OUTSIDE THE BOX FESTIVAL CELEBRATES THE ARTS IN MASSACHUSETTS

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(Caption: Shea Rose is performing at Outside the Box on Sunday, July 19) Photo Courtesy of MOTT

If anyone needs reminding of the power of the arts to inspire, enlighten, engage and entertain, then make your way to the Outside the Box Performing Arts Festival on Boston Common this weekend to understand why arts and culture are celebrated here in Massachusetts.

Over 70 performers are appearing at the nation’s oldest public park (1634) in downtown Boston on multiple stages, tents, lawns and walkways, providing some of the best live music, dance and theater you’ll hear this summer. See full schedule here.

And best of all, Outside the Box is free.

In fact, Outside the Box is just one of hundreds of free activities taking place across the Bay State this summer. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) just released its Wicked Free Summer Fun calendar of over 400 free activities of interest to visitors and residents alike. They range from free concerts, museum visits and walking tours to outdoor movies, beaches and food festivities. The events are divided into six regions for easy access.

The visionary behind Outside the Box is Ted Cutler, a Dorchester native and Emerson College alumnus who is one of the city’s most involved philanthropists. A musician, bandleader and impresario himself, Ted’s appreciation of arts and culture inspired him, along with his late wife Joan, to envision, organize and finally present Outside The Box, now in its second year.

“The arts have the power to inspire people of all ages, from all backgrounds. But to be inspired, individuals must have both access and exposure,” he said.

“That’s where Outside The Box comes in. We want to bring a community together, in a celebration of all the arts has to offer. Come for one performance and you may end up staying for five, and returning throughout the week. We want to expose people to acts they never imagined.”

Nationally known acts like Gin Blossoms, contestants from the hit TV show The Voice, Guster and Kacey Musgraves are the headliners of this year’s festival, and receiving their rightful share of attention.

But what is most impressive about the festival is the scope, diversity and breadth of the local performers who really make Outside the Box an authentic Boston event. The Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Bill Banfield and the Jazz Urbane, Boston Lyric Opera and the Boston Ballet School are just some of the local institutions performing at Outside the Box.

The final day of the festival, Sunday, July 19 offers a nice showcase of Boston-based artists, says spokeswoman Erin Callanan, including “Will Dailey, Shea Rose, Ruby Rose Fox, Bad Rabbits and Air Traffic Controller – all local bands on the verge of big things.”

For more information about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com