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Call for artists for public art at playground in Roxbury announced


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Arts and Culture

Mayor Walsh announced a Call to Artists for a piece of permanent public artwork at the Dewitt Playground in Roxbury.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Art Commission, today announced a Call to Artists for a piece of permanent public artwork to 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. The renovation of the playground includes creating additional activity areas and amenities for all ages, improving lighting, and utilizing the elevation change to incorporate a stage that can be used for activities such as movie nights and farmers' markets.

The renovation is part of a larger project called the Whittier Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan, and the Call to Artists is for the Percent for Art project the City of Boston is commissioning as part of the construction project. The Percent for Art program sets aside one percent of the City's annual capital borrowing budget for the commission of public art. $1.8 million has been allocated to the program this current fiscal year, and Mayor Walsh in his FY20-FY24 capital plan recently announced a historic $13.4 million investment in the program over the next five years.

"This is an exciting opportunity to beautify an area that is so active and heavily utilized by community members of all ages," said Mayor Walsh. "I'm eager to see how visitors will be able to interact with this new piece of art in a way that generates more community engagement and conversations."

Plan view of current design for renovations of Dewitt Playground.

This public art project has a budget of $250,000. 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 walkways and other surfaces. There are three qualities of the Ruggles Corridor area that the artists may wish to take into consideration when applying: health and wellness, intergenerational engagement, and play.

"The Boston Parks and Recreation Department looks forward to the addition of public art at Dewitt Playground," said Parks Commissioner, Chris Cook. "This new artwork will transform the park and make it a more welcoming community space for all Boston's residents and visitors to enjoy."

The Call to Artists is open to all artists, artisans, architects, landscape architects, or teams with experience in public art, site responsive design, project management, and construction administration. An Artist Selection Committee comprised of representatives from the Boston Art Commission, stakeholder groups, community members, and local arts professionals will review applications and determine the final artist/team.

"Projects like this one that integrate art into the public realm are so impactful, because they act as a foundation for creative expression within a community," said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. "I'm excited to see how this artwork enhances the various activities and programming that community members participate in at the playground."

The deadline to submit questions about the project to is May 22, 2019, and applications are due by May 30, 2019. The application can be found online.

Other Percent for Art projects currently underway include public art for the new police station in East Boston, the Engine 42 fire station in Roxbury, the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library, the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library, and the Vine Street BCYF Community Center in Roxbury.

About the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC)

The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture's mission is to support artists, the cultural sector, and to promote access to the arts for all. The office houses the Boston Cultural Council, the Boston Art Commission, and the Poet Laureate program. Responsibilities include implementing the City's cultural plan, Boston Creates; commissioning public art, managing the Boston Artist-in-Residence program; curating exhibitions in City Hall; and operating the historic Strand Theater in Dorchester.

About the Boston Art Commission

The Boston Art Commission (BAC), an independent board of arts leaders charged with the care and custody of all artworks on City of Boston property, advocates for the creation of innovative and transformative art and promotes its accessibility to enrich the lives of Boston's diverse citizens and visitors. The Art Commission advises, supports, and consults with artists and communities, City departments, and others. It commissions, approves, and conserves the City of Boston's collection of art and historical artifacts.