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What is the Boston Art Commission?

First created in 1890, the commission advocates for public art Boston’s civic spaces. We work under the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture.

Curatorial Mission

We 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.

Who we are

Commission members

We are an independent board of nine commissioners. All of our members are residents of the City and appointed by the Mayor. The commission includes:

  • a representative nominated by the Boston Society of Architects
  • a representative nominated by the Museum of Fine Arts
  • a representative nominated by the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston
  • a representative nominated by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
  • a representative nominated by the Massachusetts College of Art and Design
  • Chief of the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, ex officio
  • Head of Boston Planning & Development Agency, ex officio
  • two candidates who have demonstrated distinguished service to the arts. The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture appointed these members.
Term limits

Members of the commission serve for a term of five years. If invited by the Mayor, commissioners may serve for an additional five years.

What we do


We are responsible for the art collection owned by the City of Boston. This includes:

  • keeping a record of the art
  • commissioning art for the City, and
  • maintaining the City’s art, while keeping it safe.
Art for everyone

We want everyone to have access to this art in the City. The goal is to enrich the lives of Boston’s diverse citizens and visitor. In our work, we:

  • collect and research
  • interpret and exhibit, and
  • preserve and care for the City's art.

This includes fine art, decorative art, and significant historical artifacts, according to museum standards.

Who we work with

We advise, support, and consult with artists and communities, City departments, and others. We make sure that proposed projects on City property meet our standards.