History & Mission

What is the Fenway Cultural District?

Fenway skyline
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The Fenway Cultural District was formed in 1998 to recognize an area of Boston rich in art, music, academia, community, religious institutions, historic sites, and parklands. This section of Boston, bounded by Huntington Avenue, Massachusetts Avenue, and the Back Bay Fens, is a thriving economic, academic, and cultural segment of the city that has become an acclaimed destination for cultural tourism with a thriving community identity.

Annually, the District attracts millions of visitors to its world-class institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the world headquarters of The First Church of Christ, Scientist. Thousands of students and their families are drawn to the District’s renowned academic institutions including Northeastern University, Berklee College of Music, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Simmons University, and Emmanuel College. The District’s community identity is further strengthened by organizations like The YMCA of Greater Boston where thousands of Fenway residents have held memberships since its opening in 1906.

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Visitors to the District can see masterpieces of classical and contemporary art, listen to a concert at New England Conservatory’s historic Jordan Hall, attend a performance at the Huntington Theatre or Northeastern University’s Blackman Auditorium, and sit beside the reflecting pool and enjoy a weekly chiming concert at The Christian Science Plaza. On their way home they can walk through the giant stained-glass globe and see the continents, countries, and oceans of the world of the Mapparium in the Mary Baker Eddy Library or simply stroll through the beautiful Back Bay Fens, part of the historic Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace park system. All of these priceless resources and many more are located within easy walking distance of one another.

In tandem with the growing pipeline of capital and residential projects in the District over the past 13 years, The Fenway Alliance has spearheaded improvements in streetscapes, parklands, community programming, marketing, and public access in the District.

Fenway Cultural District's Mission

The Fenway Alliance’s vision for the Fenway Cultural District is to provide a cultural environment that merges both the historical and contemporary elements of the Fenway to create a welcoming and creative experience for residents of the Fenway and visitors from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, across the nation, and around the world. True to the visionary leadership of our member institutions and the spirit of historical icons who put our community on the map, we continuously innovate to create an urban space that provides creative experiences that are culturally relevant, aesthetically engaging, and contribute to the economic vitality of the District. Our goal is to serve as a model for other cultural districts in the state and across the nation. We work to create and sustain a vibrant cultural area in Boston that is rightfully perceived as a premier destination in our state and across the United States. We succeed as a significant force in New England’s creative economy by supporting Fenway residents, students, institutions, and local businesses. Over the past 15 years, under the direction of The Fenway Alliance, the District has seen improvements in streetscapes, parklands, community programming, marketing, and public access.

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Our Vision for the Fenway Cultural District:

 

Promotion of Culture and Arts

  • Provide the largest day of free cultural experiences in Greater Boston: Opening Our Doors

  • Create additional cultural programming through creative partnerships and through our Fenway Cultural District Committee

  • Coordinate activities with members of the Fenway Alliance and the Fenway Cultural District Committee

  • Provide opportunities for artists and institutions

 

Marketing

  • Create a highly respected brand by marketing and promoting our area as a cultural destination for local and national visitors.

  • Build awareness of the Fenway Cultural District through traditional and emerging media

  • Promote our academic and cultural institutions and link them to our cultural endeavors

 

Increasing Livability

  • Increase the beauty and vitality of our District by creating an easily navigable area for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists with aesthetically appropriate way-finding and signage

  • Encourage local business contributions for a vibrant urban space by working in collaboration with the Fenway Cultural District Committee to improve our major thoroughfares Huntington Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue through streetscaping, cultural programming, public art, and enhancements to the green spaces

  • Advocate linkages between the Emerald Necklace, built amenities, and cultural activities

  • Promote safety for pedestrians and bicyclists throughout the District

  • Promote greater access to Fenway’s cultural opportunities for a diversity of residents within the city