Building Bridges: Music and arts series All Together Now expands on inclusiveness for 2017


Studio 52 is a community artist space located in the heart of Allston, and is proud to support the Boston music scene and local artist community.

For all of the backlash that Boston gets for not supporting the arts, sometimes — sometimes — the city gets it right. The Boston Foundation annually issues Live Arts Boston grants to select applicants, and this year, multi-disciplinary arts series All Together Now is among the recipients.

While many organizations in the Boston area aim to unify different kinds of artists and people, Anna Rae is doing triple time with All Together Now. The series’ overarching goal is threefold: To give the artistic spotlight to all groups, to create more overlap between different arts and music scenes, and to foster ties between the art communities in Boston and New York City (a feat if there ever was one, considering their rivalry). The result is an arts series that represents the ultimate all-inclusive experience, and the first offering is a spoken word-rap-rock mashup April 29 at the Lilypad in Cambridge (see lineup below).

“When you’re trying to build an inclusive space that incorporates people with different subcultures and experiences of marginalization, you have to be ready to listen and learn and adjust,” Rae says of producing the series.

In this case, adjusting meant applying for a grant from The Boston Foundation after Rae realized that she would need an extra financial boost to keep the series running. Now with the grant from the Boston Foundation in tow, Rae has more plans for expanding the series in 2017.

“We want to expand the show to more neighborhoods, hopefully making it easier for more people in the greater Boston area to perform and attend,” Rae notes. “We’re already starting to recognize how infrastructure and budgetary decisions, like where the T goes or who gets a liquor license, affects the ability of certain neighborhoods to create and sustain event spaces.”

On top of branching out into new areas, Rae also says that, much like the upcoming Lilypad show, some all-ages shows are in the cards so that artists under 18 and 21 can get in on the experience too. Rae deliberately booked the next show at the independent Cambridge venue to dodge any age restrictions.

Perhaps where the grant will help the most is softening the cost of producing shows so that Rae can ensure that ticket prices stay low. After three shows with 25 artists last year, Rae knows that not everyone can afford to fork over $20 per ticket, but many times, ticket sales are the only way for artists to make money or break even on a gig. With some financial padding from the Live Arts Boston grant, All Together Now tickets costs can stay affordable. That benefit alone proves how vital it is for major cities to support their local art communities.

“We think everyone, regardless of income, should be able to create and experience art publicly,” Rae adds. “Making money on live shows is really hard though — the costs of producing an event often exceed the amount you can make in ticket sales. That’s why funding, like the Live Arts Boston grant, are so important for keeping art accessible to everyone.” 

Featured photo of April 29 All Together Now performer DiDi Delgado.