Alison Croney Moses, “Holly Shell,” 2023. Photo Credit: Mel Taing.

The Future of Creative Spaces in Boston a panel discussion

The Future of Creative Spaces in Boston

Wednesday, July 24 | 6–7:30pm | BCA Cyclorama


Against the backdrop of a booming real estate market and a related precarity of viable workspaces for artists, Boston faces a challenge shared by similar urban hubs: How do we ensure artists remain in Boston? This panel discussion brings together civic leaders, advocates, and community members to share individual perspectives, initiatives, and ways for charting a path forward in addressing affordability and, by extension, sustainability. 

Artadia and Boston Center for the Arts are excited to hold this panel discussion with Yng-Ru Chen, Founder and CEO, Praise Shadows Gallery; Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture, City of Boston; Emily Ruddock, Executive Director, MASSCreative; Napoleon Jones-Henderson, 2022 Boston Artadia Awardee; and Alison Croney Moses, 2023 Boston Artadia Awardee. We are grateful to Wagner Foundation for being the lead sponsor for this event.

About the Panelists

Yng-Ru Chen (sher/her) is the Founder and CEO of the Boston-based Praise Shadows Art Gallery, and is a co-founder of the new Arrival Art Fair taking place in 2025 in North Adams, MA. She sits on the Board of Trustees of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. She previously worked at MoMA P.S.1, Sotheby’s, Asia Society, and Tattly.

Alison Croney Moses (Boston, MA) holds an MA in sustainable business and communities from Goddard College, and a BFA in furniture design from the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2023, she presented a solo exhibition at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, Boston. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. She is a recipient of the 2022 USA Fellowship in Craft, and 2023 Boston Liberty Mutual Artadia Award and a finalist of the 2024 LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize.

Kara Elliott-Ortega is an arts advocate with a focus on culture and city planning. Prior to becoming the Chief of Arts and Culture, she served as the Director of Policy and Planning for the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. Since leading the office, Kara has overseen over $20M of arts investment in Boston, including the creation of new temporary and permanent public art, the City’s first artist workforce development programs, and COVID-19 relief efforts for Boston’s arts and culture sector. She has directed cultural planning efforts resulting in hundreds of new units of affordable artist housing, place-based creative strategies, and most recently the acquisition of two buildings for long-term affordable cultural use. Rooted in community organizing and the intrinsic value of creativity, Kara believes that cultural investment is a requirement for realizing equitable futures.

Napoleon Jones-Henderson was born in 1943 in Chicago, Illinois. Jones-Henderson is Executive Director of the Research Institute of African and African Diaspora Arts, Inc. and BENNU ARTS, LLC. In 1968, during the apogee of the Chicago Black Arts Movement Jones-Henderson, a distinguished artist with a long-term commitment to cultural representation and community engagement, and a founding member/key figure in AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists), founded in 1968, as well as other intergenerational networks of Black artists, he creates images inspired by the lived experiences and cultures of communities in the African diaspora.

Emily Ruddock brings 15 years of experience in strategic and management positions for non-profit arts organizations, including working as the first director of the City of Lynn’s Downtown Cultural District. Before joining MASSCreative in 2017, Ruddock was the artistic producer at Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT), where she managed the day-to-day operations of the Artistic Department, including hiring, resource logistics, and budgeting for theatrical productions. She also developed and supervised MRT’s first education department-focused effort, strengthening partnerships with local social service organizations and schools.

About the Co-hosts

Since its founding in 1999, Artadia has awarded over $6 million in unrestricted funds to over 400 artists nationally. Celebrating visual artists and their foundational role in shaping society, the Artadia Award benefits three artists annually in seven major US cities with high concentrations of creative workers—Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, and the San Francisco Bay Area.