Boston Art Commission

Thermopylae (1966)
Dimitri Hadzi
Bronze
JFK Federal Building, at Cambridge St. and New Sudbury St.
Monday, December 18, 2017 CALL FOR ARTISTS FOR MLK JR., & CORETTA SCOTT KING MEMORIAL

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Art Commission and MLK Boston, today released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for an artist to create a memorial dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King in Boston.

"A memorial honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King will stand as a symbol of our commitment to fulfilling Dr. King's dream each and every day," said Mayor Walsh. "From their education in Boston, to Dr. King's time preaching at Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury, to his march to the Boston Common, the Kings' footprints left a remarkable impression on the City of Boston and its people. This memorial will be a great way to recognize their influence on the City and to emphasize our continued effort to make Boston a place where all people have equal opportunities."

MLK Boston is a new non-profit organization partnering with the City of Boston to create a world-class memorial for Boston that highlights Coretta Scott King's and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s impact and connection to the City.

A key goal of the memorial is to serve as a call to action that compels the community to confront racial and economic inequality, discrimination, immigration and other relevant social justice issues.

"As someone who grew up in Boston, I was always aware of Dr. King's work and still look to his words for inspiration today," said entrepreneur and founder and co-chair of MLK Boston, Paul English. "I am delighted to participate on a team from across the city to memorialize his work, and to think about what he would be working on if he were still with us."

MLK Boston is hosting a community meeting on January 8, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.in the Piemonte Room on the fifth floor of Boston City Hall, where the public will be invited to share their thoughts and ideas for the memorial.

"One of the most exciting aspects of the MLK Boston memorial planning process to me is the ongoing effort for the robust engagement of the entire city," said Reverend Liz Walker, co-chair of MLK Boston. "Through community meetings with the involvement of churches and other institutions, educational enrichment projects in the public schools, and social media, we want to make sure everyone in the city has real input in this historical effort. That is one of the most meaningful ways we can honor Dr. King.  MLK Boston will be remembered as the people's project."

The international RFQ is open to all artists, architects, landscape architects, or design teams with experience in public art, site responsive design, project management, and construction administration. Artists from the Boston area are encouraged to apply. The location of the memorial has not yet been determined.

The deadline to respond to the RFQ is Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by 12:00 am EST. The applications will be reviewed by a selection committee, and up to five artists will be invited to develop design proposals. Each of the five finalists will receive a $5,000 stipend for developing design proposals.

"Using arts and culture as a vehicle for dialogue within city-wide conversations about race and class divisions in Boston was one of the goals identified in the Boston Creates cultural plan," said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture. "I can't think of a better way to advance this dialogue than to commemorate the person who serves as such an inspiration to so many of us as a champion of civil rights."

For more information on the project, visit the website here.

__________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 PUBLIC ARTWORK RELOCATED FROM GREENWAY TO ALLSTON

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Planning & Development Agency and The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, today announced the 319-foot-long outdoor public art piece “May This Never End” has been relocated to Allston.

Created by Chicago-based artist Matthew Hoffman, the piece was commissioned for The Greenway and installed on a fence between North and Clinton Streets in 2016. While The Greenway typically houses temporary art, the piece received an extended run of nine months. The artwork was recognized as among the best artworks in the country for 2016 by Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network Year in Review. The Conservancy originally commissioned the artwork with private funds from ArtPlace America.

“This piece was a great addition to the Greenway last year, and it has become such a widely recognized piece of public art in the City of Boston,” said Mayor Walsh. I’m eager to see how it sparks new conversations and helps shape the cultural identity of its new home in Allston.”

The piece is comprised of seven phrases, and together the message reads: “Nothing’s for keeps. Except that we must keep going. You’ll spend your entire life searching, ok? We all want to belong. So let’s all get along. Make the most, and hope. May this never end.”

 

Photo of May This Never End artwork in its new location on Lincoln St.

“Instead of looking at an object and moving on, Hoffman’s message becomes something we internalize and continue to apply to our state of being,” said Lucas Cowan, the Public Art Curator for The Greenway. “The artwork becomes a personal internal reflection as opposed to an object that is meant to exist solely in space.”

