Supporting & Celebrating Community Through Arts Programming and Artistic Spaces

Supporting & Celebrating Community Through Arts Programming and Artistic Spaces

On July 20th and 21st, Plaza Betances will burst with life and activity, as Festival Betances kicks off another year of cultural celebration. As the Plaza fills with families, renowned musical performances, Latin food and drink, and traditional games, we’re reminded of how the arts and spaces dedicated to housing them play a critical role in the development of healthy, prosperous communities.

The arts are a major driver of economic activity in the U.S., having added $804.2B to the economy alone in 2016. Whether through increasing foot traffic or serving as a tool of urban revitalization, cultural performance and public art can both stimulate business and revive tired spaces. For instance, it’s been observed that regular event programming and festivals – much like Festival Betances – provide local businesses with an increased consumer base and encourage them to stay open longer to accommodate demand, bolstering economic engagement. Public art, such as murals, sculptures and creative lighting, can also be used to activate spaces that don’t reflect the vitality or potential of a particular community. Art installations, such as these, are an important community building tool that can boost the business of local artists, increase community and cultural pride, as well as refresh the appearance of depressed spaces (The Boston Globe).

The arts also have an unparalleled impact on enriching the lives of community members, particularly those of youth. Youth development and educational programs that integrate artistic expression, like IBA’s nationally acclaimed Youth Development program, have been shown to amplify critical life skills, including goal setting, creativity and self-expression, collaboration and discipline. Arts programming is also linked to improvements in students’ test scores, decreased drop-out rates and the increased likelihood of students pursuing higher education (The Atlantic), reinforcing the relationship between the arts and educational fulfillment, upwards mobility and empowerment.

Spaces that house performance and expression are critical to building stronger, healthier communities, providing opportunities for people to gather, explore, express and create. At IBA, we are incredibly proud of the spaces, performances and celebrations we offer that bring together residents from all backgrounds and grant visibility to a diversity of experiences and perspectives. As we continue to envision the future and possibilities of Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, we remain dedicated to maintaining our arts programming throughout the city and exploring the potential of creating an even more inclusive, multifunctional and engaging space.

As Boston's Latino arts hub, we are proud to support self-expression and cultural enrichment, while also working to develop housing opportunities for low-income households and minority residents in the city. For more information on how you can support IBA, please visit our page: