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City of Boston Artist Residency

Boston AIR 2.0 Call - RFQ

City of Boston Artist Residency

Release:  Tuesday June 21, 2016

Deadline:  Sunday July 24, 2016

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF), and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics invite artists to apply to Boston AIR to become one of ten artists-in-residence at the City of Boston. This second year of Boston AIR expands the size of the artist cohort, increases the length of the residencies, and grounds each residency at Boston Centers for Youth & Families, through their community centers and core, citywide initiatives, such as the BCYF Streetworker Program, youth summer programs, and leadership development for young women.

Through Boston AIR, artists are supported as agents of reflection, collaboration, and activism, whether through process-oriented practice, direct community engagement, or as leaders of systemwide change projects at BCYF and other City agencies. Ten artists will be invited to study and expand their own civic and social practice, alongside a parallel cohort from ten BCYF community centers and other City employees who will explore methods to incorporate artistic social practice into government and community work. Both the artist and City cohorts will share examples of their work, attend master workshops and lectures by guest artists, and have opportunities to exchange ideas and co-design proposals.

Each artist will be awarded a $22,500 stipend for a nine-month-long residency to develop and test ways that creative approaches can meaningfully impact the work of the public sector and society at large. Each artist will be paired with one of ten designated BCYF community centers and provided a studio space at that center.

The mission of Boston Centers for Youth & Families is to enhance the quality of life of Boston’s residents by partnering with various organizations to offer a wide range of comprehensive programs and activities according to neighborhood needs and interests. BCYF’s ACES programming framework (arts, civic engagement, education, and sports and fitness) is designed to provide access to these programs at every BCYF center. Through Boston AIR, BCYF hopes to expand their arts and civic engagement programs.

The City of Boston cohort includes representatives from BCYF, and may also include representatives from the following departments:Commission on Affairs of the ElderlyMayor's Office for Immigrant AdvancementMayor's Commission for Persons with Disabilities,Department of Neighborhood DevelopmentBoston Transportation DepartmentPublic Works Department, the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services, the Boston Police DepartmentBoston Public Schools, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, and the Mayor’s Office.


Artists working in all media are encouraged to apply; however, seasoned artists with organizational experience and firsthand knowledge of cultures and communities in Boston are preferred. Selected artists should be prepared to attend ten workshops over the course of the residency. At the first meeting in October, artists are expected to give a six-minute presentation on their practice. Selected artists will also be invited to attend and participate in lectures and events throughout the year and must present at two scheduled public forums at minimum.


Mayor Martin J. Walsh envisions this project, concurrent with the release of the City’s cultural plan, Boston Creates, as an opportunity to support Boston artists and integrate artists into the development and implementation of government practices and policies. Last fall, Mayor Walsh launched the City’s first artist-in-residence program. Ten artists and twelve City departments participated in a series of workshops in collaboration with Massachusetts College of Art and Design over the course of the fall. From that cohort, three artists were selected to develop social practice residencies in coordination with the Boston Police Department, the Office of Recovery Services, Office of Women’s Advancement, the Department of Neighborhood Development, and the Parks & Recreation Department.


The residencies will be grounded in the following community centers:

  1. Roslindale Community Center, Roslindale
  2. Blackstone Community Center, South End
  3. Perkins Community Center, Dorchester
  4. Mattahunt Community Center, Mattapan
  5. Quincy Community Center, Chinatown
  6. Curley Community Center, South Boston
  7. Tobin Community Center, Roxbury
  8. Vine Street Community Center, Roxbury
  9. Curtis Hall Community Center, Jamaica Plain
  10. Hyde Park Community Center, Hyde Park

As part of the application, artists will be asked to express a preference or affinity for a community center and/or neighborhood; however, final assignments will be made by staff and the artist selection committee.