Hoffman wrote each word in Sharpie, and then scanned, enlarged and cut oversized letters out of bright yellow plastic using a CNC mill.

“May This Never End” was un-installed from The Greenway and placed in storage in May 2017. The City of Boston was able to relocate the artwork with a grant from the Harvard Allston Public Realm Flexible Fund, which is overseen by the BPDA.

“The Flexible Fund Executive Committee has explored ways to support public art installations, and enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to enhance a neighborhood gateway utilized by hundreds of pedestrians and cyclists daily, with an existing piece of artwork that could be installed at very low cost,” said Gerald Autler, Senior Project Manager/Planner of the Boston Planning & Development Agency.

Hoffman worked with staff members from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture to reinstall the piece. The installation took two days to complete.

“As noted in Boston Creates, the City of Boston hopes to address cultural disparities and promote cross-cultural exchange through art,” said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture. “We’ve started important programs to support local artists, such as the Opportunity Fund with its newly doubled budget, and we are excited that we can also find ways to foster artistic exchange by creating new homes for site-specific works like this one.”

The piece is now located on Lincoln Street in Allston, between Franklin Street and Eric Road.

“I love the placement of this piece, and it's the same reason I love public art so much. You'll be going through your day, and suddenly be met by this piece. Hopefully it changes your mindset to a positive one in that moment,” said Matthew Hoffman. “We received so much positive feedback as we were putting the piece up, I'm really excited to hear the response as it lives with the community.”

 

__________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 FIVE ARTISTS SELECTED FOR PUBLIC ART PROJECTS IN GROVE HALL

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the selection of five artists for a series of public art projects in the Quincy Street Corridor and Grove Hall Business District of Dorchester. Tied to a city-led initiative to improve the streetscape and create an environment that is safe, convenient and comfortable for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, these public art projects celebrate the beauty of the neighborhood, local heroes and current residents.

"We are working hard to improve the overall experience of the streets of Boston for everyone," said Mayor Walsh. "Public art helps advance these goals by creating a strong sense of place while embracing the identity of the neighborhood. I congratulate all artists selected to participate in this effort, and I look forward to seeing the completed projects."

The public art projects aim to revitalize the urban landscape of the Quincy Street/Grove Hall Main Street area. Pedestrian travel and accessibility will be improved via temporary art and urban design interventions along Quincy Street and in the Grove Hall business district along Blue Hill Avenue. The designs were informed by community feedback.

THE FIVE ARTISTS SELECTED INCLUDE:

Chanel Thervil created an Affirmation Station, which is an interactive public art initiative that was designed to uplift people by gifting them with an affirmation pin to serve as a reminder of hope and positivity. The initiative was designed to start a chain reaction of random acts of kindness that can flow from one person to another. The installation is located at the corner of Quincy and Blue Hill Ave.

Photo courtesy of the artist, Chanel Thervil. Photographer: AfroCentered Media

Robert 'Problak' Gibbs created a mural entitled "Afro Futurism/ Breathe Life." The design of the mural will give a nod to the past in order to breathe life into the future. The juxtaposition of an older pastime with youthful and futuristic imagery relates to the community's objective to revitalize the neighborhood while embracing and strengthening its past, present, and future identity and sense of place. The mural is located at the UCERM Empowerment Center at 324 Blue Hill Ave.

"Being Boston-raised, I wanted to pay respect and homage to areas that made me the artist I am today," Robert Gibbs said. "I graduated from the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School that is literally down the street from the wall that I painted. I wanted to "Breathe Life" back into the neighborhood that helped me launch my gift into the universe. I developed an understanding of the need for positive messaging in our communities and my responsibility to produce artwork that could resonate with so many people, have visual impact, reflect the people of the area, and celebrate our history."

 

Photo of "Afro Futurism/Breathe Life" mural and artist Problak courtesy of Chris Gaines.

