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Call to artists announced for public art at Adams Street public library branch

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Arts and Culture

The budget for this project is $300,000 and funded by the City of Boston's Percent for Art program.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Art Commission, today announced the City of Boston is seeking an artist or artist team to create a permanent public artwork for the Adams Street Branch of the Boston Public Library. The budget for this project is $300,000 and funded by the City of Boston's Percent for Art program.

"The Adams Street Branch has long been a vital part of the neighborhood for many Dorchester families, and this project will allow us to better serve everyone who visits the Branch," said Mayor Walsh. "I'm confident that this new artwork will make the space more inviting, and help us connect with even more families and residents in the area."

The Adams Street Branch, one of 26 locations in the BPL system, opened in its current location in 1951, and has remained a vibrant part of its Dorchester neighborhood ever since. The Branch is currently closed for the construction of a new building, and plans to reopen in 2021. The renovation project, which is being led by the City's Public Facilities Department with coordination from the architecture firm: NADAAA, will double the size of the previous branch, and will feature a larger community room, a conference room, study room, music room, and a reading garden. 

Artists may wish to consider the following design and programmatic elements to understand the community and inspire the artwork:

  • The project includes the protection of an oak tree that attendees of the first public meeting asked to be kept rooted in place on the Branch's grounds.

  • Ideas for increasing the sustainability of the development are already under way, including a plan to retain the storm water generated on the site.

  • Additional teen and children's spaces were central to the design.

  • The inclusion of a reading garden in addition to the other outdoor spaces was an important element for the Branch users.

"The surrounding community has played a vital role in the design and development of this new building, and we look forward to bringing a new piece of artwork to this neighborhood that reflects the values and needs of local residents," said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture.

The call is for an exterior artwork, and the City of Boston has identified three potential sites. The artwork is expected to be installed in August 2021.

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. 

A virtual Q&A session for artists and teams interested in applying will be held on September 9, 2020. The deadline to apply is September 16, 2020 at 5 p.m. ET. Learn more about the project here.

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