What might a cultural district that focuses on the Dudley Square and John Eliot Square areas of Roxbury look like? What are our cultural assets? How might we use this state designation to collectively publicize and share some of the programming and cultural assets of this neighborhood? In Boston, there are currently two cultural district. The Boston Globe recently mentioned Roxbury and Jamaica Plain in an article about other potential districts in Boston; the Dorchester Reporter responded to The Boston Globe article in an editorial. On June 23, The Bay State Banner wrote about the current public planning process for a cultural district in Roxbury.

A special thank you to Channel 5’s “Cityline” host Karen Holmes Ward for having Kelley Chunn and Joyce Stanley on her show to talk about the cultural district planning in Roxbury. The interview aired on Sunday, July 3 at noon on WCVB Channel 5! 

On October 19, Kelley Chunn was interview by Chris Lovett of Boston Network News about the Boston City Council Hearing on October 25. You can watch the video below.


Please browse this site for information on the three public conversations that took place on April 11, May 9, and June 16; meeting notes are posted on the Meeting and Minutes page. There, you will also find the application that was submitted to the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) on November 11; MCC will be conducted a site visit of the proposed district on December 5 and we anticipate their board will make a determination at their January meeting. The conversation and planning process continues and we need your help and ideas. Please like us on Facebook or send us an email so we can add you to the mailing list.   


On October 25 at 6 p.m., we gathered in Hibernian Hall with Councilors Jackson, Wu, Pressley, and Essaibi George for the City Council Hearing on establishing the Roxbury Cultural District. The hearing started with a performance by Roxbury spoken word artist, Lisa Lee, and included moving testimony from six panelists as well as many testimonials. All spoke in support of the district.

Here is Councilor Wu’s report from the hearing that she presented at the October 26 City Council meeting: Roxbury Cultural District: Councilors Jackson, Pressley, and I reported back on last night’s hearing on establishing a cultural district in Roxbury. The district would include Dudley Square and John Elliot Square and highlight the many arts and cultural assets in the neighborhood, as well as Roxbury’s significance as the heart of black culture for the region. At the hearing, we heard overwhelming support from neighbors and other stakeholders as well as ideas about the boundaries of the district. The matter will stay in the Arts and Culture Committee, a committee report will be drafted, and the Council will vote on it at an upcoming meeting.

You can access the full video of the City Council Hearing here.


Thank you for everyone who has helped us to map Roxbury's arts and cultural assets! Please find a draft map of arts and cultural assets and the proposed MCC Hub here. We also made a map that compares the proposed MCC Hub with the 1868 boundaries of Roxbury.

We used in-person meetings and an online mapping tool as a means of gathering broad public input on Roxbury’s cultural assets. The draft map above was developed based on input received by September 1. However, the mapping tool remains live and the map of assets will continue to evolve over time as more information is gathered. We hope you will take a few minutes to share your ideas about cultural assets that are important to you. You can use the tool, send us an email, give us a call, or attend an upcoming meeting.

You can access the mapping tool here

1. Map: The map can be viewed as a road map or in satellite view. Change the view using the tool on the upper right-hand side of the map; it looks like three sheets of paper. The map has no borders, so you can place icons anywhere you would like. Use the home button on the upper left-hand side to return the view to Dudley Square.

2. Icons: There are five pages of icons on the left hand side of the map. Please drag as many icons as you want onto the map. There is no limit to the number of icons you can use. If there is an asset that does not have an appropriate icon listed, please use the Other icon on page 5. 

3. Comments: For each icon that you place, you can include a comment. We encourage you to use the icon to share more detailed information about this assets and why it is important to you.

4. Edits: You can use the functions below the plus and minus symbols on the upper left-hand side of the map to make changes. Please be sure to save your changes. You can make as many changes as you want during this process. However, once you have submitted your entry by completing part two (age and zip code), you cannot go back and edit it.

5. Age and Zip Code: In part two of the survey, you will be asked to share your age and home zip code. Sharing this information is a way for us to know if we have reached a range of participants for information.

6. Results: The mapping of arts and cultural assets is an ongoing process. The draft map above was developed based on input received by September 1. However, the mapping tool remains live and the map of assets will continue to evolve over time as more information is gathered. Your response will be anonymous and will aggregated with responses from other participants. Information will be sorted using the icons. For example, if 15 people identify Haley House Bakery Café as an asset, we’ll let you know that information as well as the range of icons and comments used to identify this asset. 

If you have any questions, please contact us at  DECDinfo@gmail.com or call 857.308.3012.


In 2010, the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Cultural District Initiative was authorized by an act of the Massachusetts State Legislature. Since it launched in 2011, 30 communities across the Commonwealth have established districts that reflect the unique assets and needs of their communities. The City of Boston currently has two cultural districts, Fenway Cultural District and Boston Literary Cultural District.

In Roxbury, two loosely knitted grassroots cultural associations, the Roxbury Cultural Network and Common Thread Coalition, as well as other neighborhood stakeholders have identified cultural district status as an important, long-term goal. In August 2015, Haley House, Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC), and The American City Coalition (TACC) partnered in support of these ongoing efforts to establish a cultural district in Roxbury by researching regional and national best practices, identifying technical assistance needs, and seeking funding. In December 2015, the project was awarded $25,000 in funding from The Catalyst Fund (pooled funding from The Boston Foundation, Boston LISC, The Hyams Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley).

In March 2016, Kelley Chunn & Associates was engaged as a consultant to convene and work with all stakeholders in implementing an inclusive planning process for a cultural district in Dudley Square/Eliot Square and to take the necessary steps to complete the application for cultural district designation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC).


This planning process is being supported by funding from The Catalyst Fund (pooled funding from The Boston Foundation, Boston LISC, The Hyams Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley). 

Please join our growing list of supporters; these organizations and businesses are sharing their time, expertise, and ideas in support of the cultural district planning process.