The Visible Republic program was a funding collaborative of NEFA, the LEF Foundation, the Boston Foundation's Arts Fund and the Fund for the Arts, and was administered by NEFA. It was launched in fall 1998 by a group of Boston arts funders committed to awarding artists with significant grant awards for the creation of public art work.
A pilot program, Visible Republic also functioned as a laboratory. The program was a platform for exploring best practices in funding collaborations and program development and implementation. Documentation of Visible Republic provides the field with a potentially replicable model for public art funding.
Over a four year period, Visible Republic awarded $284,000 in direct grant support to over 50 artists for the creation of site-specific artwork. Projects were selected from an open application process, and grants of $10,000-$40,000 were awarded to both emerging and established artists. Visible Republic established a strategic and visible system of support for individual artists in Boston while promoting community involvement in the creative process.
Funded projects ranged from temporary works of two and three-dimensional visual art, to new media photographic and video projections, to culturally-specific performances and ceremonies. The works promoted collaboration within communities, often revealing untold stories and content that challenged viewers and participants to think about their surroundings in new ways.
Visible Republic is a funding collaborative of the LEF Foundation, the Boston Foundation’s Arts Fund, NEFA, and the NEFA’s Fund for the Arts program.
Grant Recipients Sampling
Is Freedom Visible?
Artists: Harriet Casdin-Silver, L’Merchie Frazier, Kevin Brown
This multi-media public art project juxtaposed the experiences of 19th century African-American children and children of the 21st century. Life-sized holograms of Boston youth were installed in the State House, in conjunction with enlarged archival photographs collected by the Museum of Afro-American History. Specialized audio domes allowed spectators to hear accounts of personal experiences and views as articulated by Boston youth. The exhibition continues at the Museum of Afro-American History through February 28, 2003, in conjuction with African-American History Month.
One Hundred Heads
Artist: Alan Colby
In September 2002 during Boston’s South End Open Studios at the Boston Center for the Arts, the artist carved limestone sculptural heads of volunteer passers-by, who were willing to sit for an hour or two. The artist continued carving head sculptures, serving as an artist-in-residence at the Dorchester House Multi-Service Center, through Spring 2003. The artist sculpted images of patients, healthcare workers, and community members, which culminated in a final exhibition and permanent siting of the works.
Artist: Sandra Vieira
This project honored Boston homeless who have died within the past year with a procession and installation of sculptural lanterns created in collaboration with homeless individuals. The work intended to foster a new public remembrance rite that can be traditionalized and transform public space.
Symphony of a City
Artists: John Ewing and Liz Canner
Live video projections generated from four wearcams illuminated a column of Boston City Hall that originated from a selection of 16 Bostonians from different neighborhoods. Participants wore a video camera on their heads recording a “day-in-their-life” that touched on themes of housing and homelessness as well as community organizing and activism.
New Modern Cultural Center
Artistic Coordinator: Jerry Beck
The project created a high visibility, multi-media public artwork that incorporated temporary installations, performances and film screenings on the exterior façade of this abandoned and historic theater. The project intended to create a physical and cultural redevelopment link between Boston's Downtown and Chinatown communities.
Artist: Gary Duehr
Square² saturated Davis Square in Somerville with hundreds of photographic images of passers-by, workers and residents, displayed on everything from bookmarks in a used bookstore, to park benches, to silkscreens on tree leaves, to banners stretched across buildings. The abstracted photos acted as a mirror as people saw themselves integral to the fabric of the community.
Artists: Denise Marika & Corey Tatarczuk
The artists projected photo images onto large concrete buttresses adjacent to a bike path with content generated from collaborative workshops with youth from Bikes Not Bombs. The involvement with youth created images that were viewed by a broad audience including bicyclists and motorists.
Artist: Kelly Kaczynski
This project was a temporary installation in the central atrium space of the Boston Public Library integrating form, texture, and meaning, that created a tactile experience of choices and discovery based on the story of the Minotaur from Greek legend. Symbolically representing our own lives, the path of the maze represented the choices we make and the directions we are given.
Artist: Ean White
Digitally processed video and audio materials acquired from the Big Dig construction sites culminated in a 12-minute video entitled Interstices that illustrated the ground breaking work of urban renewal and recontextualized the division between public art and public works.
For more information about Visible Republic, contact firstname.lastname@example.org