize that dream. GrubStreet's Founder and Executive Director, Eve Bridburg, explains how.

 

 

GrubStreet has been dreaming of building a Narrative Arts Center with partners in Boston since 2014—the year we learned that our building at 162 Boylston Street was changing hands and that soon we’d need a new home. In the years since, we’ve explored our options: basement space in Brighton with few windows and low ceilings, deserted headquarters in South Boston—affordable but only available for two short years—and old brick buildings, down on their heels, with potential if only we could raise upwards of 8 million dollars.

 

In searching and dreaming we learned a few things. The first is this: staying in Boston will be impossible without support from the city. But we also began to see the promise of a Narrative Arts Center, a place where the literary arts in Boston could make a deep impact on city life at large. Take a look at our full vision here.

 

For these reasons, we jumped at the opportunity to bid on 13,000 square feet of city-designated cultural use space in the Seaport. Being awarded the space will mean we can stay in Boston and build the city’s first Narrative Arts Center in partnership with the Harvard Book Store and Mass Poetry. The Narrative Arts Center we’re envisioning will include a branch of the Harvard Book Store, a writers’ stage, a cafe, community space, a podcasting studio, and expanded space for creative writing classes.

 

As you know, we are committed to making sure artistic education is available to everyone—especially those who have been marginalized. We serve a racially and economically diverse community made up of people from every neighborhood of Boston and beyond. We believe a new narrative arts center will widen and deepen GrubStreet’s artistic, civic, and community impact, allowing us to reach more students of every age, from every community and income, and to increase opportunities for everyone to participate and be heard.

 

In the new center, we will continue to do what we do best and what is deeply needed in our times: bringing people together across difference to better understand one another and the world. In the words of two grubbies who wrote letters to the city in support of our center:

 

Boston’s voices—all of them—come alive through GrubStreet. We hear each other and we meet each other through our writing.  

 

A Narrative Arts Center will, quite literally, change the face of Boston. Everyone deserves the

opportunity to tell their story and we, as a city, must hear them. This dedicated group of writers

and teachers provides education and support to those who need it the most.

 

I’m writing today to ask you to join us in advocating for GrubStreet. This is a hugely significant moment in our history and we need your support. We have an excellent chance of winning our bid to create an exciting, diverse, inclusive narrative arts center for Boston, but we need to make sure that the city hears from writers and readers and everyone in the broader community who understands the power of narrative to connect us. Whether you live in Boston or Chicago, your voice matters.

 

You can help us build the city’s literary future by making your voice heard. These two actions will take you two minutes, but their impact could be huge:

 

One: Sign our petition on Change.org.

 

Two: Use this handy template to send an email to Richard McGuinness (Richard.McGuinness@Boston.gov) and Myrna Putziger (mputziger@falloncompany.com), and let them know that Boston needs a Narrative Arts Center in the Seaport.

 

 

Thank you for your support.

About the Author

Eve Bridburg is the Founder and Executive Director of GrubStreet. Under her leadership, the organization has grown into a national literary powerhouse by expanding offerings to better educate and equip writers in the digital age, launching new, innovative programming for advanced students, and significantly expanding scholarship opportunities to ensure access. Eve curated GrubStreet’s NEA-funded Publish it Forward lecture series and our innovative Launch Lab, led GrubStreet’s Diversity Task force, laying the foundation for GrubStreet’s next chapter, and was the driving force behind establishing the country’s first Literary Cultural District in downtown Boston. Eve’s work has been recognized by Boston Magazine, who named her one of Boston’s 50 most powerful women in 2010, and by ​BostInno Magazine who gave her their 2014 Arts and Entertainment Award for driving innovation in Boston. Having graduated from its inaugural class, Eve remains active with the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, a consortium of 200 of the world’s top cultural leaders, which addresses the critical issues that face the arts and cultural sector worldwide. Eve has presented on publishing, the future of publishing, and on what it takes to build a literary arts center at numerous conferences, including AWP, O’Reilly’s Tools of Change, GrubStreet’s own The Muse and the Marketplace, Whidbey Island Writers Conference, The Sanibel Island Writers Conference, and Writers at Work. Her essays and op-eds on publishing, the role of creative writing centers and the importance of the narrative arts have appeared in The Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Cognoscenti, Writer's Digest and TinHouse.  Eve worked as a literary agent at The Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency for five happy years where she developed, edited, and sold a wide variety of books to major publishers. Before starting GrubStreet, she attended Boston University’s Writing program on a teaching fellowship, farmed in Oregon, and ran an international bookstore in Prague.

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