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Artists selected for public art projects at Boston Arts Academy and East Boston Police Station


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Arts and Culture

Artists have been selected for three long-term public art projects funded by the City of Boston's Percent for Art program.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts in Culture, in partnership with the Boston Art Commission, Boston Public Schools, the Public Facilities Department, and the Boston Police Department today announced artists have been selected for three long-term public art projects funded by the City of Boston's Percent for Art program, which sets aside one percent of the City's annual capital borrowing as a budget for the commissioning of long-term public art. Monika Bravo was commissioned to create artwork for the new Area A-7 Police Station in East Boston; MASARY Studios was commissioned for interior artwork at the new Boston Arts Academy building in Fenway; and Simon Donovan & Ben Olmstead were commissioned for exterior artwork at Boston Arts Academy.

"Both of these sites are very unique, with Boston Arts Academy being Boston's only public high school for the performing and visual arts, and the East Boston police station being the first new station in a decade," said Mayor Walsh. "Bringing public art into both of these spaces is a great way to highlight the interconnected roles art, education, and public safety play in making our City a more welcoming and vibrant place for residents and visitors.

The City of Boston celebrated the groundbreaking of the new East Boston Police Station on East Eagle Street in October 2019. The construction on the District A-7 precinct, managed by the City's Operations Cabinet, marks a $29.9 million investment in East Boston's community. The total project budget for this public art project is $450,000, and the project is expected to take two years to complete.

The City released an international Call to Artists for this project, and encouraged artists to consider three key qualities of the East Boston neighborhood in their applications: its deep history within a wide variety of immigrant communities, its geographic location and how that has put it on the front lines of climate change, and its strong neighborhood identity and close-knit community.

Photo of DURATION 2017 by Monika Bravo; 2017, Prospect Ave station Brooklyn, NY, courtesy of the artist.

An Artist Review Committee composed of representatives from the Boston Art Commission and local arts professionals representing East Boston reviewed applications using criteria including experience, past work, knowledge of materials and their durability, experience working with multiple stakeholders, and how well the artist/team responds to the goals and community values outlined in the call. The committee recommended multi-disciplinary artist Monika Bravo for the project. A virtual artist talk will be held on January 21 from 5-6 p.m. 

"For the East Boston police station, I aim to create a mesmerizing environment that invites the audience to mutual participation, to an experience of synthesis, a communion," said artist Monika Bravo. "Its source resonates with the roots and origins of all the historical elements that relate to its new location."

The City released an international Call to Artists for two separate opportunities at Boston Arts Academy (BAA)- one for an interior artwork and one for an exterior artwork. The total project budget for the interior site is $300,000 and the budget for the exterior site is $200,000. BAA is Boston's only public high school for the performing and visual arts, and is currently undergoing a $125 million reconstruction that is being overseen by the Operations Cabinet. The new state-of-the-art facility will include dedicated rehearsal and performance spaces, gallery space, studios for music, visual arts, and fashion design, academic classrooms, recreation areas, kitchens, and student commons. The artworks are expected to be installed in 2022.

Artists and teams were asked to consider BAA's four guiding principles when crafting their proposals: community with social responsibility, diversity with respect, passion with balance, and vision with integrity. The Artist Selection Committee selected MASARY Studios for interior artwork, and Simon Donovan & Ben Olmstead for exterior artwork.

"RUMBLE" ©2019 MASARY Studios for BLINK! Festival, Cincinnati. Photo by Aram Boghosian
"RUMBLE" ©2019 MASARY Studios for BLINK! Festival, Cincinnati. (Photo by Aram Boghosian)

"It is an honor to be selected to create an artwork for the City of Boston, and Boston Arts Academy," said Ryan Edwards, Principal of MASARY Studios. "We are thrilled to be working with the city, the BAA staff and students on this project and look forward to the months to come where the artwork and the school are brought to life. Much like the high school experience and the approach of adulthood, this artwork is to be a reflection of the moment, as well as an echo to the future."

"We stand on the shoulders of those that came before us" by Simon Donovan & Ben Olmstead - University Medical Center, New Orleans, LA, courtesy of the artists.

"The intent of our proposed artwork is to serve the site-specific and theme-specific need of identifying and celebrating the Boston Arts Academy community," said Simon Donovan & Ben Olmstead. "This project holds great personal meaning to us as artists and as native Bostonians."

The FY21-25 Capital Plan allocates $15 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, is the most funding the City has ever dedicated to public art. To learn more about the City-driven public art projects currently underway, visit

About Monika Bravo

Monika Bravo (b. 1964 in Bogotá, Colombia) is a multi-disciplinary artist who currently resides in Miami Beach. Her work integrates a wide array of disciplines, from psycho-technologies to immersive sculptural environments. She was recently awarded the Civitella Ranieri Visual Arts Fellowship, a prestigious residency program for international writers, composers and visual artists, in Italy. Recent public art commissions include: An interval of time, 2020 for the Landmarks Public Arts program at University of Texas, Austin and Duration for the Metropolitan Transport Agency (MTA) Arts design subway in New York. Bravo has exhibited her work (inter)nationally including at the Rubin Museum of Art; 56th Venice Biennale representing the Vatican City-State at the Pavilion of the Holy See; The New Museum in New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía; Museo de Arte del Banco de la República; and the Museo de Arte Moderno Bogota, The 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale,  Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea, CAB in Spain, Site Santa Fe and Stenenser Museum of Oslo, Norway. 

About MASARY Studios

MASARY Studios is an interdisciplinary artist collective reconsidering environments through site-specific installations using sound, light, interactivity, and performance. Based in Boston, the studio's practice includes live performance, electronic music and production, facade projection-mapped video, artistic research, technology and materials fabrication, and the expansive use of animation. The studio is artist-owned and managed and was founded in 2015.

About Simon Donovan & Ben Olmstead

Simon Donovan & Ben Olmstead, both coincidentally Boston born and raised, are currently residents of Tucson, AZ. They are intimate with the Fenway neighborhood and relish the prospect of returning home and contributing artwork to this urban setting. They have worked together on public art commissions for 15 years. Each is a multimedia artist. They have over 25 past and current projects together. They combined forces when they realized the beneficial results of collaboration include strengthened ideas from an added perspective, thorough trouble-shooting and increased talents and additional familiarity with a variety of mediums. Their process is to distill the best solutions through discussion and debate. As collaborators they have prospered from an exchange of ideas and technical information and have developed a complimentary aesthetic sensibility and they work for a unified approach.