ACTivate Residency of Iwalani Kaluhiokalani, September, 2021. Photo by Andrea Blesso.

ACTivate Residency

The ACTivate Residency of Boston Center for the Arts is designed to support artists in the exploration of an idea or concept without the requirement of a finished product or piece at the culmination of their residency.

The 2022-2023 season of ACTivate will award two individuals or two small groups of artists a seven-day residency to create site-responsive work in the historic Cyclorama. The work can be performative and/or visual in nature and is meant to activate Boston’s artists and our spaces.

This opportunity is open to all Boston-based visual, performing, and interdisciplinary artists with priority given to Boston BIPOC, Immigrant, and New American artists and their collaborators. Artists participating in this program receive support for research, development, rehearsal, marketing, and mentorship.

More info:

2022-2023 ACTivate Residency sessions:
February 6-12, 2023 – Residency (Mon-Sun)
July 17-23, 2023 – Residency (Mon-Sun)

NOTE: Applications for the ACTivate Residency will reopen next year.

To help prospective ACTivate Residents envision a potential residency, we have held several information sessions. Below is a recording of our most recent session from 2022.


Applications are evaluated by guest panelists comprised of Boston-area artists and/or arts professionals. Applicants are evaluated on their ability to demonstrate meeting the following criteria in line with the Artistic Ethos of BCA.


  • ACTivate is open to all Boston-based visual, performing, and interdisciplinary artists with priority given to BIPOC, Immigrant, and New American artists and their collaborators.
  • Lead artist must be a resident of the City of Boston with preference given to those that live and work within the City of Boston, including but limited to the neighborhoods of: Allston-Brighton, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, and Roxbury.
  • Collective or lead artist(s) must have a demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion.
  • Students enrolled in either undergraduate or graduate programs in any field are not eligible.


BCA provides:

  • $4,000 stipend for lead artist to be used at their discretion for resources such as collaborators and/or specific elements of the piece.
  • $30/day travel stipend up to $840.
  • Access to Cyclorama for seven days during agreed upon hours (for up to eight consecutive hours per day).
  • BCA staff support during artists’ working hours up to eight consecutive hours per day between 8am and 11pm.
  • Film documentation of the residency process and work created in a mini-documentary format that may be used at the artist’s discretion and shared during a season culminating event in the BCA Cyclorama.
  • Access to BCA in house resources including tables, chairs, and lighting resources.
  • The opportunity to share the work-in-progress with a small private audience in an Open Sharing during the residency week. The goal is to share feedback and garner interest around the project so the work can be further developed.


Artists agree to:


  • Create or further develop a site-responsive work over the course of seven days.
  • The proposed project should be performative, visual, or interdisciplinary in nature and is meant to activate artists and our spaces.
  • Collaborate with BCA on a project description that can be shared with staff, stakeholders for BCA, and the artist network, and on social media. This description can then be used in future proposals or grant applications around the project.
  • Attend pre-Residency meetings to discuss the proposed timeline as well as any technical, production, marketing, development, and general Residency needs.
  • Agree to collaborate with BCA to share the process and documentation with audiences.
  • Provide BCA with images, bio, and project concept descriptions that can be used to promote the artists and the work they are creating.
  • Promote the ACTivate Residency in partnership with the BCA marketing department.
  • Participate in a mutually determined role in a season culminating event.


  • Be responsible for all aspects of the installation, including any necessary permitting, loading in, etc.
  • Submit a detailed schedule of when and how you would like to utilize the space six weeks prior to the start of the Residency.
  • Present a floor plan of the use of space/ installation for BCA approval two weeks prior to the residency.
  • Work with BCA staff and film crew to document the installation and/or performance in an agreed-upon manner (including interviews, b-roll, still photography, social media, etc.). Planning for this to begin no less than four weeks prior.
  • Adherence to the Cyclorama Rules and Regulations.
  • Follow BCA’s current Health and Safety Guidelines.
  • Strike the installation at the conclusion of the residency.


Our goal is to gather a diverse and inclusive community of artists for the purpose of supporting innovative work across disciplines, connecting artists with peers and resources, and providing a vibrant platform for new art in Boston.

Experimentation. We support artistic work that displays innovation and openness to new ideas, perspectives and techniques.

Responsiveness. In the process of supporting new and innovative work, we value ideas that are relevant to contemporary interests and conversations.

Community engagement. We encourage an artistic practice that engages meaningfully with the ecosystem where it exists through collaboration and exchange among artists and audiences.

Potential impact. We seek to support artists for whom our involvement has the potential to propel their practice creating a path for growth artistically and professionally.

Andrea Blesso, Director of Dance & Interdisciplinary Arts ( is available to answer questions and provide additional information about the residency.

The 2023–2024 ACTivate Residency is supported by a contract from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture of the City of Boston for workforce development for artists and creative workers.