Building Community with the Arts

Building Community with the Arts

Throughout the pandemic, we have felt the loss of live art performances and in-person events. Museum and art exhibitions, concert venues, and performing artists have all suffered as a result of not being able to hold performances or showcase artwork in a physical space in front of key audiences. However, through these restrictions, we adapted and evolved, finding new ways to build and unite a community virtually – further highlighting the true power the arts hold in bringing people together.

Here at IBA, we believe the arts can break down barriers, as well as create a shared understanding and respect between those with differing backgrounds. We have long committed and tailored our arts programming to uplift the voices and culture of the Latino community. Here are some of the ways through which IBA has built community here in Boston through the arts:

  • Festival Betances: IBA’s Festival Betances celebrates the history, food, music, arts and culture of the Latino community in Massachusetts and across the Puerto Rican diaspora. Every year, the festival enjoys significant success, drawing an average annual turnout of 3,000 up until 2019 when the event was last held in person. Even with the challenges of the pandemic and the need to shift to a virtual setting for the festival, online viewership of the festival’s musical guests still attracted a global audience of over 85,000 worldwide – demonstrating music’s ability to bring joy into our lives, unify our differences, and serve as an expression of a culture’s richness and complexities, even with the constraints of being physically apart. It is in this spirit that we are excited to share that Festival Betances will be held in-person this year on July 16. Mark your calendars!
  • Plantando Bandera: In the fall of 2021, IBA organized the painting of a Puerto Rican flag mural outside of Plaza Betances in partnership with the restaurant Vejigantes. Created by artist Héctor Collazo, this flag recognizes Villa Victoria’s Puerto Rican community through symbolizing the culture’s heritage and pride. Visual arts such as this hold significant meaning for the Puerto Rican community by bringing a piece of the island to Boston and by exuding a sense of cultural pride to all who visit and observe the mural.
  • Arts Education: IBA’s Preschool, Youth Development, and Resident Services Programs provide arts education to those who participate. Various workshops and classes encourage imaginative thinking and creative self-expression. This is a crucial aspect of community building – finding creative ways to communicate with those around us through articulating one’s world view, lived experiences and hopes for the future.

The arts continue to create space in our communities for creativity, dialogue, and sharing. Engaging in and supporting activities like visual arts, dance, community festivals, and others allow us to immerse ourselves and connect with each other in meaningful, unique ways. We understand the crucial role the arts play in our everyday lives and we look forward to continuing to expand and engage with the IBA community through these efforts.

For more information about past and upcoming events visit our website.