For years, news anchor Maria Stephanos has been the voice of reason and calm to Bostonians as she anchors WCVB Channel 5’s newscasts at 7 and 11 p.m.—she's also been a longstanding supporter of the city’s art programs. We spoke with Stephanos ahead of the Boston Center for the Arts’ inaugural gala on June 4 about the city’s growing culture scene as she toured the 2.4-acre multi-arts campus alongside the center’s chief of staff and acting CEO, Kristi Keefe, and Emily Foster Day, vice president of development.
News anchor Maria Stephanos at the Boston Center for the Arts.
How have you seen the culture scene in Boston grow over the years? MARIA STEPHANOS: I lived in the city in the late 1980s and '90s, and it was a more conservative then—you had to really dig deep to find avant-garde theater and contemporary visual arts. Now Boston is really leading the way in arts and culture. Boston Center for the Arts is a huge part of that evolution because of its focus on supporting and nurturing working artists, both visual and performing artists.
Where does Boston’s arts scene need to continue to grow? MS: Boston needs to focus on keeping artists in Boston by giving them the resources and support they need to be successful here, and by placing a high value on their work and contribution to our community. The BCA has become a leader in this effort with its residency programs for performing and visual artists.
How has the BCA aided in making Boston a world-class city for culture and the arts? MS: The BCA is hands-down the most unique contributor to the culture and arts scene in Boston. It is an incubator for emerging visual artists, choreographers, curators, and small theater companies. Most important, the BCA connects the community to the arts and artists.
Has your job as a news anchor impacted how you see the art world? MS: As a TV journalist and anchor, I report on some pretty horrific stories. I find the arts to be a perfect escape from the tough nature of my work. And being married to an artist is the reason I never say no to the arts. Art provides an opportunity to see the beauty and creativity in life.
What surprised you most as you toured the BCA? MS: It’s huge; it stretches almost an entire block of Tremont Street in the South End and includes five theater spaces, 50 artist studios, a gallery, and the amazing and historic Cyclorama. I was enchanted. I had no idea that all of this was going in here, that it is all part of one nonprofit—the Boston Center for the Arts. It is the only multi-disciplinary arts campus in Boston that's completely focused on giving artists the space and support to make exciting new work, and it’s right at our doorstep. When you visit the BCA, you feel the bones of Boston’s history come together with the artists of the future. It's really cool.
What’s next for you at the BCA? MS: My husband and I will be attending the inaugural BCA Ball on June 4. It will be a fun disco party!