Developing and Preserving Artist Space in Boston

Since 2002, Artist Live/Work Boston has helped create live/work spaces and retain existing spaces for artists in the city. Space, location, and real estate are primary concerns for Boston artists. The initiative is a collaboration with other city agencies including the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, the Boston Planning & Development Agency, and the Department of Neighborhood Development. Artist Live/Work Boston is particularly interested in projects which create spaces that:

  • are permanently dedicated to artists,
  • are located in zones between industrial and residential neighborhoods in locations that do not support traditional family housing,
  • and offer live/work spaces or work-only spaces for rent and for purchase at a variety of prices.

Artists help make Boston a more livable city. Artists drive a vibrant ecosystem of festivals, public art, galleries, performance spaces, not-for-profits, youth arts programs, and pop-up retail. Artists also function as small businesses by providing creative economy jobs and services for Boston residents. The work and endeavors of local artists dramatically enhance the quality of neighborhoods for both the people who live there and people who visit.

In order to ensure that only artists occupy artist spaces, the BPDA has, in the past, overseen an artist certification process. As of the summer of 2016, this certification process has been taken over by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. Artists who are interested in becoming eligible to apply for live/work housing (rental and ownership) that requires artist certification can apply to be certified by a panel of peers. Information about this application process can be found at the Arts and Culture web site.

The BPDA continues to work with developers to create more artist housing, and monitors compliance of artist housing that has an income restriction. For information about these aspects of the Artist Live/Work program, please contact Lena Clark, Housing Compliance Assistant.