Boston Art Commission


CALL TO ARTISTS: Request for Qualifications

Symphony Park Public Art

The Boston Art Commission, in collaboration with the Friends of Symphony Park, the City of Boston Parks Department, the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund, and landscape architectural firm Warner Larson, Inc., seeks qualifications from artists to create permanent public art for Symphony Park in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood to be implemented in conjunction with a park improvement project. 

Release:  Wednesday - February 13, 2013

Deadline:  Friday - March 8, 2013

Eligibility:  This public art commission is open to all professional artists, artisans, architects, landscape architects, or a team thereof, in New England. 

Design Intent:  The artist (or team) is requested to develop the artwork in collaboration with the project landscape architect, Warner Larson, Inc, in order to ensure that the art is fully integrated into the site design.  For this project, music has been selected as the theme by the community and should be highlighted in creative ways throughout the park.

Design Budget:  $15,000

In total, artist’s awards are allotted as follows, with more detail below.

$1,500 – awarded to three shortlisted finalists for initial concept development and presentation

$15,000 – awarded to selected artist for design development and final administrative approvals

2.5% of final artwork budget – awarded to selected artist for construction administration

Anticipated Art Fabrication and Installation Budget (funding not in place, but being solicited): $100,000

Project Summary:  The “Improvements to Symphony Park Project” has been a community-led initiative since 2006.  What began as a targeted effort to address safety concerns within this passive open-space in the East Fenway, has gained momentum and supporters and is now envisioned as a comprehensive and collaborative park improvement and art installation project.  

Symphony Park’s restoration planning and design has been informed by community and contextual framework.  Located in a dense, vibrant, and growing neighborhood, the park abuts a senior housing facility and is close to a number of cultural and educational institutions, including Symphony Hall, Christian Science Plaza, and Berklee College of Music. Projects that reflect and support the physical and cultural environs of the Fenway are encouraged, as are inspirations that incorporate music or community themes.

Warner Larson, Inc., a Boston landscape architectural firm, has been retained to develop the park renovation design and the documents to guide the park reconstruction. The selected artist (or team) will collaborate with Warner Larson and the community to develop a conceptual and then detailed design for integrating art elements into the park.  A public community process conducted by the landscape architects has led to a conceptual design for the park improvements.  A copy of the conceptual design will be made available to the shortlisted artists.

Construction funding for this collaborative renovation is being sought through the City of Boston Capital Improvement Program and by community led grant applications.  All design and construction will be coordinated through the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department, the property owner.  Final artwork approval must be granted by the Boston Art Commission through a series of presentations.   

Conceptual Objectives:  Community goals include integrated art/park elements that may be musically themed consistent with the Symphony Park’s name.  Creating a sense of place that speaks to the culturally rich neighborhood is important, especially because of the proximity to Symphony Hall and Berklee College of Music.  Art must be integrated into the park design, and not a stand-alone piece.  In particular, there are preferences for interactive, illustrative, and interpretive art.  As in every permanent public art project, the art work needs to be durable, vandal resistant, and easily maintained.

Ideas from community meetings held to date that might become part of the art/park design include: 

  • Moveable tables and chairs
  • Artistic signage or elements, like granite piers, engraved musical quotes or words interpreting significant features in the park
  • Water sculptures or features (mechanically operated, no electronics)
  • Extra illumination (in addition to traditional night lighting)
  • Artistic fencing

Project Site:  Symphony Park is a half-acre passive park in the Fenway neighborhood owned by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department.  The park is bounded by Edgerly Road, Norway Street, Burbank Street, as well as Morville House and the Burbank Gardens Apartments.  It was created in the early 1970’s during Boston’s Urban Renewal efforts and has not been comprehensively renovated since its construction.  The park is primarily maintained by Morville House, Burbank Gardens, and the Friends of Symphony Community Park.

Artwork Design Budget and Scope of Work (including Fabrication and Installation Drawings)

The selected artist (or team) will have $15,000 from the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund for design development of this collaborative workUpon award of the contract, the chosen artist or artist team will be required to submit an itemized fee proposal including but is not limited to the following scope of work:

  • Community meetings (up to 3) with drawings and other media presentation techniques to communicate and document proposed art installation alternatives
  • Final schematic design drawings and documentation of the proposed art installation, including a cost estimate, approved through presentations (up to 3) to the Boston Art Commission
  • Design development with visual and written documentation that leads to construction drawings and specifications, including an updated cost estimate 
  • Construction drawings, specifications and detailed cost estimate to coincide and/or be incorporated with the site improvement bid documents
  • Coordination meetings as required with project team

This budget includes all expenses associated with the labor, materials, contracted services, meetings and travel required to complete the design of the artwork through the construction drawing phase in preparation for the “Fabrication/Installation” phase of the project.  Any expense that exceeds this amount will be the artist’s responsibility. The artist is responsible for design coordination with the City of Boston Parks Department, the Friends of Symphony Park, the Boston Art Commission, and relevant City department representatives regarding all aspects of the design of the art installation. Any sub-consultants required by the artist to complete the art design documents must be compensated out of the artist design budget.

