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Artists sought for transformative public art projects

We're commissioning at least four projects with budgets ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 that celebrate the diversity of the City.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture today announced an open call for artists to submit conceptual proposals for transformative public artworks, with particular interest in murals and temporary projects with social practice, participatory artmaking, or educational programming that celebrates the diversity of Boston. The selected artworks will build on the City's robust collection of public artwork available and accessible in neighborhoods throughout the city. Following the open call to artists, the City will select at least four projects with budgets ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. 

"Public art for all unites our city, and celebrates our diversity and talent here in the City of Boston," said Mayor Walsh. "I encourage our artists to think boldly and submit their proposals, and look forward to the final vibrant, inclusive and welcoming projects add Boston's important public art pieces and inspire Boston's residents." 

This call to artists is open to all professional artists, artisans, cultural producers, or teams with experience in public art, site-responsive design, project management, and community engagement. Local artists are especially encouraged to apply, and artists must be at least 18 years old. The deadline to submit a proposal for the Transformative Public Art project is July 7, 2019, and the application can be found here. Selected artists will be announced by late July, and artwork will be installed through Fall 2019.

Projects may be proposed for public or private property (with permission from the property owner), and can include temporary artwork and interventions that are integrated into the streetscape, as well as murals on empty walls.

Artists will be selected by the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, and final artwork designs will be approved by the Boston Art Commission. Projects must align with the Boston Art Commission's curatorial mission, which is to commission and approve innovative and transformative artworks that engage communities, enrich and enliven the urban environment, are driven by a clear artistic vision, enhance the diversity of the existing collection, respond directly to a specific environment, and possess durability appropriate to the lifespan of the work. 

"Public art has the power to enhance the sense of joy and wonder we all feel in our streets and neighborhoods," said Mark Pasnik, Chair of the Boston Art Commission. "The commission looks forward to working with creative and innovative artists, whose imaginations can bring exceptional vitality to the public realm."

This project is part of the City's ten-year cultural plan, Boston Creates, which calls for the creation of public art that embraces a neighborhood's identity and adds to a strong sense of place. The City of Boston is looking to increase its collection and availability of public art by adding new artwork that transforms and enhances our current sense of place, improves the streetscape, and creates an environment that celebrates the City's cultural vibrancy. A map of current public art locations in the City of Boston can be found here.

"We've seen the transformative power of public art and its ability to enliven communities, reflect the diversity of our neighborhoods, and foster creative thinking and expression for those that interact with it," said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. "It's important that everyone can identify with Boston's public art, and this project is a great way to ensure that we're working toward that goal."

The City of Boston commissioned a series of temporary public art projects in Grove Hall in November 2017 that have been installed, with the most recent one being installed last summer. Three murals that were commissioned as part of that project were recently selected for the 2019 Public Art Network (PAN) Year in Review by Americans for the Arts. 

In addition to temporary public art, the City of Boston currently has several permanent public art projects underway in Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, and East Boston as part of its Percent for Art Program, which allocates one percent of the City's planned borrowing toward the creation of public art. The North Square Public Art Project by A+J Art+Design is also being installed in the North End this fall.

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 organization, more than 200 individual artists, and 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. This, combined with $50,000 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. This project has a budget of $45,000, funded through the public art revolving fund. 

In this year's budget, Mayor Walsh has also included $250,000 in new grant programs for individual artists and projects, and $489,000 in grants for arts organizations through the Boston Cultural Council, meaning the City's grant funding has more than doubled in the past five years.

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