Fenway @40

1977—present—Increasing community and public safety

The Alliance was actually founded in large part to increase neighborhood safety, via forming neighborhood watches and successfully advocating for increased police patrols.  Presently Alliance institutions’ enormous investment in buildings and infrastructure enhancements to the neighborhood increase not only the areas’ safety but also its desirability as flocks of young professionals and new hip eateries settle in this “hot neighborhood.

1990—present–Rehabilitation of Olmsted’s Muddy River Park and Parklands 

Began as an investigation and data collection project at Northeastern University to inform work needed to contain the terrible flooding of the Muddy River in the early ‘90s, this initial work gave birth to the Fenway Alliance as a leader in a complex, long term, and ultimately successful advocacy project that garnered MA Congressional Delegation support and ultimately US Army Corps of Engineers undertaking of the restoration of the historic Olmsted Muddy River Park.  One of the largest advocacy projects in Boston history, the effort brought together over 25 organizations and many private residents.  The Army Corps Project will be completed in 2018.  It is a remarkable legacy gift the Alliance, City of Boston, Town of Brookline, Commonwealth of MA, and all the partnering advocate organizations and people involved have bestowed to current and future generations.

1998—Mayoral Designation of The Avenue of the Arts and The Fenway Cultural District

In 1998, after successfully increasing public safety in the neighborhood, the Alliance led another successful bid to have Mayor Thomas M. Menino designate Huntington Avenue “Avenue of the Arts” and the whole area as “The Fenway Cultural District,” bringing renewed attention and funding to the area.

1998—present—Reconstruction and Beautification of Huntington Avenue/Avenue of the Arts

Building on momentum of the Mayoral designation, the Alliance advocated for Federal- to- State-to- City funds to be applied to the much needed repairs and beautification of the Avenue of the Arts, initiating a 22 million dollar project that placed 612 trees on the Avenue, all new T-stations, antique acorn lighting, and other public amenities including benches, and grass in the reservation of the T tracks reminiscent of some of the most beautiful European cities.   In a unique private/public partnership, the Alliance then contracted with the City of Boston to maintain all the “green aspects” of the project which it does to this day.

2001—present—Founding and Sustaining of Opening Our Doors—Boston’s largest day of cultural experiences 

Opening Our Doors is the longest standing free-to-the- public event of cultural experiences in Boston with 65 activities taking place in 17 indoor/outdoor venues.    In 2016, we greeted 12,000 people to our neighborhood on the event day.  Opening Our Doors goes far beyond “your little neighborhood arts festival” in the content and quality of its offerings.  You make it possible; you also make it excellent.

2001—present–Creation and Sustaining of the Fenway Alliance’s Corporate Partners Program

The Alliance is proud to engage 24 Corporate Partners who volunteer their time and talent and have contributed over 1.5 million dollars throughout the program’s history.  In addition to this cash contribution, many corporate partners provide enumerable in kind donations of content, space, events and brain power.

2011—present–Creation of Fenway Celebrates Exceptional Spirit (FACES) and Last Sunset of Summer Events

In 2011, the Fenway Alliance launched two seminal events, one a casual networking party hosted generously by corporate partner the Fenway Marriott Residence Inn (Last Sunset), and one a high end important citywide gathering to honor those who have made significant contributions to the Fenway and Boston (FACES).    In its six year history, Fenway Alliance Celebrates Exceptional Spirit/FACES has honored among others Mayor Menino, MFA Director Malcolm Rogers, Isabella Stewart Gardner Director Anne Hawley, and most recently Presidents Richard Ortner (Boston Conservatory of Music) and President Roger Brown (Berklee College of Music).

2012—present—Established and Sustain Public By Design

In 2012, the Alliance launched our Public By Design initiative with a bang with the award-winning Enfold/Evans Way Park created by architect Kim Poliquin. Following this “Gates-like” smash, was the fun, interactive installation Interlace by architecture firm Goody Clancy, followed by the beautiful jury-awarded Sparkle and Chime by architecture firm Shepley Bulfinch—replete with an organic sound component!  This year for first time ever we were proud to host an international and local Artists collaboration creation Tir na Nog by Irish Artist Caoimhghin O Fraithile and Boston-based local treasure Michael Dowling of Medicine Wheel.   This piece was featured as one of the 15 most important pieces of public art in 2016 by WBUR.

2012—Designation of the Fenway Cultural District by the Massachusetts Cultural Council

On March 24, 2012, following a yearlong process that included a  City Council Public Hearing, the Fenway was designated the Fenway Cultural Council—the first of five such designations in the Commonwealth by the Massachusetts Cultural Council—the highest level arts organization in State government.  Along with this honor, the Alliance was named the manager of the District.

2013—present—Founding and Sustaining of TEDxFenway

The Technology, Entertainment and Design or “TED” talks have spurred an international movement.  Who better positioned than the Fenway Alliance—chockfull of intellectual and artistic capital—to organize and host such events?  TEDxFenway, now in its fourth year, has featured a range of dynamic thought leaders from Governor Michael Dukakis to BPDA Board Member and President Emeritus of the BAC Ted Landsmark to leading scientists, artists and entertainers.  Jimmy Tingle gave a TEDxFenway talk in 2015!   Hosting venues have included FA Member Northeastern University, FA-Partner Samuels Associates Landmark Center, and FA Member Berklee College of Music.  Importantly, the Alliance offers these events free to the public, and it has enabled the Alliance to actively engage the important generation of millennial who will be our next leaders.

2016—Leading advocate for successful campaign to keep the Huntington Theatre on Huntington Ave/Avenue of the Arts

In 2016, Boston University changed its longstanding partnership relationship with the Huntington Theatre and put the building on Huntington Avenue up for sale.  Working closely with Mayor Walsh and his team from the City of Boston, the Fenway Alliance also partnered with other leading cultural advocacy organizations MassCreative, Stage Source and ArtsBoston to ensure that the Huntington Theatre was able to remain and thrive on the Avenue of the Arts.  Using traditional and new forms of social media advocacy, the campaign “keep Huntington on Huntington” was a rousing success—Mayor Walsh listed it as one of is best moments in 2016!  We are delighted to have our fellow FA Member and cultural icon, the Huntington Theatre retained on Huntington Ave/Avenue of the Arts, where it belongs.

2016—present—Future\City Initiative

This past year, the Fenway was selected as one of three communities in the Commonwealth by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Boston Foundation to work with the indefatigable global cultural place-maker Mark Davy and his innovative firm Future\City to envision and produce a place-identity for the Fenway Cultural District that represents the “next big thing “ and the 2.0 of our long journey in creating an intellectual and culturally stimulating home for all Greater Boston’s citizens, and our national and international visitors to this very special community.  It is my hope that our work with Future\City will be a wonderful culminating “beginning” of our long allied journey.