Fabrication and Installation Funding: Solicitation of funding for this project is currently under way.  Neither the Edward Ingersoll Browne Trust Fund nor the Boston Parks & Recreation Department has committed funds for the implementation/construction of the project at this time.  However, it is anticipated that the artwork fabrication and installation budget will be approximately $100,000 and the other site improvements budget will be approximately $450,000. 

Artist’s Fee and Scope of Work for Fabrication and Installation -  The anticipated $100,000 budget will include all expenses associated with, but not limited to the artist fee, all work and materials related to fabricating and installing the artwork and the required documentation of the completed project. 

Artist’s Construction Administration Fee - For this stage of the project it is anticipated that the artist fee will reflect the “scope of work” and fees typically allocated to the construction administration phase of a park renovation project and shall be about 2.5% of the anticipated art budget.  This includes coordination with the landscape architect, the city’s representative and the general contractor, clarification or supplementary drawings required for construction, review of shop drawings for conformance with design intent, written progress reports during installation.

Fabrication and Installation Budget - For this stage of the project it is anticipated that the remainder of the budget will be used to review and select materials, cost of materials, site visits during installation to install and/or supervise installation, tools, contracted services (such as additional structural engineering consulting), footings, lighting, operations, meetings and travel required to complete the artwork fabrication and installation.  This will also include all related permits, insurance, transportation and delivery charges related to the fabrication and installation of the artwork and the Boston Art Commission’s required documentation of the installed artwork.

Anticipated Timeline

  • RFQ responses due by March 8, 2013
  • Three artists will be shortlisted and will be notified by March 22, 2013
  • Proposals from the shortlisted artists will be due May 22, 2013
  • Proposal presentation/artist interviews will take place soon after in early June, 2013 – date to be determined
  • Announcement of the chosen artist (or team) will be made by early July, 2013
  • Timeline for the final design/fabrication to be determined in early September

Application Requirements - Interested artists may email entries to:

RFQ Submission Checklist:

  • Résumé with current contact information, including:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone
    • Fax
    • Email address
    • Website
  • Artist Statement (1 page maximum)
  • Up to 10 clearly labeled JPEG images of relevant past work. Artists must provide images formatted as follows:
    • Pixel dimensions per image: approximately 600x800
    • Image resolution: 72-300 ppi (pixels per inch)
    • Maximum file size per image: 1MB
    • Name each image: lastnamefirstnameimagenumber.jpg
  • A corresponding, numbered, annotated image list with title, media, dimensions, location, brief description, date of the work, project budget, and project partners, if applicable
  • Optional: Additional support material, including press clippings or other relevant information on past projects (1 PDF file maximum)

Please Note:

  • Electronic submissions only
  • Do not send proposals at this stage
  • Submissions may be made publicly available for viewing

Selection Process

The Artist Selection Committee, which will review all RFQ responses, is comprised of representatives from the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund, Boston Parks Department, the Boston Art Commission, the Friends of Symphony Park (community group), a local artist, and the consulting landscape architect.

Following the RFQ review, three (3) artists/teams will be shortlisted.  The shortlisted artists / teams will be paid an honorarium in the amount of $1,500 to develop and present site specific proposals to the Artist Selection Committee.  Artists invited to present should review the Boston Art Commission’s permanent public art guidelines posted at  Shortlisted artists will be invited to participate in a site walk-through with members of the Art Committee before they prepare and submit their site-specific proposals.  Additional information about the project area and site will be available at this time.

The Shortlisted Artist Interview and Proposal Presentation - A date will be established soon after the proposal deadline for shortlisted artist interviews, which will include the presentation of each proposal to the selection committee. The interview and presentation will last one hour. As panel members are already familiar with the finalists’ past work, the session should focus on the proposal and allow for questions and answers. A final decision will be made as soon after the interviews as possible. 

Legal Agreement

The City of Boston will not be liable for degradation of the artwork caused by normal wear and tear and weathering. In the event the installation is bronze work, the Artist should cold wax the artwork prior to, or immediately following, installation. While the artwork should be relatively maintenance-free, the City or its designee assumes responsibility for minor maintenance.

By submitting an application, the applicant assures that all copyright holders have consented to the submission and use of images for use by the Boston Art Commission.  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. 

For submission questions contact:  Karin Goodfellow, Director of the Boston Art Commission at

For park site related questions contact:  Liza Meyer, Chief Landscape Architect at the Boston Parks and Recreation Department at

Call for entries, updates, and invitations to project events will be posted at and


Wed, 2013-02-13