In total, artists’ awards are allotted as follows:

  • $22,500 – fee awarded and paid in scheduled installments to ten selected artists for project design, implementation, and oversight
  • $10,000 – project budget available for materials and services for each of the ten selected projects

Upon award of the contract, the ten artists will be required to begin work on their residencies, including but not limited to the following scope of work:

  • Weekly studio hours at BCYF center
  • Regular community meetings at BCYF center to communicate and document proposed project
  • Coordination meetings as required with project team
  • Boston AIR statement of intentions and project proposal, to be finalized and publicly presented in January 2017
  • Periodic progress updates and budget estimates

The artist fee and project budget include all expenses associated with insurance, labor, materials, contracted services, meetings, and travel required to complete the project through implementation. Any subcontractors required by the artist must be compensated out of the project budget, unless negotiated otherwise. Any expense that exceeds this amount would be the artist’s responsibility, unless negotiated otherwise.

Please keep in mind that the City of Boston requires general liability insurance coverage for contractors to protect both the City and the contractor. Depending on the proposed project, artists may also be responsible for obtaining appropriate City permissions.



An Artist Selection Committee, which will review responses to the Request for Qualifications (RFQ), will be comprised of representatives from the City of Boston and local arts professionals. Following the RFQ review, ten artists will be selected to form this year’s class of artists-in-residence. The artist cohort will include a mix of artistic disciplines and experience.

Selection considerations:

  • Artist’s work shows a strong, clear artistic vision
  • Artist has demonstrated organizational experience
  • Artist has firsthand knowledge of cultures and/or communities in Boston
  • Artist’s work is mission driven or demonstrates interest in social justice
  • Artist’s body of work demonstrates experience identifying problems in the real world
  • Artist has the ability to work across cultures, including that of City Hall

Boston AIR’s jury includes:

  • Kenneth Bailey, Design Studio 4 Social Intervention
  • Chris Byner, Deputy Commissioner of Programming & Development, BCYF
  • L’Merchie Frazier, Current Boston AIR
  • Georgie Friedman, Current Boston AIR
  • Shaw Pong Liu, Current Boston AIR
  • Ekua Holmes, Massachusetts College of Art and Design; Boston Art Commission
  • Danielle Legros Georges, Boston Poet Laureate
  • Brendan Little, Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services
  • Jennifer Maconochie, Boston Police Department
  • Carol Owens, Department of Neighborhood Development
  • Sgt. Gino Provenzano, Boston Police Department
  • Michael Sulprizio, Deputy Commissioner, Administration & Finance, BCYF
  • Lisa Tung, Massachusetts College of Art and Design; Boston Art Commission


ANTICIPATED TIMELINE (subject to change at discretion of City of Boston)

June 21, 2016: Release call

July 14, 2016, 6-7:30pm: Online information session for interested artists 

July 24, 2016: RFQ responses due

August 2016: Contract signed with selected artists

October 1, 2016: Residencies start

  • Artists will be paired with a community center and begin to establish a presence at the center.

October - December 2016: Fall Artist/City Liaison Workshops

  • Over the course of the fall, artists will participate in five mandatory workshops designed in collaboration with arts leaders and begin to develop the scope of their residencies.

January 8, 2017: Boston AIR statement of intentions and project proposal

  • Artists will finalize the scope of their residencies and propose any City partnerships/connections beyond BCYF.

Late January 2017: Initial Public forum: Artist presentations and public feedback

January - June 2017: Winter/Spring Artist/City Liaison Workshops

  • Over the course of the winter and spring, artists will attend five additional mandatory workshops to support their residencies.

June 2017: Final Public forum: Artist presentations and public feedback

  • Residencies conclude with a final public form.


  • Please apply here after creating an account profile.

  • Please note that finalists will be asked to submit a SORI/CORI (background checks) request form.

Please Note:

  • We are only accepting electronic submissions.
  • Do not send proposals at this stage.
  • Submissions may be made publicly available for viewing.


By submitting an application, the applicant assures that all copyright holders have consented to the submission and use of all media files by the City of Boston.  This includes the use of the images in the following forms: multimedia, print or digital publications, presentations, or an online archive.

The Committee reserves the right to alter any aspect of the selection process or overall project in any way for its own convenience at any time. This Request for Qualifications does not constitute either an expressed or implied contract and these provisions are subject to change.


Questions? Please contact:  Karin Goodfellow,