The Greater Roxbury Arts & Cultural Center Inc. (GRACC) has announced that once its new arts center is constructed, it will become the permanent home for the Roxbury International Film Festival (ROXFILM), the largest festival in New England dedicated to celebrating the work of filmmakers of color. The partnership with the 25-year-old film festival reflects GRACC’s commitment to fostering and advancing Black and Latino visual and performing arts within the community.
ROXFILM Executive Director Lisa Simmons recently told the Boston Business Journal, “We’ve been saying for the last 25 years that we need a dedicated space for arts, culture, and film, particularly in the Nubian Square area. [With GRACC] it feels like we can come home.”
Currently in its pre-development stage, GRACC will be a visual and performing arts center and serve as a cornerstone of the Nubian Square Ascends project to transform the decades-old and blighted Blair lot in Roxbury into a vibrant cultural hub. According to GRACC’s inaugural President and CEO Taneshia Nash Laird, the nonprofit is diligently working towards raising $50 million for the capital project, with plans to break ground by the end of 2024, as required by the Boston Planning & Development Agency.
“The partnership with ROXFILM is a momentous stride forward for us,” said Laird. “Our nonprofit was founded to create a space where Black and Latinx artists can create, showcase, and thrive, and hosting ROXFILM will bring us closer to realizing this vision.” Laird describes the center as a future “nexus of Black culture” in Boston and New England and a model for Black-founded and Black-led arts institutions nationally.
ROXFILM will utilize multiple GRACC spaces for its film festival and year-round cinema programming. The center will feature two theaters: a main stage with two levels of a total of 310 fixed seats and a black box theater on the third floor with flexible seating options. Laird added that GRACC’s state-of-the-art facilities will significantly enhance the festival’s viewing experience and offer a superior platform for talented filmmakers.
ROXFILM will begin using the GRACC once construction is complete. In the meantime, ROXFILM continues its partnerships with institutions throughout the city, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, ArtsEmerson, and Hibernian Hall in Roxbury.
The ROXFILM partnership is a significant milestone in GRACC’s journey toward creating a dedicated cultural exchange and artistic expression space in Roxbury. GRACC’s and ROXFILM’s leaders look forward to nurturing an environment deeply rooted in inclusivity, creativity, and the celebration of diverse voices.
About the Greater Roxbury Arts & Cultural Center, Inc.
Greater Roxbury Arts & Cultural Center Inc. (GRACC), the 501(c)(3) nonprofit established in 2022, is developing a 35,000-square-foot visual and performing arts center in the heart of Nubian Square commercial district in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, MA. It is led by its inaugural president and CEO, Taneshia Nash Laird. Its mission is to support and showcase innovative performing arts, cinema, visual art, and humanities that honor the cultural roots and diverse talent stemming from the African diaspora. GRACC is committed to promoting social justice and economic development within the Nubian Square neighborhood of Boston. Its vision is to become a premier destination where patrons, partners, and performers can forge meaningful connections through the arts and emerge as a leader in celebrating the beauty and richness of Black and Latinx culture in Boston. For more information, visit www.graccboston.org.
About Roxbury International Film Festival (ROXFILM)
ROXFILM is the largest festival in New England dedicated to celebrating the work of filmmakers of color. For over two decades, the festival has given a platform to underrepresented voices, fostering an environment of inclusion and creativity. For more information, visit www.roxfilmfest.com