by | May 7, 2020 | Dirty Water News, Featured

The City is looking for artworks that respond to COVID-19 and provide creative approaches to public connectedness.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture today announced a call to artists for the Transformative Public Art Program. This year’s program has been modified to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, with the goal of commissioning artworks that connect the people of Boston even when access to public spaces and each other is limited.
“This program is a great way to support artists and recognize their contributions to the City during an especially difficult time,” said Mayor Walsh. “I look forward to being able to come together as a City around these pieces of public art, and use them to celebrate the vibrancy of the City, even while we all have to practice social distancing and stay apart.”
Artists are invited to submit conceptual proposals for the development of transformative public artworks, with particular interest in temporary and new media art projects. The City is looking for artworks that respond to COVID-19 and provide creative approaches to public connectedness and community rituals at a time of disorientation and insecurity.
Artists, cultural practitioners, and/or cultural workers, aged 18 and over, with experience in public art, performance, project management, and/or community engagement are eligible to apply. Applicants may apply as individuals or collaboratives. Local artists are strongly encouraged to apply.
Proposals may include but are not limited to the following:

  • New media, including web-based projects, online comics, and virtual reality
  • Traditional media, including murals
  • Interior installations or performances visible and/or audible to passersby or neighbors
  • Community-engaged cultural practices
  • Social practice, including rituals related to joy, grief, and other human experiences
  • Elements that specifically engage youth and/or reach non-English speaking communities

Project grants will be awarded in two categories, Now and Later. For Now projects, applicants may propose projects in response to the current moment that take place in a virtual or public-facing setting between June 1 – September 30, 2020. The City will work with artists to implement their projects in accordance to public health standards. Later grants are for artists who require time to research and develop projects that can be implemented at a later date.
The City has allocated a total of $31,500 toward this round of the Transformative Public Art Program. Projects will be selected by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, and reviewed and voted on by the Boston Art Commission.
Six projects were funded by this program last year, including murals by Victor “Marka27” Quiñonez and Rob “Problak” Gibbs, which will be completed later this year. “We’ve seen public art that honors underserved communities, inspires neighborhoods to come together, and evokes creative expression across the city as a result of this program,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. “It’s extremely valuable now more than ever to continue integrating public art into every neighborhood, and allow for more community conversations and collaboration through art.
In addition to this program, the City is currently supporting artists through the Boston Artist Relief Fund, which provides grants of up to $500 to artists who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Mayor Walsh also committed $13.4 million over the next five years to the Percent for Art program, which allocates one percent of the City’s planned borrowing toward the creation of public art.
The deadline to apply for the Transformative Public Art Program is May, 13, 2020 at noon EDT. Interested artists can apply online.