This project was the second public art project that the City commissioned for the renovated Roxbury Branch. The first commission is an original artwork called "R-O-X-B-U-R-Y" by Joe Wardwell, in collaboration with local poet Nakia Hill and youth writers at the YLAB at 826 Boston. It overlooks the central collections space and was installed in January 2022.
The budget for this project was $150,000. The call to artists was for a permanent artwork. It was open to national and international artists, with a strong preference for artists connected to Roxbury.
The Boston Art Commission approved the selection of Jeremy "Sobek" Harrison for the project. It was installed in the fall of 2022.
In their narrative proposal, artists and artist teams responding to this call were encouraged to consider:
- the recent renaming of the building where the Roxbury Branch of the Boston Public Library is located and the neighborhood to Nubian Square
- the library’s featured African-American collection, and
- the theme of economic justice.
The site is located in the library's main entrance, housing the African-American collection. The wall is approximately 12 feet by 8 feet, and is visible from the front entrance along Dudley Street.
The selection committee sought submissions that:
- aligned with the curatorial vision of the Boston Art Commission
- showed consideration of the neighborhood, site, and theme
- showcased a strong, original artistic vision, and
- demonstrated experience in public art that meets the expectations for this commission.