BPDA selects Toussaint Louverture Cultural Center to operate tenant space on Lovejoy Wharf
Sep 20, 2023
Haitian organization will host a visitor’s center
The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) today announced the selection of Toussaint Louverture Cultural Center (TLCC) to operate the program space located at 131 Beverly Street on Lovejoy Wharf. The BPDA sought respondents that were qualified to operate civic/cultural space, which is designed as a visitor’s center-style facility. The TLCC responded to the Request for Letters of Interest (RFI) that was originally released by the BPDA last winter, with their proposal to use the space for Haitian-based programs, partners, and communities.
“We can’t wait for TLCC to breathe new life into this space and be a new focal point for the area,” said Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison. “I want to thank our partners in the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture for their collaboration on finding the right tenant for this space, and I look forward to seeing the end result.”
This organization will serve first and foremost as a visitor’s center in the West End neighborhood. They will also offer author talks, adult and youth-focused classes on Haitian art and painting, gallery and display exhibits, a cultural library focused on Haitian print and digital materials, books, resources, and music, as well as a café, and additional events such as dance classes, language classes, and youth programming. The establishment of a central cultural hub will allow the Haitian culture and people of Boston to flourish. Programs and events will celebrate Haitian culture and have an educational component that invites multi-generational and cultural communities to learn and celebrate Haitian culture.
“We are proud to establish a cultural center in the West End that will not only showcase our heritage and our achievements, but also create a visually striking and vibrant space to foster a sense of community and cultural diversity that is representative of Boston’s rich history,” said Marvin Dee Mathelier, chair of the Toussaint Louverture Cultural Center Task Force.
Representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC) partnered with the BPDA in the issuance of the RFI, the evaluation of the proposals received, and the public meeting and comment process. MOAC remains active in the considerations for future spaces like these that are made available through Chapter 91 Facilities of Public Accommodation. MOAC is coordinating with the BPDA and a consultant on the Waterfront Civic/Cultural Space Planning Study which will examine the delivery conditions of spaces like this as well as the public tenanting process to ensure that all potential users have equal access to these opportunities.
“We are so pleased that TLCC will be celebrating the rich and vibrant culture of the Haitian diaspora in this new space,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts & Culture. “Approaching cultural space tenanting with intention allows us to create opportunities for local creative and cultural communities to gather, create, and thrive in Boston.”
“I am thrilled that, after years of dedicated organizing and advocacy, the Toussaint Louverture Cultural Center (TLCC) has finally found a home in the thriving West End, at Lovejoy Wharf,” said City Councilor Ruthzee Louijeane. “This is a fantastic opportunity not only to support Boston’s Haitian community but to ensure that the West End continues to embrace the rich diversity we see across the city. I am excited about the potential for collaboration between Lovejoy and the TLCC and look forward to continuing to support this project in the years ahead.”
“MassDEP’s Chapter 91 law promotes public access to coastlines and waterfronts so all can enjoy these public spaces,” said Commissioner Bonnie Heiple of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. “We are delighted to partner with the City of Boston and the Toussaint Louverture Cultural Center to help further activate the Commonwealth Tidelands at the Lovejoy Wharf with the addition of a cultural, civic and educational center that will attract residents and visitors alike.”
“Related Beal is thrilled to welcome the Toussaint Louverture Cultural Center of Massachusetts to Lovejoy Wharf. We are grateful to the Boston Planning & Development Agency and Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture for working with us to provide a new home that will honor Haitian heritage,” said Aisha Miller, vice president of community & corporate engagement at Related Beal. “The opening of this civic and cultural space will mark a key milestone in Lovejoy Wharf’s revitalization, and we look forward to supporting this community hub along Boston’s historic waterfront.”