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ProArts receives $140k grant from Barr Foundation

ProArts Consortium and member institution Emerson College announced February 12 a $140,000 grant from the Barr Foundation to support strategic planning for ProArts as well as a series of conversations about arts and arts education. The grant will allow Emerson (the fiscal agent for this project) and partner schools to build upon ProArts’ existing programs and develop new initiatives to further serve its member institutions and the arts landscape of the City of Boston.

Launched in 1984, ProArts consists of six institutions of higher education dedicated to the visual and performing arts: Berklee College of Music, the Boston Architectural College, the Boston ConservatoryEmerson CollegeMassachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

At its inception, the primary goal of ProArts was to create a public high school for the visual and performing arts in Boston. In collaboration with the Boston Public Schools, this goal was realized with the opening of the Boston Arts Academy (BAA) in 1998. Each of the ProArts schools maintains an active presence at the BAA to this day. Additionally, ProArts has developed collaborative programming and inter-institutional opportunities for its member schools. These include a cross-registration program, interdisciplinary courses, student exhibitions and concerts, intramural athletics, and an active online resource for member institutions,

The ProArts Board consists of the six presidents of its member institutions including Emerson College President Lee Pelton. “I’m grateful to the Barr Foundation for their support of ProArts,” said Pelton, who participated in the first of a series of conversations supported by the Barr Foundation about arts and arts education, held at Berklee in November 2013. “I’m very much looking forward to continued collaboration with my colleagues in mapping the future of ProArts. Through the consortium, we have an opportunity to further enhance our students’ experiences and to expand our reach to serve neighboring communities in the city.”

Executive Director of ProArts Professor Ross Bresler of Berklee oversees the organization’s programming, website, and social media platforms. According to Bresler, this is a significant time in the history of ProArts. “This generous grant will greatly aid our desire to enhance our current programming and help us map out ambitious goals for the future of our organization. There is enormous potential for ProArts to effect meaningful change for not only our member schools, but also as an active voice in the arts and arts education in Boston as a whole.”

ProArts will complete its strategic plan in spring of 2015.

“ProArts has long been an important partner to the Barr Foundation,” said San San Wong, Barr’s senior program officer for arts and culture. “Through the creation of Boston Arts Academy and other collaborations among its members, ProArts has a strong track record of improving and expanding opportunities and pathways for young people to pursue artistic mastery. We are pleased to be able to support ProArts as it undertakes strategic planning to identify the distinct roles it can play nurturing the next generation of Boston artists and art lovers, and creating a more vibrant future for the city.”

About the Barr Foundation

The Barr Foundation’s mission is to support gifted leaders and networked organizations working in Boston and beyond to enhance educational and economic opportunities, to achieve environmental sustainability, and to create rich cultural experiences. See more at:

About Pro Arts

The Professional Arts Consortium (ProArts) is an association of six neighboring institutions of higher education in the Boston area dedicated to the visual and performing arts. Member schools are Berklee College of Music, The Boston Architectural College, The Boston Conservatory, Emerson College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. These institutions came together to promote the interconnectivity of the arts through expanded opportunities for its members and for the community. ProArts is committed to being a leading force for the arts and arts education.                                                                                                                                                          

About Emerson College

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,660 undergraduates and 829 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. A grand opening for Emerson College Los Angeles, a new permanent facility on Sunset Boulevard for the College’s LA-based program, will take place in March 2014. For more information, visit

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