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Transformative Public Art Program

We commission several murals and temporary projects every year as part of the Transformative Public Art Program.

The City of Boston launched the third year of the Transformative Public Art program in 2021 as part of the Joy Agenda.

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Arts and Culture

Latest News

Latest News
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2021 project videos

Billboard Hope
This curated billboard project by Dayenne Walters in John Eliot Square in Roxbury features the work of a different local artist every month.
Cornell Coley
Cornell Coley received a grant to support the production of a series of 3–4 small-band free music concerts at the Mattapan Farmers Market in the summer of 2021.
Jamaica Plain Porchfest
Dunamis received a grant to support Jamaica Plain Porchfest. The event will focus on highlighting BIPOC organizations and creatives who are committed to sharing their art in Jamaica Plain.
Hello World – Hello Boston
TransCultual Exchange received a grant to support the public projection of a video highlighting their Hello World project. The project is an online, local, and international showcase of artists’ works.
Ágora Cultural Architects
Ágora Cultural Architects will host a series of stand-up comedy events. These events will serve as a source of collective healing centered in the expressions of joy and happiness.
Migrations
ANIKAYA will host Migrations. The project engages a public discourse on migration with stories of human migration, the movement of birds, and the sounds of migratory birds in Boston and around the world.
justflyproject
For Jasmine Lee's project justflyproject, she will sew, virtually showcase, and donate a collection of handmade, sustainable, fabric masks. These masks are inspired by various symbols of joy from her culture and community.
FREQUENCIES
Allison Tanenhaus and Maria Finkelmeier's project FREQUENCIES is an interactive multimedia mural. The project will crowdsource and creatively process the sounds and sights of Allston-Brighton.
Kate Martens
Kate Martens received a grant to support the creation of a mural that features houseplants as a metaphor for caregiving, diversity, and joy in Brighton.
Sanative Summer Art Fest
Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation held its inaugural edition of the Sanative Summer Art Fest. The arts festival took place at Oasis @ Bartlett, Nuestra’s new public arts park in Nubian Square.
BCC WE SING
Boston Children's Chorus' received a grant for their summer series, BCC WE SING. The events took place in public parks throughout Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, Chelsea, and Chinatown.
'Rest in Paradise'
KreoLab received a Transformative Public Art Program grant to create a mural called "Rest in Paradise" in Fields Corner. The mural honors Black men, women and young boys that have been killed at the hands of the police in the United States.
Stay a While 2.0
The Roxbury Electric Illumination Company art collective (Mark Schafer and Yvon Augustin) received a grant to support their public light installation in Highland Park.
Tiny Urban Galleries
Kevin Derrick received a Transformative Public Art Program grant to support his Tiny Urban Galleries project. This project will be sited in neighborhoods throughout Boston. The locations can be used as studios, galleries, and performance venues.
'Be Our Conductor!'
Me2/Orchestra received a grant to support "Be Our Conductor!" At the event at Ramsay Park, the public will be able to conduct a string orchestra.
'MassQ Ball 2022: Origin'
Daniel Callahan’s project “MassQ Ball 2022: Origin” is an outdoor, intergenerational, cross-cultural, celebration of the arts and culture of communities of color in Boston.
A HipStoric Beach Bash
HipStory received a grant to support their free event featuring fitness classes, DJs, food trucks, and vendors, all on the beach.
CoVictory Collage
Sheila Novak received a grant to support her project CoVictory Collage. She will conduct a series of interviews and create associated portraits of Boston area gardeners. The project will celebrate members of our community and share their stories.

About the program

Year One

In 2019, we released a call to artists for the first round of the program. We were particularly interested in murals and temporary projects with:

  • social practice
  • participatory artmaking, or
  • educational programming that celebrates the diversity of Boston.

We funded seven projects.


Year Two

We released a call to artists for the second round of the program in April 2020. That year, we were looking for artworks that respond to COVID-19 and provide creative approaches to public connections and community rituals at a time of disorientation and insecurity. We supported projects that were ready to be implemented immediately, and also supported the research and development of future projects.

