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A Canvas of Culture: Murals at Boston Public Schools

Last updated:

Update: The Call to Artists is now open! Apply by Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 11:59 p.m. ET.

We’re commissioning public art at Boston Public Schools through the Percent for Art fund. Are you interested in creating artwork for a school? Here's how to apply:

Step
1

Who can apply?

This Call is open to all professional artists and artist teams—local, national, and international—with a strong preference for those who have a connection to Boston and/or the overall themes of individual sites.

Step
2

What are the sites?

In this Call to Artists, we present two distinct opportunities. We encourage you to thoroughly explore the details and consider the project that aligns most closely with your interests, experience, and creative vision.

  • Opportunity 1 : Selected Schools
    • For Opportunity 1, we issued a Call for Walls - in Boston Public Schools, and carefully selected 8 project sites across 7 eligible schools. Each school is ready and excited to work with artists and our team! While we've currently identified these sites, we may expand or modify the number of sites. Artwork will be installed this Summer/Fall of 2024, with some projects extending into Spring/Summer of 2025. 
  • Opportunity 2 : William E. Carter School
    • For Opportunity 2, we are excited to collaborate closely with the Public Facilities Department, BPS, and the Carter Schoola new and updated facility that will include a therapeutic pool, sensory garden, rooftop classroom, and better spaces designed specifically for students with disabilities and complex learning needs.
    • We are seeking professional artists or artist teams with a keen interest and experience in crafting 2D public art projects that are both research-informed and tailored to the unique needs of the Carter School’s student population and communities. Priority and preference will be given to artists who can demonstrate their ability to create art with a deep understanding of the community's diverse communication abilities and sensory needs. We're also looking for artists who can skillfully weave vibrant, engaging, and inspiring narratives related to civil and disability rights into their artwork.
Step
1

Read the FAQs

We hosted two Q&A sessions for this program and accepted written questions through an online form. If you have a question, see if it has already been answered below!

Step
2

Gather your application materials

To respond to the Call to Artists, prepare the materials listed below and submit through our online application page, found HERE.

Artist Description

  • Bio, resume, CV, or other documents that describe the artist’s background and experience. If submitting as a team, please identify the team leader and include information for ALL team members. Five files maximum; PDF, DOC, or DOCX. 

Community Engagement Plan 

  • A few sentences that describe your approach on school and community engagement for the site(s) you’re interested in.

Statement of Interest and Initial Project Concept (500 words or less)

  • Narrative describing an initial artistic concept for this site, why you’re interested in this opportunity, what connection you have to the site and/ or neighborhood, and any specific or unique processes you might use for the project. 

Relevant Work Samples

  • Up to ten images of completed past work that you feel is relevant to this site. Completed works are defined as projects that have been installed and/or actualized, not renderings or proposals. One image per file; jpg, tiff, or MP4 file types; limit videos to two minutes or less. NOTE: including drawings or designs made specifically for this application or site will lead to disqualification. 

Annotated Image List

  • An annotated image list with title, media, dimensions, location, date, brief description, your role in the project (lead, assistant, etc.) and any other information that might be relevant. For collaborative artwork, clearly identify the work that belongs to each artist. PDF, Doc, or DOCX.

Itemized Budget

  • A preliminary budget of project expenses. You can use the template provided in the appendices, which start on page [no.]. PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLX, or XLXS.

Diversity & Inclusion Plan

  • Please describe the efforts that you have taken, or will take, to ensure that your selection of subcontractors and suppliers for this contract will be meaningfully open to such companies. If you will not utilize subcontractors and suppliers on this particular contract, please describe any efforts or practices of your company over the past two years that demonstrate a practice of making subcontracting and supplier opportunities available to such companies.

All response and information submitted in response to this Call to Artists are subject to the Massachusetts public record law, Mass. Gen. Laws c. 66, s. 10, and Mass. Gen. Laws c. 4. s. 7(26), and will become property of the City. 

Step
3

Submit your application

  • Call released: Wednesday, February 7, 2024, 1 p.m. ET.
  • Call closes: Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 11:59 p.m. ET.

Apply here

About the Program

Mural on an exterior wall of Madison Park’s Nelson Mandela Community Center located at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Roxbury, MA .
Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs, Breathe Life 2, 2020. BCYF Madison Park in Roxbury, MA. Image credit: G. Ortiz Photography.

The Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture (MOAC) is thrilled to introduce a mural initiative that integrates large-scale murals and other public art projects at capital improvement sites throughout the city and in schools all across Boston’s neighborhoods. In its inaugural year, the initiative will concentrate on sites at Boston Public Schools – connecting artists whose artworks aim to amplify the aesthetic, cultural, social, and educational richness of schools while adding vibrancy to our city’s landscape. 

2023-2024 Program Vision and Goals
  • Integrate public art in schools
  • Bring Percent for Art funded projects to Boston neighborhoods 
  • Support and empower diverse artists 
Types of public art projects we are funding: 
  • Medium to large scale exterior and interior hand-painted 2D murals 
  • Vinyl mural applications 
  • Mural mosaics 

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

Yes, all artists and artist teams are expected to carry their own insurance. The budgets have been set to support this requirement. 