Laurence Pierce created "On the Shoulders of Giants," a mural to showcase the names and histories of the local men and women whose struggles and triumphs paved the way for today's young students. The project was led by Laurence with the collaboration and support from artists Percy Fortini-Wright, Ricardo Gomez and graphic designer Robert W. Murrell, Jr. The murals are located at the Grove Hall branch of the Boston Public Library.

 

Photo courtesy of the artist.    

David 'Don Rimx' Sepulveda created a mural inspired by the legacy of Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Nelson Mandela. Widely known and regarded as an icon of democracy and social justice, "Don Remix" hope is for Nelson Mandela's image to inspire all people - young and old and of all ethnicities, to actively seek knowledge, truth, and civic engagement as they visit the Grove Hall Public Library, drive past down Geneva Avenue, or make their way to the Jeremiah Burke High School. The mural is located at 41 Geneva Ave.

 

Photo of Don Rimx's "Powerful Knowledge" mural courtesy of Chris Gaines.

Victor 'Marka27' Quinonez, will create a mural titled "Sacred Health" that will intend to encourage humanity to respect one's mind, body and soul. According to Marka27, the heart in the mural represents the most important and vital organ that keeps people going, and also represents love. With Liza Quiñonez, Marka27 is a co-founder of Street Theory, a Creative Studio and Gallery. The mural's location has not yet been determined.

 

Marka27's "Sacred Health" mural rendering.

The artists were selected by a committee comprising representatives from Department of Neighborhood Development, Boston Art Commission, Grove Hall Main Streets, and other community representatives.

This project is made possible through a Choice Neighborhood Initiative (CNI) Implementation Grant to fund improvements for public housing, the provision of services and case management for local residents, the enhancement of businesses and improvements to local playgrounds in the Quincy Street Corridor and the Grove Hall Business District.  

In addition, the City of Boston's Transportation and Public Works Departments have recently taken several steps to improve safety and access on streets in the Grove Hall neighborhood.  These include:

  • Quincy Street, from Blue Hill Avenue to Columbia Road, is part of the Choice Neighborhood plan. In addition to safety and access goals for all modes, the redesign also works to provide more parking for the growing community and revitalize the streetscape by incorporating street trees, ornamental lighting, and an accent strip.  The new design improves the pedestrian experience by reconstruction sidewalks and ramps, extending curb lies to shorten crossing distances, installing a rectangular rapid flash beacon at a busy location, installing speed display signs and raising the crossings at the approaches. Traffic Signals will be installed at Quincy and Ceylon Streets.

  • Grove Hall/Quincy Corridor has been selected as one of five new neighborhoods to be included in the Neighborhood Slow Streets Program and, on September 18, residents joined BTD staff to kick off the program in their neighborhood with a community walk that gave residents the opportunity to provide input on issues of concern.

______________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 MATTHEW HINCMAN PICKED TO COMPLETE PUBLIC ART PROJECT IN JAMAICA PLAIN

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Art Commission, Boston Public Library and Public Facilities Department, today announced Matthew Hinçman as the artist selected for a public art project at the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library.

Hinçman is a sculptor and educator living in Jamaica Plain. Best known for Jamaica Pond Bench, 2006, and STILL, 2014, both located in Jamaica Plain, his pieces are generally found in public places.

The City of Boston released a Request for Proposals (RFP) earlier this year for a public art project to complement the recent $10 million renovation of the Jamaica Plain Branch Library. This was the first project under the new Percent for Art Program, which allocates one percent of the City's annual capital borrowing budget to the commissioning of public art. The renovation included a 20 percent increase in space, a 700-square foot addition of a community reading lounge, a terrace along Sedgwick Street where residents can read and mingle, several meeting spaces, a refreshed collection of 30,000 books, an elevator, more efficient mechanical systems, 20 parking spots for bicycles, and new exterior landscaping.

"The recent renovation has allowed the Jamaica Plain library to accommodate more visitors, provide better access to resources, and strengthen the surrounding neighborhood, and this project will enhance these efforts," said Mayor Walsh. "It's great to see someone who has such a strong understanding of Jamaica Plain's cultural identity and a proven connection to the larger community take on the project."