Proposals could include:
  • New media, including web-based projects, online comics, and virtual reality 
  • Traditional media, including murals 
  • Interior installations or performances visible or audible (or both) to passersby or neighbors
  • Community-engaged cultural practices
  • Social practice, including rituals related to joy, grief, and other human experiences
  • Elements that specifically engage youth or reach non-English speaking communities (or both)

Twenty-four projects were selected as part of last year's Transformative Public Art Program. In addition, two murals that were funded through the first year of the program were completed last summer.

Other temporary public art projects

We commissioned five temporary art projects in Grove Hall in 2017. These projects were part of a City-led initiative to improve the streetscape. We wanted to create an environment that is safe, convenient, and comfortable for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. The projects included: 

  • An interactive Affirmation Station by Chanel Thervil. It was designed to uplift people by gifting them with an affirmation pin to serve as a reminder of hope and positivity.
  • A mural entitled "Afro Futurism/ Breathe Life" by Rob "Problak" Gibbs at 324 Blue Hill Ave.
  • A series of banners entitled "On the Shoulders of Giants" by Laurence Pierce at the Grove Hall Branch of the Boston Public Library.
  • A mural entitled "Powerful Knowledge" by David "DonRimx" Sepulveda at 41 Geneva Ave.
  • A mural entitled "Love Thyself" by Victor "Marka27" Quiñonez on Quincy St. 

"Afro Futurism/Breathe Life" by Rob "Problak" Gibbs
"Afro Futurism/Breathe Life" by Rob "Problak" Gibbs, photo courtesy of Chris Gaines

Year Three

Applications for the third year of the program closed on June 30, 2021. This year, the program was split into three opportunities: 

Opportunity 1

This was for artists interested in creating murals, who were flexible about location. Artists were selected based on:

  • a written proposal
  • their portfolio, and
  • their interests.

The City then matched artists with a site. Projects include: 

  • Murals at the Engagement Center in Newmarket Square by artist Alex Cook and art collective Mz Icar,
  • Three murals at Boston Housing Authority sites by Mattaya Fitts, Cyrille Conan, and Victor 'Marka27' Quiñonez, and
  • A mural at 158 Stratton St. by Melissa Mandel, who will be working in partnership with Youth Lead the Change.
Opportunity 2

This was for artists interested in creating murals that are associated with specific themes or communities identified by the City. Projects include:

  • artist Roberto Chao working with the Hyde Square Task Force and community members to create a mural for Boston’s Latin Quarter in Mozart Park in Jamaica Plain,
  • an artist (to be announced) working with the Boston Parks Department and community members to create a mural honoring the legacy of Malcolm X in Malcolm X Park in Roxbury,
  • an artist (to be announced) working with a consulting team and community members to create a mural proposed by Boston Artist-in-Residence Golden commemorating the legacy of Rita Hester and Transgender Day of Remembrance in Allston, and
  • artist Alex Gerasev working with Age Strong Boston and community members to create a mural at the East Boston Senior Center. 
Opportunity 3

This was for artists with a specific, short-term project and location in mind. Projects could include:

  • new media
  • traditional media
  • installations or performances
  • community-engaged cultural practices
  • social practice, or
  • elements that specifically engage youth or non-English speaking communities, or both. 

Twenty-seven projects received grants totaling $323,950 in this category.

Transformative Public Art Mural Consultant

Mural Consultant

Transformative Public Art Grantees

Transformative Public Art Grantees
Now projects - $5000
Now Projects - $2500
Now Projects - $1000
Later Projects - $500
Nick Cave with Now + There

Received $20,000 for the multimedia public art project "Augment".

Rob 'Problak' Gibbs 

Received $15,000 to create a mural in Roxbury.

Victor 'Marka27' Quiñonez with Street Theory Gallery 

Received $15,000 to create a mural in Newmarket.

Brian Beyung with the Chinese Historical Society of New England

Received $10,000 to create a mural in Chinatown. 

Samantha Fields

Received $5,000 for the performative project "desires not even our own".

MASARY Studios 

Received $5,000 to create "Water's Edge", a live music and projection piece in East Boston.

Levi Bedall with Pneuhaus 

Received $5,000 to create a sculpture project in the Back Bay.

Watch: Back to the Essence mural project
Credit: Arts and Culture

"Tale of an Ancient Vase", by Brian Beyung (2019 Transformative Public Art Project)

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