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Artist Destiny Palmer selected for public art project in Roxbury

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Arts and Culture

Destiny Palmer’s project at BCYF Vine Street is the second public art project at the center.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Art Commission, today announced artist Destiny Palmer has been selected to create public art for the interior of the BCYF Vine Street Community Center in Roxbury. 

“Having Destiny’s artwork become a permanent fixture at BCYF Vine Street is a great way to celebrate the incredible talent and creativity that exists within Boston,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m excited for the completed artwork, and I look forward to seeing how visitors to the center are influenced by the piece.”

Photo of artist Destiny Palmer, courtesy of the artist.

Destiny Palmer’s project at BCYF Vine Street is the second public art project at the center. This call was for permanent, two-dimensional artwork that will be located inside the center. Casto Solano was selected to create a piece of public art on the landscaped area in front of the center. Both pieces are expected to be installed in 2021.

In 2018, Mayor Walsh and members of the community celebrated the opening of the renovated BCYF Vine Street Community Center in Roxbury. The $5.3 million dollar renovation was a part of the Mayor's $50 million FY19-FY23 Capital Plan investment in BCYF facilities. Upgrades included renovating and reconfiguring all interior spaces, adding a fitness center, expanding the teen center, improving access to the center, adding air conditioning to the gym, and much more. 

“I am always interested in creating art for and with communities,” said Destiny Palmer. “As an artist, being a conduit of ideas on behalf of a community is an honor. Any space where creativity can live is an opportunity to have dialogue.

Photo: A mural by Destiny Palmer created for Gallivan Community Center and supported by Lifewater in 2019, courtesy of the artist.

There are three qualities of BCYF Vine Street and the surrounding neighborhood that applicants were encouraged to consider when applying for the project:

  • Community - BCYF Vine Street has created a space where various communities can gather, play and learn, and reflecting the diversity of membership is a primary goal for the artwork.
  • Multi-generational use - The center has robust programming for children and teens, but also has dedicated space for senior activities and programs that attract all ages and abilities.
  • Health and wellness - As much of the programming for BCYF focuses on active living for all ages, artwork that reflects or engages the existing culture of wellness and physical activity would be appropriate for this site.

While BCYF Vine Street has significantly reduced its programming due to COVID-19, the center is open for pre-registered in-person and remote youth programming. The site also serves as a youth meal pick-up location. Learn more about BCYF programming during COVID-19 here.

This project is funded through the City of Boston’s Percent for Art program, which allocates one percent of the City's annual capital borrowing budget for the commissioning of public art. This program is an initiative of Boston Creates, the City’s first cultural plan that aims to integrate arts and culture into all aspects of civic life.The budget for the project is $9,999.

In 2019, the City committed to allocating $13.4 million to the Percent for Art program over the next five years. This, combined with $80,000 for temporary public art projects and several new City staff positions, was the most funding the City has ever dedicated to public art. 

“Destiny has contributed to Boston’s arts and culture scene as an artist and educator for many years, and we’re so excited to introduce a new work of hers to Roxbury,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega. “I hope this piece inspires those of all ages who visit the center to express themselves creatively and share their work with the city.”

To learn more about this project and other public art projects happening throughout the city, visit here.

About Destiny Palmer

Destiny Palmer currently is working at Thayer Academy and most recently was an Assistant Professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Palmer is trained as a painter but her work explores the intersections of painting, history and color, allowing it to blur the lines of painting, sculpture and installation. Palmer has participated in exhibitions at Antenna Gallery, The Colored Girls Museum, Automat Collective, Ely Center for the Arts, Vandermoot Gallery, Landmark College. Palmer has hosted workshops at The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts. Most recently Palmer was invited to speak on her relationship to Hans Hofmann at the Peabody Essex Museum. 

Palmer explores and investigates what it means to be an artist, educator and advocate for the arts. She has worked with various communities to create public art projects ranging from traditional murals to community engaged/lead mural to digitally created murals. Palmer has worked with MIT, Lifewtr, Saxby’s and Mural Arts Philadelphia. Some of her murals can be found at the Gallivan Community Center in Mattapan, Kendall Square Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Navy Yard in Philadelphia. Creating art in public realms has been a focus for Destiny. Palmer received her Master’s of Fine Arts in Painting from Tyler School of Art at Temple University and Bachelors in Fine Art in Painting at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Destiny was co-founder of Traditions Remixed, an artist collective whose goal is to create a supportive community for young artists, especially artists of color, encouraging collaboration and networking.