Ruggles Street is a dynamic corridor stretching southeast from Ruggles Station to Washington Street in Nubian Square. Nubian Square is a historic Boston neighborhood. It's in the heart of the Roxbury Cultural District, which celebrates Roxbury's rich arts and cultural assets.
The Public Works Department’s Ruggles Street Project seeks to:
- increase pedestrian safety and accessibility
- calm traffic and improve bike facilities
- preserve trees and increase greenscape, and
- add ornamental street lighting, among other improvements.
At a series of public meetings in 2018 and 2019, community members advocated strongly for public art. They expressed a preference for wayfinding signage, artistic seating options, and other elements of integrated public art.
The City has identified multiple potential sites for artwork along the corridor. These sites are based on the current corridor design. Sites are subject to change as the design is further developed.
In addition to this project, artists were encouraged to be aware of:
- a public art project underway at Dewitt Playground at Madison Park Athletic Complex
- an upcoming call for artists for a gateway sculpture at the Tremont/ Ruggles Street intersection
- several existing murals and an new mural project at Madison Park Technical and Vocational High School, and
- several existing artworks throughout the corridor, including the iconic sculpture “Helion” by Robert Amory.
This project has a budget of $300,000. The artworks should:
- foster a sense of connectivity in the corridor
- reflect the fabric of the existing neighborhood, and
- complement existing and in-process design and public art.
Artists experienced in collaboration both with other design teams and a wide variety of communities were strongly encouraged to apply. We also encouraged artists to consider the following themes proposed by residents and stakeholders:
- Celebrate heritage: Roxbury is a historic Boston neighborhood with a long and unique history. The residents of the neighborhood feel the heritage of Roxbury should be celebrated throughout the corridor.
- Keep the place: The artwork should reflect the existing aesthetic of the neighborhood. Ruggles Street is a strong connecting corridor between two popular transit stations, Ruggles Street Station and Nubian (formerly Dudley) Station.
- Honor the people: Roxbury is in a period of rapid change. Displacement of long-term residents and the related loss of cultural identity are primary concerns for the community.
The City of Boston commissioned artist Jenny Sabin for the project.