By investing in artists and a community of practice, NEFA is contributing to the evolving field of public art and inspiring more vibrant public spaces and public life throughout the region.

Program Goals

NEFA’s organizational values, articulated in the 2018-2021 strategic plan, guide each Public Art program area.

By upholding NEFA’s values, Public Art at NEFA:

  • Invests in artists and the creative process. Foster public art practices that are dynamic and aesthetically impactful, and authentically honor the integrity of the people, places, stories, and ideas that are engaged in the process and presentation of the art-making.
  • Cultivates artists as civic leaders. Support public art that inspires, disrupts and engages the public sphere to strive for greater equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in our public culture. 
  • Strengthens a community of practice by fostering partnerships that facilitate knowledge building and sharing to support the evolving field of public art throughout the New England region.


Creative City Boston - Artist Grant

Creative City Boston (CCB) invests in artists of all artistic disciplines who are creating socially-engaged public art in Boston. CCB provides project-specific grants to artists, and additional resources including professional development, technical assistance, access to a peer-learning cohort, and additional support for collaborating organizations through Community Partner Grants. By funding artists directly, NEFA is investing in artists’ creative agency as civic leaders in shifting public culture in Boston to be more equitable, diverse, and inclusive.

The program design for Creative City Boston has been informed by an assessment of the three-year pilot phase of Creative City (2015-2018), completed by Animating Democracy. For more information about the pilot phase and learning assessment go to:  

Creative City Boston is currently accepting Concept Proposals for projects that will be implemented in 2020.

Learn more about Creative City Boston - Artist Grant

Creative City Boston – Community Partner Grant

Invitation Only. Creative City Boston Community Partner Grants provide additional support to organizations that are collaborating with artists on a Creative City Boston artist-led public art project.  CCB Community Partner Grants are by invitation only.  Invitations are initiated by the lead artist(s) of a proposed CCB project during phase two of the application process. Based on the project and artist needs, a community partner’s role in realizing the propose project may vary.

Learn more about Creative City Boston – Community Partner Grant

Fund for the Arts - Grant

As a program of the New England Foundation for the Arts since 1992, Fund for the Arts has historically funded organizations in greater Boston to commission artists from greater Boston to plan and implement site-specific, temporary, and permanent public art that will have lasting impact on communities.

In 2018, Fund for the Arts provided multi-year financial support to a cohort of organizations in Boston that exemplify the Fund for the Arts commitment to advancing public art in greater Boston. NEFA’s priority for this round of Fund for the Arts grantmaking is to support organizations that are currently strengthening the public art sector through diverse approaches including artist development. By investing in this cohort of organizations, NEFA aims to learn in partnership with these organizations about how NEFA may be able to better support more equitable and sustainable public art practices in the Boston area.

Fund for the Arts is not currently accepting applications. We anticipate that we will relaunch an open call for grant proposals in 2020.

Learn more about Fund for the Arts Grant

Public Art Learning Fund – NEW Grant

The Public Art Learning Fund provides small grants of $500 to $2,000 to support professional development opportunities for New England artists to strengthen their public art practices. Through the Public Art Learning Fund, NEFA intends to foster the continued development of more equitable, inclusive, and vibrant public spaces and public life throughout New England.

Learn more about the Public Art Learning Fund

Field Building Resources

In addition to grantmaking, NEFA also provides the following field building resources to artists in the greater Boston area and continues to expand across New England.

  • Professional Development Opportunities: Skill-building opportunities for artists and community partners to strengthen the practice of public art-making. Open to the public, these workshops and webinars cover a range of topics from permitting and contracts to building strong community partnerships to documentation and marketing.
  • Public Art Discussion Series: Public discussions designed to provide space to discuss themes that are emerging in the field of public art as well as intersectionality between public art and other sectors that are shaping of the public realm. Open to the public, these discussions foster dialogue and connections to continue strengthening the field of public art in New England.

For upcoming public art discussions and professional development opportunities hosted by NEFA, check out NEFA Events

For reflections, recordings and summaries of past public art discussions, professional development opportunities, and more check out NEFA Blog. Please note, this is not an exhaustive archive of past events and discussions but will provide a sense of some of the topics covered in the past.

Another way to receive updates on from NEFA including the Public Art program, is to sign up for NEFA's mailing list to receive these updates in your inbox.


NEFA’s public art program is made possible by funding from the Barr Foundation and the Fund for the Arts, an endowed fund at NEFA.

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