CPAC Keeps Life Colorful

Jun 8, 2011


In 2006, Citi Performing Arts Center (CPAC) formalized its commitment to “Broad-based Access, Diversity, and Outreach” as an objective on its strategy map and Balanced Scorecard.

The plan articulated a vision that was before its time, strategically aligning a programming strategy with that of future audiences who would demand a more broad-based and culturally diverse mix. The strategy was recently validated by U.S. Census findings (“Growth slow in Boston metro area: Minority gains stem net losses” Boston Globe, March 28, 2011) confirming that a striking shift in minority populations has indeed reshaped the region’s demographics. In just five short years, CPAC's programming strategy has driven both growth and audience diversity: 1) age (Yo Gabba Gabba, Lady Gaga, and Tony Bennett); 2) ethnicity (George Lopez, Shen Yun, Gipsy Kings, and Celtic Woman); 3) art form (Boston Lyric Opera’s season, Addams Family musical, Songs of Life, Marriage Material, and Janet Jackson); and 4) event “experience” (Cirque Eloize, Speaker Series, and Radio City Christmas Spectacular).

SpectrumBoston, City Spotlights, and Target Arts are just three programs that support CPAC's commitment to broad-based access, diversity, and outreach are below. For information on other programs, visit CPAC's education department Web page.


As part of its vision/strategy, CPAC’s awarding-winning SpectrumBoston initiative in 2009 was a successful city-wide collaborative effort (City of Boston, Museum of African American History, WGBH, Boston Public Library, and Boston Public Schools) that brought new, diverse audiences to both the Strand Theatre in Dorchester and the Wang Theatre in downtown Boston. Launched by CPAC, it delivered five months of integrated programming and arts education opportunities throughout the City of Boston. Initiative goals included diversifying and increasing arts participation by audiences more reflective of the City’s population, broadening cultural and educational programming reach into Boston neighborhoods, and strengthening the link between arts education and programming. Using Lesley University’s Program Evaluation and Research Group (PERG), participant research confirmed that SpectrumBoston successfully provided an affordable and meaningful performing arts experience to diverse members of the Boston community. African Americans’ attendance increased 18x over traditional Broadway benchmarks and 25-35% of audiences were new to each of the theatres. Recognized with Ad Club/Diversity Marketing honors, and the ArtsLearning/Collaboration Award, the SpectrumBoston program has now evolved into formal partnerships with the Boston Public Schools (BPS), Boston Center of Youth & Families (BCYF), and Boston Public Libraries (BPL). Watch video of SpectumBoston.

City Spotlights

City Spotlights is a cultural program which explores and celebrates four Boston neighborhoods through the performing arts offering high school internships, community performance workshops, intergenerational neighborhood ensembles, and culminates in a community event featuring local artists at the CPAC. In 2011 the neighborhoods were Chinatown, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, and Mattapan, and the year culminated with "City Movement: Comings and Goings of Boston." In this special performance, performers portray the identities of Boston neighborhoods through dance, music, theatre and song, creating a story honoring the uniqueness and richness of Boston. Watch video of City Spotlights 2010.

Target Arts

Target Arts is a multilayer in-school performing arts residency program funded by Target and created by a partnership between CPAC and Boston Public Schools. The program combines school residencies conducted by professional teaching artists with special guest artist assemblies and professional productions in Boston’s Theatre District. Armed with curriculum guides created by the Citi Performing Arts Center Education Department, teaching artists work with classrooms of up to 30 students for multiple weeks exploring themes based on professional productions. Previous themes included folktales, puppetry, dance, movement, community, and personal storytelling. Watch the video to learn more.


  Watch "Making a Difference" video.

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Sub Categories

DIVERSITY: Diversity and the Arts
DIVERSITY: African American / Black Community
DIVERSITY: Latino / Hispanic
DIVERSITY: Asian American
DIVERSITY: American Indian
DIVERSITY: Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander
DIVERSITY: Generations
DIVERSITY: Education
DIVERSITY: Audience Development
DIVERSITY: Socio-Economic Status
DIVERSITY: White/Caucasian