In August 2016, the City of Boston released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the public art project. The project was a collaboration between:
- the Public Works Department (PWD)
- the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC)
- the Boston Art Commission (BAC)
- Hyde Square Task Force
- Three Squares Main Street, and
- local residents.
The budget for the public art project is $300,000. The City selected artists Cristina Parreño and Amin Tadj to carry out the project. It is expected to be installed in late spring 2022.
The project complements the reconstruction of Hyde Square at the intersection of Centre Street, Perkins Street, and Day Street. Enhancements include:
- increased sidewalk widths
- traffic and pedestrian safety improvements
- new lighting, and
A major goal of this project is to create a sense of place and enhance the public realm with artwork.
Based on community feedback, the City asked artists to submit proposals for artwork that celebrates the multigenerational and diverse populations and cultures of Hyde Square. At public meetings held to discuss this project, individuals valued the neighborhood's positivity, desirability, access to green space and nature, and diversity. The community also expressed values that they think are important to the neighborhood:
- freedom of expression
- investment in the community
- resistance to gentrification
- amenable to families, and
- face-to-face interactions between neighbors.
About the artwork
The artwork is titled, "Deep Time Stories of Jamaica Plain." It's an urban storytelling device. It explores methods of “deep time intervention” and how these can leave lasting legacies in a public space. The artists developed three artifacts for the site. These correspond to the Square’s three main points. Each artifact is a different material combination that acts as a medium for storytelling.
The first artifact, "Future Fossil", is an earth-casting piece. It is meant to transmit stories at a:
- human scale through oral storytelling, and
- a geological scale through fossils from this area that are cast in place.
The content is being developed with the Jamaica Plain-based organization Story Club Boston.
The second artifact is "Story Rock". The material is one of the first canvases that humans ever used for writing, stone. A variety of stories of this place will be carved in a big Roxbury conglomerate stone. The stone has been in Jamaica Plain for the past 600 million years.
The third artifact, "New Immortals", is a message to the future. The material of the whole base here is plastiglomerate. Plastiglomerate is a new type of rock announced in 2014 by the geological society of America. Here, plastiglomerate becomes an emblem of the intersection of human and geological processes.