"The JP renovation has been so well received, the latest in our ever strengthening branch system. We're so proud of the modern and welcoming space that everyone can use and enjoy," said David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library. "The addition of public art by a JP resident will enhance the street presence of the branch and connect it even more deeply to the fabric of the neighborhood."

Hinçman is a Professor of Sculpture at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Chair of the Fine Arts 3D Program. He currently serves on the Board of the Boston-based non-profit Now+There.

"I am thrilled to be selected to create a new work of art for the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library," said artist Matthew Hinçman. "I embrace the idea of being 'local', and focus much of my energies here in my neighborhood. To have been considered and ultimately awarded this commission is very humbling. I love making work for public spaces that disrupt the order of the everyday, and it is an honor to be working right here in my own backyard."

The total budget for the project is $200,000, and the design of the work will be informed by an ongoing community engagement process. The project is expected to be completed and installed in 2018.

"The renovation of the Jamaica Plain Branch and the installation of public art into that space corresponds extremely well with one of the goals highlighted in the Boston Creates Cultural Plan, to integrate arts and culture into all aspects of civic life," said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture. "The library's role at the center of civic life for the Jamaica Plain community makes it an ideal location for public art, and I am so glad that the Percent for Art program has made that possible."

Earlier this week, the City released another RFP as part of the Percent for Art Program for a public art project at the BCYF Vine Street Community Center in Roxbury, which is now under renovation. The City is also planning to release an RFP this fall for public art at the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library, which is closing for renovation on November 17th.

______________________________________________________________

Thursday, November 9, 2017 CALL FOR ARTISTS FOR BCYF VINE STREET

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. 

____________________________________________________________

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 FINLAND BUILDING MURAL COMPLETED IN THE SOUTH END

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services, the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and Boston University today announced the completion of a mural on the Finland Building at 774 Albany Street in Boston.

"The Finland Building mural is an excellent depiction of the strength and resilience of the surrounding community," said Mayor Walsh. "I hope this will serve as a reminder to those struggling with addiction that each day brings new opportunities and that the City of Boston is here to support them every step of the way."

Mural on Finland Building in South End. Photo courtesy of Timothy McCool.

The mural, which primarily consists of bright blue, orange and purple, is a depiction of several city rooftops and a sunrise, with a painting of that same scene on one of the rooftops. According to artist Timothy McCool, the easel and paintbrushes are evidence of someone being inspired by the sunrise and wanting to capture it on a canvas. The photo on this page is courtesy of McCool.

"I chose the design and colors of my mural to be bright and hopeful," said artist Timothy McCool. "Making art is a way to describe the indescribable and to express feelings that are hard to express with just words. So it's my hope that it can brighten their day even just a little bit by providing some sunshine in their life."

McCool is a South End resident who has made several contributions to Boston's public art landscape. Last October, he assisted in the creation of the Spaces of Hope mural, which can be seen from the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway.

The mural was one of several initiatives championed by the City during September, which marked Recovery Month, a national effort that aims to combat the social stigma around addictions, celebrate recovery and promote awareness of recovery services.

The Finland building houses several recovery service programs operated by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) that offer detox and other treatment programs, as well as harm reduction services. This artwork serves as a form of encouragement and support for those taking advantages of the services offered inside the building.

Boston University partnered with the City of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission last year to improve the neighborhoods around the Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue intersection, which is home to their medical school's campus.

The City of Boston released a call for artists in April 2017, as part of a broader effort to improve the neighborhood around the intersection of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue.

In the span of only a few square miles, there are several opioid treatment clinics, two of the largest emergency shelters in the region, a detox facility, a long-term residential treatment program, a resource and referral center that places scores of individuals in treatment every day, a peer recovery center, the biggest harm reduction site in New England, and a world-class health-care organization whose mission it is to serve Boston's most vulnerable residents.

