Thank You For a Wonderful, Grubby 2019
From over forty-nine books publications to value engineering our new space at 50 Liberty, GrubStreet’s Founder & Executive Director, Eve Bridburg, shares GrubStreet’s highlights and new developments from 2019.
Most Mondays of 2019 found me in our new space at 50 Liberty. Sitting on wobbly chairs around a folding table with architects, project managers and my teammates, I pored over timelines, floorplans, design sets, and budgets. Some days were exciting, others were difficult. But even on the tougher days, sitting in that raw space, with views of barges slowly floating beneath the horizon, I couldn’t help but feel thrilled by the promise of our new home.
If you want to see the view I’m talking about and the entire raw space, check out our video from the first public preview:
2019 has been an epic year on so many fronts. GrubStreet has made great strides toward our leap to the waterfront, including:
Design: With Merge Architects, we completed the design for our new home which will include classrooms, a community lounge with ridiculously beautiful views, a podcast studio, a cafe, a bookstore and a stage!
Vision: With our branding firm Catapult Thinking, we articulated an exciting vision for the future and created a new look and feel, including a new logo and color scheme to be revealed in 2020. Stay tuned.
Capital Campaign: With board members and volunteers, we raised significant money toward the early leadership giving phase of our ambitious capital campaign. To date, we had more individual meetings than we can count and have written twelve proposals and letters of inquiry to institutional donors. So far, we have received generous support from sixty-three individual donors and six foundations and corporations.
While this project has been all consuming, it didn’t stop our talented and hard-working programs team from piloting new programs. A small sampling includes:
Working in the Arts (WITA) Fellowship: The WITA Fellowship was created to help prepare our YAWP students for future success. This year, four YAWPers (high school and college-aged) worked at Grub in paid fellowships over the summer designed to provide mentorship, teaching assistant experience, and insight into how arts organizations operate. Our first class of WITA fellows were Unglid Paul, Sarah Gordon, Jola Laguda, and Edozie Umunna.
Scholarships: We doubled our scholarship funds for the Muse and the Marketplace this year, giving out $10,000 in scholarships for writers needing financial assistance, writers of color, writers living with a disability, LGBTQ writers, writers from a non-traditional educational background, writers living outside of Massachusetts, Write Down the Street students, and “literary citizen” scholarships to writers who do excellent work to support other writers.
Submit-A-Thons: The Write Down the Street program held two submit-a-thon events at the Mattapan and Egleston Square libraries giving all writers in our community the opportunity to participate in Boston's first ever Boston in 100 Words story contest. The Boston Writers of Color group kicked off the year with a submit-a-thon of their own in Chinatown.
Speaking of submitting, this was an epic year for the GrubStreet community in terms of getting our stories, voices and perspectives out into the world. Our community launched an eye-popping forty-nine books this year and published essays and stories in publications such as the New York Times, TinHouse online, the Massachusetts Review, WBUR, Catapult, Columbia Journal, Solstice Literary Magazine, and many, many more.
Writing and bringing a book or essay to market takes discipline and hard work. Some days are thrilling, others are tough. It's not unlike the work that goes into building new programs or building this new creative writing center. I want to thank our incredible instructors, staff, and board as well as all of you for rolling up your sleeves with us this past year, working hard on Mondays and every other day. Thank you for writing with us, piloting new programs with us, celebrating the publishing success of your peers, dreaming up the future with us, and donating generously to our efforts to include all writers in everything we do. We wouldn’t be who we are without your talent, commitment, spirit, and open-hearted generosity.
Here’s to another epic and literary year in 2020.
With deep gratitude and admiration,
Eve Bridburg is the Founder and Executive Director of GrubStreet. Under her leadership, the organization has grown into a national literary powerhouse known for artistic excellence, working to democratize the publishing pipeline and program innovation. An active partner to the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, Eve was the driving force behind establishing the country’s first Literary Cultural District in downtown Boston and securing chapter 91 space in the Seaport to build a creative writing center. The Barr Foundation recently named her a 2019 Barr Fellow in recognition of her leadership. 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 the future of publishing, what it takes to build a literary arts center, and the intersection of arts and civics at numerous local and national conferences. 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 serves on the Advisory Board of The Loop Lab, a new Cambridge-based nonprofit dedicated to increasing representation in the Media Arts. 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.See other articles by Eve Bridburg