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City announces Call for Artists for BCYF Vine Street Community Center


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Arts and Culture

The public art project is part of Boston's new Percent for Art program.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Art Commission, the Public Facilities Department, and Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF), today announced a call for artists to submit proposals for a public art project that will complement the renovation of BCYF Vine Street Community Center in Roxbury. The deadline to submit proposals for the project is December 18, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.

BCYF Vine Street Community Center closed earlier this fall for a $5.3 million renovation project, which is expected to take a year to complete. The public art project is part of Boston's new Percent for Art program, which sets aside one percent of the City's annual capital borrowing budget for the commission of public art. 

"We believe an investment in the arts is an investment in the larger community," said Mayor Walsh. "The Percent for Art Program allows us to incorporate new public art projects into the Vine Street Center renovation, and I know this installation will make the Vine Street renovation even better, adding to the renovation's goal of bringing new life and vibrancy to the project."

The request for proposals (RFP) for the public art project is open to all professional artists, artisans, architects, landscape architects, or teams with experience in public art, site responsive design, project management, and construction administration. Artists from the Roxbury neighborhood are encouraged to apply.

An Artist Selection Committee comprising of representatives from the Boston Art Commission and local arts professionals in Roxbury will evaluate proposals based on the criteria outlined in the RFP, including the artist's qualifications and their approach to the project.

"The creation of public art at BCYF Vine Street through Percent for Art is a direct response to the Boston Creates Cultural Plan. The goal is to integrate arts and culture into all aspects of civic life and across all communities," said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. "With the Vine Street Center serving as a central gathering place for the people of Roxbury, there is no better place for a transformative public art project."

The renovation will enable BCYF Vine Street to provide more resources to the Roxbury neighborhood including interior renovations, the addition of a fitness center, expansion of the teen center, installing air conditioning in the gym, and improving overall access to the center. This RFP is the first of two calls for artists connected to BCYF Vine Street. The second call will be released in the late winter/early spring and focus on interior art works.

"We are excited that the renovation to the BCYF Vine Street Community Center will greatly improve the layout of the center and allow us to offer more programming for people of all ages in the heart of Roxbury," said William Morales, Commissioner of BCYF. "By adding arts into the renovation project, we are signaling Boston's commitment to imagination and creativity, inspiring users of our community center and enhancing our facilities today and well into the future."

"This project is reflective of Mayor Walsh's commitment to the Roxbury neighborhood, and to BCYF facilities throughout the City." said Boston Public Facilities Director Tricia Lyons.  "We are thankful for the involvement and thoughtful insight of community members, and for the collaborative efforts with BCYF and Arts and Culture. Including the Vine Street building in the Percent for Art program is going to make this project all the more exciting and further contribute to the vibrancy of this neighborhood."

Artist Ann Hirsch participated in a nine-month long residency at the BCYF Vine Street Community Center this year as part of Boston AIR, the City's artist-in-residence program in which artists, community members an the City of Boston employees collaborate at the intersection of civil service, social justice and artistic practice to explore and reframe critical social conversations. Her residency looked at the theme of hand gestures as a lens through which to explore current issues and future goals, as well as the use of non-verbal communication modes in the expression of fear, protection, and protest. By casting the hands of the youth, staff, and community members, she crafted a physical representation of the center's identity during that moment.

The public art project will be located outside of the BCYF Vine Street Community Center on 339 Dudley Street. The City of Boston will release another call for artists later this year for public art pieces that will be placed inside the Vine Street Center. For more information on the renovation, visit here.

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. For more information, visit here.

About the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture

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 leading up the City's cultural plan, Boston Creates; managing the Boston Artist-in-Residence program; curating exhibitions in City Hall; and operating the historic Strand Theater in Dorchester. For more information, visit here. 

About the Percent for Art Program

The Boston Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC) released the City's first cultural plan, Boston Creates, in 2016, calling for increased support to Boston's arts and culture ecosystem. The Percent for Art Program is a critical policy outcome of this planning process and addresses Goal 4 of the plan: to integrate arts and culture into all aspects of civic life, inspiring all Bostonians to value, practice, and reap the benefits of creativity in their individual lives and in their communities. The Percent for Art Program demonstrates the City's leadership and commitment to sustainable funding for the arts by setting aside one percent of the City's annual capital borrowing budget for the commissioning of public art. The Percent for Art Program is administered by the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Art Commission (BAC), in collaboration with the Office of Budget Management, the Public Facilities Department, and other City departments. For more information, visit here.

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