This past year, a revolutionary new venue was welcomed into the Charlestown community. Quickly becoming one of the centerpieces and the community hub of the Navy Yard, The Anchor accomplished its goal of building an inclusive culture for both Boston residents and visitors alike. The Anchor is a public gathering space, performing and visual arts venue and special event setting.
Chris Sinclair of The Anchor explains that they had three major focuses that aided The Anchor in achieving its multifaceted mission:
•Spearheading over 300 annual, dynamic free public events, programs and activities; •Orchestrating community initiatives focused on providing opportunities for youth, families and the elderly throughout the Greater Boston region, and;
•Establishing The Anchor as a stylish, beautiful and welcoming venue
As many members of the community have expressed, The Anchor quickly became a cultural fixture known for its varied events, relaxed atmosphere and diverse hospitality offering.
“We were thrilled with the volume of guests that experienced The Anchor,” said Sinclair. “The 2019 season brought well over 100,000 people to the venue and provided an outlet for over 20,000 youth and families.”
Following the conclusion of the 2019 season, Sinclair and his team took a deeper look into who they reached in total last year, and what they found was remarkable. The Anchor’s visitors/patrons were represented by all 50 states and over 40 countries. The venue also welcomed patrons from age 0 to age 103, due to a spirited visit from Charlestown’s eldest resident, Irene Morey.
Thanks to the incredible opportunity and support provided by The Mayor’s Office and the BPDA, The Anthem Group was able to beautify, revitalize and enhance the physical space within all of Shipyard Park, including the venue that is now known as The Anchor.
As demonstrated by the consistent bustle of visitors at The Anchor this past season, the team always had something going on – leaving no surprise when Sinclair stated that The Anchor produced 324 programs, events or activities in total, which consisted of 53 unique programs or event genres.
When asked if there was any particular marquee event, or one that was most notable, Sinclair immediately referenced The Anchor’s “Cookie with a Cop” event hosted this past December. The event was a capstone to The Anchor’s Winter Garden, which featured a vibrant live reading of “The Polar Express” by Boston Police Commissioner, Willie Gross.
The Anchor’s Program Manager, Shelby Elwell expressed, “We welcomed youth and public-school groups from both Charlestown and Dorchester, as well as families stopping by on their own to enjoy the reading. Another dozen police officers, of all ranks, were present to interact with the kids as they decorated holiday cookies, meet with parents, and overall made the event so beloved.”
There was of course plenty to reflect upon during the regular season as well. From live art exhibitions, classes and demonstrations, to their beloved live music series, to a host of other theatrical and comedic performances, The Anchor was known for being so much than just a beer and wine garden.
The Anchor covered a variety of educational and community events as well, such as the “Opioid Crisis Discussion” and the “Talk Small Business Forum” with Mayor Martin Walsh.
Among its many initiatives, The Anchor’s most meaningful program is its community outreach that aspires to provide exposure to new activities, ideas, people and the venue itself to disadvantaged youth, underserved seniors and to all Boston-area families.
The Anchor devoted significant resources and time toward creating a welcoming environment for Charlestown residents outside of the Navy Yard. Through one of the region’s most ambitious and robust public programming campaigns, The Anchor successfully bridged and ultimately closed the gap in between the Charlestown community and Navy Yard geography.
“The community-centric approach is the continuation and expansion of Anthem’s decade-long focus on utilizing its projects as a platform for social good,” said Anthem’s National Event Director Ashley Mercurio, who has spearheaded community projects both at home and globally.
The Anchor team made it a priority to build lasting relationships with local community organizations. The venue regularly collaborated with the Charlestown YMCA for both youth initiatives and a variety of fitness programs, which is incorporated into its Waterfront Wellness Series. Moreover, The Anchor’s leadership placed great emphasis on collaboration with the Charlestown Public Schools. The Harvard Kent kindergarten class kicked off the Winter Garden festivities by decorating The Anchor’s multi-tree holiday display. The Anchor also works closely with the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club along with the USS Constitution and the Constitution Museum on many initiatives.
In keeping with the theme of supporting community organizations and businesses, The Anchor has also dedicated itself to supporting small business ventures whenever possible. In speaking with Elwell, she noted that 77 local or small businesses participated either as a supplier or across five business programs provided by The Anchor.
As many lucky visitors experienced, The Anchor excited the community after concluding its regular season with the unveiling of The Anchor Winter Garden during the 2019 holiday season.
Visitors were truly in awe of The Anchor’s multi-tree display, giant candy canes and everything in between.
“We received an overwhelming amount of praise for our Winter Garden décor, which was in fact entirely hand crafted, fabricated and curated” said Sinclair. The Winter Garden launched with a cheerful celebration, complete with live entertainment and State Rep. Dan Ryan and City Councilor Lydia Edwards doing the honors of lighting the trees.
When asked about how progress and success of the inaugural season was made possible, Sinclair stated that “The Mayor’s Office and the Boston Planning and Development Agency are truly great partners in The Anchor and should be recognized. They have created the opportunity and the initial vision to bring life to the Navy Yard. The City has enabled us to make our shared vision a reality, which has proven to be exciting for all Boston residents, the Charlestown community both inside and outside of the Navy Yard and to provide another popular tourism destination for the millions of visitors to the City”. After concluding its season just before Christmas, The Anchor team looks forward to continuing their work with the City and seeing what 2020 holds