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Artists selected to carry out three permanent public art projects in Roxbury

These three projects are 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. 

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Art Commission, today announced three artists/teams have been selected to carry out permanent public art projects in Roxbury. Team P.L.A.Y. (Marlon Forrester and Studio Luz Architects, Ltd.) was commissioned for Dewitt Playground, Casto Solano Marroyo was commissioned for the Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) Vine Street Community Center, and Joe Wardwell was commissioned for the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library.

"Roxbury has played such a vital role in Boston's arts and culture scene for many years, so it's great to be able to bring several new pieces of public art to this community," said Mayor Walsh. "By integrating artwork into these public spaces, we're making them more welcoming, vibrant and reflective of the surrounding community."

These three projects are 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. The total budget for these three projects is $650,000.

The City of Boston selected Team P.L.A.Y. for the Dewitt Playground public art project. Their team is made up of Boston-based artist and lecturer Marlon Forrester and Studio Luz Architects, Ltd. (SLA), led by Principals Hansy Better Barraza and Anthony Piermarini. This permanent public artwork will complement a $1.8 million renovation of Dewitt Playground, at the corner of Ruggles Street and Dewitt Drive and adjacent to the Madison Park High School Athletic Field Complex in Roxbury. 

Marlon Forrester, artist selected for Dewitt Playground public art project
Photo: Marlon Forrester, Artist selected to carry out BCYF Vine Street Center exterior public art project.


Hansy Better Barraza of Studio Luz Architects
Photo: Hansy Better Barraza of Studio Luz Architects, selected to carry out BCYF Vine Street Center exterior public art project.


Anthony Piermarini of Studio Luz Architects
Photo: Anthony Piermarini of Studio Luz Architects, selected to carry out BCYF Vine Street exterior public art project.

The renovation, which is part of the Whittier Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan, includes additional activity areas and amenities for all ages, improved lighting, and a stage that can be used for activities such as movie nights and farmers' markets. The City has identified several potential locations for the artwork, including the basketball courts, the barrier between the full and half basketball courts, fencing along Dewitt Street, and other walkways or surfaces. 

Casto Solano Marroyo's project at BCYF Vine Street Community Center is the first of two permanent public art projects at the center, and will be installed on the landscaped area in front of the center in 2020. The second call was for designs for interior two-dimensional artwork, and the selected artist will be announced soon.

Photo of Casto Solano, artist selected for BCYF Vine Street public art project
Artist Casto Solano Marroyo, photo courtesy of the artist. 

"My life's passions are my family and my art, and through them I know that my job as an artist is, quite simply, to find ways to connect us to each other and the places where we live and grow. This is why I am so, so thrilled to have been chosen to create a new artwork for BCYF Vine Street," said Casto Solano Marroyo. "I look forward to contributing to the future of both the neighborhood and the city with an artwork which, rather than being mine, will belong to all those who surround it: those who fill it with life, love and color."

The BCYF Vine Street Community Center public art projects complement the $5.3 million renovation of the center, which included the addition of a fitness center, expansion of the teen center, installation of air conditioning in the gym, and improving overall access to the center.The renovation is a part of the Mayor's $37 million FY20-FY24 Capital Plan investment in BCYF facilities. 

Joe Wardwell's project at the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library is the first of two Percent for Art projects that the City of Boston is commissioning as part of the $17.2 million renovation of the library, which was included as part of Mayor Walsh's Imagine Boston 2030 Capital Plan. The library is scheduled to reopen in 2020 with a fully modernized facility, including a new welcome area overlooking a redesigned plaza, improved visibility and openness, dedicated space for children, teens, and adults, a nutrition lab and learning lab, refreshed collections, and more.

Photo of Joe Wardwell, artist selected for Dudley Branch Library public art project
Artist Joe Wardwell, photo courtesy of the artist.

The call to artists for the second public art project at the library will be released soon. It is focused on graphics and images to be reproduced and fabricated by a design team for inside the library. 

"This is a very exciting time for public art in Boston, and I'm looking forward to seeing how these projects contribute to Roxbury's identity, and the community's relationship with the neighborhood," said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture. "We're excited to keep this momentum going and bring more public art to every neighborhood in the City through this program."

Building on his continued support of arts and culture in the City of Boston, Mayor Walsh dedicated over $2.5 million in funding in the past year toward arts programming, including support for 220 different arts organizations, more than 200 individual artists, and more than 90 free arts experiences for all residents to enjoy. 

Over the next five years, the City is committing $13.4 million to the Percent for Art program, an initiative of Boston Creates, the City's first cultural plan that aims to integrate arts and culture into all aspects of civic life. This, combined with $80,000 for temporary public art projects in the next year and several new City staff positions, is the most funding the City has ever dedicated to public art. 

To learn more about the City's public art projects currently underway, visit here.

About Team P.L.A.Y.

Marlon Forrester, born in Guyana, South America, is an artist and educator raised in Boston, MA. Forrester is a graduate of School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, B.A 2008 and Yale School of Art, M.F.A. 2010. He served as adjunct professor at School of The Museum of Fine Arts Boston. He is a resident artist at African-American Masters Artist Residency Program (AAMARP) adjunct to the Department of African-American Studies in association with Northeastern University. He has shown both internationally and nationally, concerned with the corporate use of the black body, or the body as logo, Forrester's paintings, drawings, sculptures, and multimedia works reflect meditations on the black figure in America.Studio Luz Architects is an agile, forward-thinking practice that strives to integrate social responsibility and sustainable practices with built architectural expression. The firm was founded by architects Hansy Better Barraza and Anthony Piermarini in 2002 and is based in Boston. Their projects and practice have been widely recognized, receiving international honors including the Architectural Record Design Vanguard Award, Architectural League of New York Young Architect's Award, a Progressive Architecture Award, Boston's Design Biennial, multiple AIA Design Excellence Awards and the Chicago Athenaeum's American Architecture Award. 

About Casto Solano Marroyo

Casto Solano Marroyo is a Basque artist who began his artistic trajectory as a student of both Fine Arts and Industrial & Electronic Engineering. In 1984 he was awarded his first public commission, and installed his sculpture, 'Freedom', on the streets of the Basque Autonomous Region's capital city, Vitoria-Gasteiz. A series of high-profile commissions in Spain followed, leading to the creation of signature public artworks in the cities of Bilbao, Vitoria, Madrid, Valencia and Burgos to name but a few. Casto has created signature artworks for high-profile public commissions in the cities of Vancouver, Seattle, Saint Paul, and Spruce Grove AB. Casto's art encompasses a philosophy of discovery and optimism, and often focuses on the depth of our connections to each other and the land we live on via explorations of history, ecology and our community heritage. 

About Joe Wardwell

Joe Wardwell is currently an Associate Professor of Painting at Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) where he founded the Brandeis-in-Siena program in 2015. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Art History, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting in 1996 from the University of Washington (Seattle, WA). In 1999, he received a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Boston University (Boston, MA).  Currently on view through 2022, Wardwell has a large scale wall drawing commissioned for the renovation of building 6 at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum (Lincoln, MA) and Wardwell's work is in each collection. In 2012, Wardwell was a recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant for Painting and was recently awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Creative Arts at Boston University. In addition to numerous group exhibitions throughout the region, he has held solo exhibitions in New York, New Haven, Boston, and Seattle. In 2020, Wardwell will exhibit in New York with the Frosch and Portmann gallery in the Lower East Side.  His work is represented in Boston by the LaMontagne Gallery (Boston, MA). Wardwell lives with his family in Jamaica Plain and his studio is in Dorchester.

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