The Record Co. Receives Grant Money for an All-Ages Music Venue in Boston

Mass. is giving local musicians a new stage.

the record co boston

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No kid dreams of growing up to be an arts administrator. Matt McArthur, founder of the nonprofit the Record Co., thought maybe he would be a musician or a songwriter when he moved from Arizona to Boston to attend Berklee College.

But instead of a music career, he found a city filled with talented musicians and students eager to listen, and too few venues for these groups to come together. McArthur also discovered that he was far better at “facilitating the art of other people” than he was at making art himself.

“I get my creative satisfaction from helping other people,” he says.

McArthur founded the Record Co. to help local musicians affordably record and produce music, and now, thanks to a grant from the Department of Housing and Economic Development, McArthur and his team are planning to open an all-ages music venue in Boston. Although the location is still to be determined, they do have a “very tentative search area in the triangle formed by JP, South Boston, and the southern tip of Dorchester,” McArthur says.

The $25,000 grant is part of a new program called the Collaborative Workspace Program. The Record Co. was awarded the money based on their imagining of a space that functions as both a music venue and a community center.

McArthur explains, “This grant is going to help us explore exactly what this means to us, but we’re picturing a space where small, music-related organizations like Boston Hassle and Allston Pudding have use of the space during the day to meet and work, and then at night we’ll have performances that are co-produced by our organization and members of the community.”

The intent is for the venue to be all ages, all the time, so it can begin to, as McArthur says, “replenish that vanishing stock of small-format clubs that Boston’s been losing like crazy.”

The planning process needs to be complete by June 30 and then McArthur and his team have to apply for more grant money to implement the plan. Ideally, McArthur would have liked the space to open two years ago, but the best possible reality would be if the Record Co. has an address for their venue by the end of this year.

And that’s a reality that is entirely within reach. As McArthur notes, “It’s a very important statement that the state is making when the Housing and Economic Development department gives money to an arts and cultural organization.”