Insurance Requirements

The City of Boston and Street Theory, Inc. require insurance coverage in place for contractors to protect the City, Consultant, and the Contractor. The Contractor shall maintain during the term of the Contract, at his expense, all insurance required by the applicable laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and insurance required in this section. Insurance will be issued by licensed insurance companies with a current Best’s rating of A- VII or above. Evidence of insurance requirements will be provided on Acord Form 25 Insurance Certificates after being awarded the contract, with renewal certificates delivered 30 days prior to the expiration of the preceding policy. These requirements shall not be construed to limit the liability of the Contractor or its insurers.

The amounts and types of insurance required may be modified by the City if it is determined they do not provide adequate coverage. The minimum insurance requirements are:

  • Commercial General Liability for Bodily Injury and Property Damage, on an Occurrence Form, naming the City of Boston and Street Theory, Inc. as Additional Insured, including Premises/Operations, Products/Completed Operations Liability, Contractual, Broad Form Property Damage, and Personal/Advertising Injury for one million ($1,000,000) per occurrence and two million ($2,000,000) annual aggregate limit per project per location.
  • Workmen’s Compensation insurance as required under General Laws c.152 (the Workmen’s Compensation Law) and including employer’s liability limits of one million ($1,000,000) per accident and per employee for the disease. This type of insurance is not required if the contractor will only use volunteers or casual employees in the contract and will hold the City harmless for any personal injuries.
  • Automotive liability insurance to cover the artist while traveling and transporting materials be traveling to and from the site, if required the City will mandates a automotive liability coverage for $250,000/accident for property damage, $250,000/per person, $500,000/ accident for bodily injury for any vehicle used in performance of Contract including but not limited to personal transportation.

The City’s general conditions for Insurance are:

  • The City of Boston and Street Theory, Inc. will be named as Additional Insured on all policies except Workers’ Compensation and Employer’s Liability.
  • Above insurance shall be primary and noncontributory over any such insurance available to the City of Boston, its officials, employees, and volunteers.
  • Waiver of Subrogation will be included as respects all coverages listed above in favor of the City of Boston. 
  • All policies will be endorsed to provide thirty days written notice to the certificate holder, the City of Boston, in the event of cancellation, non-renewal or material changes in coverage.

We’re requesting any relevant information about the artist and their team members that showcases their professional experience. This includes but is not limited to a biography, CV, resumes, etc. 

The project aims to have all installations completed before schools resume this Fall 2024.

Yes, artists can apply as a lead applicant even if they are part of another artist's team or involved with other lead applicants.

Artists may consider the need for pressure washing as part of their site preparation, depending on the conditions of the site. Additionally, each site will require prepping and priming with a base coat/primer to ensure the artwork adheres well and lasts longer. This preparation step is crucial for achieving the best possible outcome for your artwork, so please include these considerations in your budget planning if necessary.

Independent artists are required to assemble their own teams capable of executing the work in its entirety. The City will not provide teams to artists.

Artists interested in multiple sites should fill out a separate budget template for each site. Submittable allows for up to three budget uploads, accommodating artists applying for multiple locations.

Artists are encouraged to conduct their own research to find suitable fabricators and installers for their projects. However, Artaic, a mosaic tile fabricator located in Charlestown, MA is a fabricator we’ve worked with in the past.

The Carter School is currently in construction. The projects at the Carter School are expected to be completed by Spring 2025. 

We are asking artists to share their approach to involving the schools and surrounding communities in the development of their artwork, not for the installation. Our call requires  a minimum 2 engagement sessions and we’re interested in learning unique ways that artists will facilitate the engagements.

Yes, artists can specify in their application narrative which sites they have concepts for or feel a special connection to. However, it's important to note that expressing interest in specific sites does not guarantee placement there. The MOAC team, in collaboration with school teams, will determine placements based on the best fit between the artist's vision and the site's needs.

No, applicants should not submit multiple applications. We request only one submission per artist. In the concept/narrative portion of your submission, you may indicate your interest in specific schools. This streamlined approach ensures a focused and efficient review process, allowing artists to clearly communicate their preferences and ideas within a single application.

Your portfolio helps us understand prior public art experiences as well as your artistic abilities across various themes, aesthetics, and composition. Artists are welcome to submit relevant works, including studio work and any public artwork you have completed.

Yes, artists can express interest in more than three sites. However, we encourage artists to focus on the sites they feel most connected to. This helps to inform us about your creative and community approach. Again, artists may or may not be placed at the sites they select. 

Yes, budgets have been carefully set to cover all project and installation costs such as scaffolding and/or lift machinery. 

Yes, artists can apply to both Opportunity 1 and Opportunity 2 within the same submission.

Yes, we understand that the budgets are preliminary and allow for changes based on the needs of the artists and project. 

We will consider other school sites and city buildings for future installations of this initiative. Only sites that are undergoing capital improvement or new construction can be considered for eligibility. 

We are currently exploring installation logistics at this site.

The call is for "professional artists and artist teams" so any youth group would have to be part of an artist team with a professional artist as the lead applicant, to qualify.