The mural is one of several ongoing efforts to beautify this part of the City where people in recovery go to receive services. Since last year, four outreach workers have been walking main roads and side streets in the area seven days a week, engaging with individuals and helping them access the services they might need. Most recently, the Mayor increased resources for the Mobile Sharps Team, doubling the number of workers available to locate used syringes and properly dispose of them.

"This is one of our many efforts to pair recovery with art, which is a critical form of catharsis for so many recovering from addiction," said Jen Tracey, Director of the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services. "By using the City's infrastructure and buildings as a canvas, we hope to raise awareness, combat stigma, and promote the collective resilience of individuals in recovery."

"At the Boston Public Health Commission, we are proud to serve all Boston residents," said BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH. "This building is the entry point into recovery for so many, and we want this physical entrance to reflect the welcoming nature of our staff and programs."

The mural is also an embodiment of Boston Creates, the city's ten-year cultural plan for improving and expanding the arts and culture industry in Boston.

"A key vision of the Boston Creates Cultural Plan is to create a City that uses art as a means to foster creative thinking and solve problems," said Julie Burros, Chief of the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture. "It's great to see this mural play a role in the conversation about tackling the issue of addiction in Boston."

McCool worked on the mural for 10 days, and it took 71 hours to complete. Approximately 10.5 gallons of paint were used during the project.

________________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, September 14, 2017 Boston AIR projects Culmination and Celebratory Event

A celebratory event on September 16 will showcase the completed projects and highlight their impact on the community.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, Boston Centers for Youth & Families, and the Boston Art Commission today announced the successful completion of projects created by the 10 artists selected for the City of Boston's artist-in-residence program, Boston AIR. These projects represent varying arts disciplines, from printmaking to sculpting and more, and builds on the Mayor's commitment to implementing Boston Creates, the City's cultural plan.
 
"The Boston AIR program has been incredibly successful at elevating the importance of bringing the arts closer to the heart of all we do as a city," said Mayor Walsh. "I am proud of the work of all of our artists-in-residence who in their own distinct ways have contributed to our cultural fabric as a city, and who have shown that taking a creative approach to problem-solving can reap tangible benefits for the people of Boston."
 
Boston AIR is a core component of Boston Creates, and is aimed at integrating creative thinking into the work of municipal departments and planning efforts. In addition, the Boston AIR program is a deliverable goal of Imagine Boston 2030, Boston's citywide plan. 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 system-wide change projects at BCYF and other City agencies.
 
To celebrate the culmination of the second year of the Boston AIR program, on September 16, the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture together with the Boston Public Art Commission will host an event at the Emerson Media Art Gallery at 5:00 pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the artists, see video screenings of projects, and participate in an artist panel to recognize the collective work of the cohort and their BCYF centers. The event is free and open to all, and advanced registration is requested.
 
Each artist involved in the program was placed at one of the 10 designated BCYF community centers and provided space at that center.
 
