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Twenty-seven short-term public art projects, activations funded in first phase of transformative public art program

Aug 04, 2021

Mayor Kim Janey and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Art Commission, today announced 27 short-term public art projects and activations will receive grants totaling $323,950 this summer as part of the first phase of the City’s Transformative Public Art Program

“These public art projects and activations are a wonderful way to come together and experience joy, recovery, and renewal,” said Mayor Janey. “I encourage everyone to enjoy and engage with these projects in our inviting and accessible public spaces.”

This is the third year of the Transformative Public Art Program. Last year, 24 public art projects were awarded grants totaling $35,000. In addition to the $273,950 allocated by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture this year, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) allocated $50,000 to projects based in Roxbury’s Nubian Square. The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture allocated another $350,000 to mural projects as part of this program, and those will be announced later this summer.

The program relaunched as a key part of the Mayor’s Joy Agenda, which is a citywide invitation, opportunity, and investment in our collective well being. This program aligns with the Joy Agenda’s goals to provide job opportunities for creative workers across various neighborhoods that contribute to the city’s recovery from COVID-19.

This year, the call for applications included three different opportunities that funded mural projects at locations identified by the City and artists who had a specific, short-term project and location in mind. Projects could include murals, new media, traditional media, installations or performances, community-engaged cultural practices, social practice, or elements that specifically engage youth and/or non-English speaking communities.

“The Transformative Public Art Program allows us to invest in individual artists who continue to need increased support due to the impacts of COVID-19, while bringing cultural gatherings and activations of space to communities across the City,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston.

Projects selected in this first phase of the 2021 Transformative Public Art Program include: 
  • Yu-Wen Wu’s citywide light-based project that joyously celebrates the diverse communities using neon as a sculpture light piece.
  • Dayenne Walters’s project “Billboard Hope,” a curated billboard project in John Eliot Square in Roxbury that features the work of a different local artist every month on the theme of “Hope and Inspiration for the Future.” 
  • Black Market Nubian’s Nubiana, a community-driven place-making initiative envisioned to activate the Roxbury Cultural District with dynamic artwork curated by over 40 artists at the Blair Lot.
  • Daphne Xu’s “The Immigrant History Trail,” a multimedia creative placekeeping project that uplifts and preserves the diverse immigrant, working-class histories of Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood.
  • Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation’s Sanative Summer Arts Fest 2021 project, an arts festival held at Oasis @ Bartlett, Nuestra’s new public arts park in Nubian Square, devised to explore joy and healing in COVID-impacted Roxbury.
  • Dunamis’ Jamaica Plain Porchfest 2021, a two-day event that will focus on highlighting BIPOC organizations and creatives who are committed to sharing their art with the community of Jamaica Plain.
  • Boston Children’s Chorus’ summer series, BCC WE SING, taking place in public parks throughout Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, Chelsea, and Chinatown. 
  • Allison Tanenhaus and Maria Finkelmeier’s interactive multimedia mural that will crowdsource and creatively process the sounds and sights of Allston-Brighton.
The mural projects funded through the Transformative Public Art Program will be announced later this summer. To learn more about the Transformative Public Art Program and see the complete list of grantees, visit here.

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