The dimensions provided in the RFP are approximate. In the event of any discrepancies, the budget allocated for the site will remain as originally specified and will not be adjusted based on the actual dimensions.

Please adhere to the 500-word limit on the Submittable form. Unfortunately, additional materials sent outside of the Submittable platform, including via email, will not be considered as part of the application.

Artist commissions for these projects are structured in three payments. These payments are not reimbursements but are scheduled as part of the contract agreement to support the project's progress.

Selected artists will be expected to manage their own budgets, aiming to adhere as closely as possible to the preliminary budget submitted with their application.

Artists should plan for and describe any and all site prep needs, accordingly. We understand that there may be changes as the project develops.

Notice of Accommodations

English: Interpretation, translation, and disability accommodation services are available to you at no cost. If you need them, please contact us at (liza.quinonez@boston.gov) LCA@boston.gov or (617-635-4445)  by:(2/9/2023)                                 

Spanish - Español: Hay servicios de interpretación, traducción y adaptaciones para discapacidades a su disposición sin costo alguno. Si los necesita, por favor póngase en contacto con nosotros mandando un correo electrónico a (liza.quinonez@boston.gov), LCA@boston.gov o llamando a (617-635-4445), hasta esta fecha: (9/2/2023)        

Haitian Creole -Kreyòl ayisyen:  Sèvis entèpretasyon, tradiksyon, ak sèvis akomodasyon pou andikape disponib pou ou gratis. Si w bezwen sèvis sa yo, tanpri kontakte nou nan (liza.quinonez@boston.gov) LCA@boston.gov oswa (617-635-4445), ant:  (9/2/2023)         

Traditional Chinese - 繁體中文:  我們可以為您提供免費的口譯, 筆譯, 和殘疾人士合理照顧服務。如有需要,請在(2023/2/9) XX 月 YY 日, 前與我們連絡,發電子郵件至 (liza.quinonez@boston.gov)  LCA@boston.gov 或致電 (617-635-4445)

Vietnamese - Tiếng Việt: Các dịch vụ thông dịch, dịch thuật và hỗ trợ người khuyết tật được cung cấp miễn phí cho bạn. Nếu bạn cần họ, vui lòng liên lạc với chúng tôi theo địa chỉ (liza.quinonez@boston.gov) LCA@boston.gov hoặc (617-635-4445) trước ngày: (9/2/2023)   

Simplified Chinese -  简体中文:  我们可以为您提供免费的口译, 笔译, 和残疾人士合理照顾服务。如有需要,请在(2023/2/9)月 日 前与我们联系, 发电子邮件至(liza.quinonez@boston.gov) LCA@boston.gov  或致电 (617-635-4445)

Cabo Verdean Creole - kriolu:  Nu ta oferese-bu sirvisus di interpretason, traduson y sirvisus di komodason pa gentis ku difisénsia di grasa. Si bu meste kes sirvisu la, kontata-nu pa email (liza.quinonez@boston.gov)  LCA@boston.gov  ó pa telefóni, pa númeru (617-635-4445). Na es data:(9/2/2023)    

Arabic - العربية

خدمات الترجمة الشفوية والتحريرية والتسهيلات لذوي الإعاقة متوفرة لك دون تحملك أي تكلفة. إذا احتجت لهذه الخدمات، يرجى التواصل معنا على البريد الألكتروني (liza.quinonez@boston.gov) ،(LCA@boston.gov)، أو على رقم الهاتف 617-635-4445 بحلول يوم (2023/2/9 .

Russian -Русский: Услуги устного и письменного перевода и по приспособлению инвалидов предоставляются бесплатно. Если Вам они нужны, просьба связаться с нами по адресу электронной почты (liza.quinonez@boston.gov) LCA@boston.gov либо по телефону (617-635-4445) до (9/2/2023)

Portuguese - Português: Disponibilizamos serviços de tradução e interpretação e adaptações especiais para pessoas com deficiências gratuitamente. Para solicitar, envie e-mail para (liza.quinonez@boston.gov) , LCA@boston.gov ou ligue para (617-635-4445) até o dia (9/2/2023)

French - Français: Les services d'interprétation, de traduction et d'adaptation aux personnes handicapées sont à votre disposition gratuitement. Si vous en avez besoin, veuillez nous contacter à (liza.quinonez@boston.gov) , LCA@boston.gov ou au (617-635-4445), d'ici au:(9/2/2023)  

Somali - Af Soomaali: Adeegyada tarjumaadda luuqadaha iyo hoyga naafada ayaa diyaar kuu ah adiga oo aan wax kharash ah ka bixin. Haddii aad u baahatid iyaga, fadlan nagala soo xiriir (liza.quinonez@boston.gov) , LCA@boston.gov ama (617-635-4445) markay taariikhdu tahay: (9/2/2023)

 

  • Need to know:

    Question-and-answer sessions: Have now passed. Check the FAQ section of this page or reach out with any questions!

    Deadline: Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 11:59 p.m. (EST).

  • Project Information

    Project Phase: Call to Artists

    Partner: Boston Public Schools

  • Project Contact

    Liza Quiñonez (she/her)

    liza.quinonez@boston.gov

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