The 10 artists and their projects include:
  • Lina Giraldo (Hyde Park BCYF Center): Her residency focused on creating ownership and understanding identity using technology and storytelling. During her workshops, youth and seniors used coding and technology to build their own cameras that they used to interview community members.
  • Salvador Jimenez-Flores (Quincy BCYF Center): Taught the art of printmaking to over 100 5th and 6th graders. Through creating their own prints for Chinese fans, his residency embraced the historic and present immigrant communities that have transformed Chinatown and promote diversity and inclusion.
  • Charles Coe (Roxbury Tobin BCYF Center): Writer and artist Charles Code developed a community-based story collection called, "What You Don't Know About Me." The project includes stories that highlight some aspect of the person's life that might challenge the viewer's perceptions.
  • Cornell Coley (Roslindale BCYF Center): Teaching artist Cornell Coley facilitated community drumming circles in Roslindale; including the BCYF itself and in the larger community. He contributed to a revitalization of the on-site BCYF recording studio and produced a series of music concerts in the neighborhood.
  • Maria Molteni (Perkins BCYF Center): Collaborated with youth from the BCYF Perkins after school program and peewee basketball community to repaint designs on the Harambee Park basketball courts, visually reclaiming the court for the community.
  • Marjorie Saintil-Belizaire (Mattahunt BCYF Center):  Marjorie Saintil-Belizaire aimed to reshape the Mattahunt Community Center (MCC) as an arts and cultural space to convene, engage and to better reflect and celebrate community, local arts, culture, heritage, entrepreneurship, while also honoring BCYF's ACES (Arts, Community and Civic Engagements, Education and Sports) framework. Marjorie held a series of art workshops and classes, and coordinated art centered cultural events for the Haitian community in Mattapan. In this way, her investigation of the Mattahunt has acted as pilot and a model for systematic change within the BCYF.
  • Rashin Rahandej (Blackstone BCYF Center): Worked on a collaborative multimedia project that examines access and equality through the lens of mass incarceration and how it impacts the lives of children, youth, women, communities, and society at large.
  • John Walsh (Curley BCYF Center): Graphic novelist John Walsh interviewed immigrants and wrote and illustrated their stories. Through sequential art, these immigrant experiences are being presented in a new and unique way that will allow for easy translation into other languages.
  • Jenn De Leon (Curtis Hall BCYF Center): Led an exploration of racial and class segregation and its impact on education and student identity as explored through the lens of storytelling. She investigated walls and their impact on the community and the power of story to break through them.
  • Ann Hirsch (Vine Street BCYF Center): Focused on making connections through public art and sculpture with many different groups of community members, especially youth. She explored the theme of hand gestures as a lens through which to explore current issues and future goals, as well as the use of nonverbal communication modes in the expression of fear, protection, and protest.
In the second year of Boston AIR, the program expanded the size of the artist cohort, increased the length of residencies, and ground each residency at BCYF through their community centers and core citywide initiatives,  such as the BCYF Streetworker Program, youth summer programs, and leadership development for young women.
"One of the unique aspects about this residency is the camaraderie among the fantastic and talented cohort of creatives who made the Boston AIR 2.0 a success. These relationships we built with our communities, colleagues and the city representatives outlast the time of the project," said artist-in-residence Salvador Jimenez-Flores. "Resilient Current is a printmaking installation that embraces the past and present immigrant communities that have transformed Boston's Chinatown,". "We want to embrace the diverse groups of the Chinatown community and provide hope, inclusion, and a sense of belonging for all immigrants, to emphasize that we are all free, capable, and equal."
 
"With Boston AIR, the city of Boston has launched a program from which every city could benefit. It provides financial and structural support to solidify and expand the role of the arts in place making within a community, paying artists directly and providing a stipend," said artist-in-residence Cornell Coley. "Personally, I have been able to bring the healing properties of community drumming to youth and families, to support local businesses and to further develop my own art form. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive."
 
For more information on Mayor Walsh's commitment to arts and culture in the City of Boston, please read his Medium post, "A Culture Shift: Moving the Arts Closer to the Heart of all we do."

Learn more here: goo.gl/Kg7Ue1 

____________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 Boston AIR: Year Two Extended

The Boston AIR program has been extended until the end of August! Boston Community members now have the entire summer to engage in community dialogues centered on social practice and its intersection with art, culture, and media. Our artists will continue to be stationed at 10 Boston Center for Youth and Family locations. These artists are exploring what it means when creative production meets civic responsibility, and how art can be a powerful means of social justice and community engagement.

Learn more here: goo.gl/Kg7Ue1 

__________________________________________________________________________

Monday, April 3, 2017 Mayor Walsh Announces Artists Selected for North Square

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced A+J Art+Design has been selected to create a public art project in North Square following an open call for artists through a Request for Proposals. The artist team will work with the Public Works Department (PWD), the Boston Art Commission, and the North End community to further develop their initial proposal. The public art project will be implemented in conjunction with the reconstruction of North Square in summer 2017.  

The public art project is part of a larger effort by the PWD to revitalize and build on North Square’s identity as a cultural destination. The project will enhance the square by making it livable, walkable, green, sustainable, and accessible to all.

“The North Square public art project will offer the North End community an open space to gather and interact,” said Mayor Walsh. “We look forward to seeing the final project that incorporates community input and enhances the already vibrant characters of one of Boston’s most historic neighborhoods.”

The artist team A+J+Art+Design demonstrated their exemplary skill, interest, and vision for the North Square project in their response to the RFP.  They will spend the next few months working in coordination with the City and community to develop their initial concept, which considers the nautical ties of the North End as well as the historical and cultural context of the Square.

“The North Square public art project allows us to continue to celebrate the cultural history of the North End, while bringing in a contemporary perspective to this community space,” said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. “It’s one more effort to fulfill the goals of the Boston Creates cultural plan, integrating arts, culture, and creativity into the urban environment.”

“We’re delighted to work with A+J Art+Design, the Boston Art Commision, and the North End community to add a terrific work of art to North Square, ” said Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets for the City of Boston. “We want our streets to not only be well built and well maintained, but also delightful to be on and reflective of the community around them; art helps us deliver on that for the public. ”

A+J Art+Design is a multidisciplinary collaboration between artists Ann Hirsch and Jeremy Angier. This public art design and development team believes that public art can provoke and entice while inspiring civic engagement. In 2016, they created SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) for the Fort Point Channel Floating Art Project. The Swimmers relate the Channel to the seas crossed by those in search of shelter, freedom, prosperity and safety. They invoke Boston's long history of welcoming immigrants. Hirsch also created the Bill Russell Legacy Project which celebrates the legacy of the great Boston Celtics champion, human rights activist and mentorship leader Bill Russell. The second phase of the Legacy Project relied on a collaborative process with groups of local young people. Hirsch and Angier both received their Masters in Fine Art with a focus on sculpture from the New York Academy of Art.

To learn more about the revitalization of North Square in the North End click here. http://keepbostonmoving.org/portfolio/north-square/.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 MAYOR WALSH ANNOUNCES ARTIST GENARO ORTEGA SELECTED TO CREATE PETERS PARK MURAL

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that artist Genaro Ortega has been selected to create a mural at Peters Park in the South End following an open call for artists through a Request for Proposal. Ortega will work with a selection of Boston youth to paint the mural in May 2017.  

The Peters Park Art Wall was proclaimed a legal graffiti wall in 1986 in an effort to decrease vandalism in the South End. The Boston Art Commission, in partnership with The African Latino Alliance Collective, City Lights, Washington Gateway Main Street, Friends of Peters Park, and Old Dover Neighborhood Association will continue the tradition of curating and programming the Art Wall. This allows for the enrichment of the neighborhood as well as the preservation and celebration of the South End's diverse cultural history.

"The Peters Park Art Wall is culturally significant to our city, particularly for our residents in the South End," said Mayor Walsh. "We look forward to continuing the tradition of allowing Boston's youth the opportunity for creative and cultural expression in Peters Park."

Genaro Ortega, Photo Courtesy of the Artist
Genaro Ortega is a Boston-based visual arts specialist who has taught painting and drawing for over 20 years. Currently, Ortega is a painting mentor at South Boston's Artists for Humanity as well as the Mural Curator for Madison Park High School. Ortega's proposed mural pays homage to current equality movements. Ortega graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a Bachelors in Fine Arts in Art and Design with a focus in Illustration.

"The Peters Park Art Wall will once again bring the community together to celebrate and preserve a history of culturally relevant art," said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. "Peters Park mural has been gracing the community with art for many years and we look forward to seeing what Genaro will create."

"The South End neighborhood has long been defined by the creative energy of our community," said Kristin Phelan, Board President, Washington Gateway Main Street. "The synergy that has formed around this project between the Mayor's Office, South End organizations, artists from the original ALA Collective, residents, and creative enthusiasts is inspiring. Clearly, there is power in collaboration, and we look forward to this being the first of many projects to come."

Learn more and find additional information about community involvement with the Peters Park Graffiti Mural at www.petersparkart.com.

 _______________________________________________________________________