Woman in green smiles in a studio space
Program Director, Public Art

Now accepting nominations through February 28, 2022.

As we launch our nomination process for the 2022 Newell Flather Award for Leadership in Public Art, we want to take a moment to honor the life and legacy of the late Newell Flather (1938-2021). Newell was a champion for the arts in the greater Boston area who believed in the power of the arts and artists in shaping the quality of life in our communities. At NEFA we also believe that public art has the power to inspire more just, vibrant, and welcoming public spaces and public life; through the Newell Flather Leadership Award in Public Art, we hope to celebrate and lift up leaders, artists, and arts administrators in the field who are helping us live into these new realities. As we continue to celebrate visionary leaders who embody these core values, we celebrate the life and legacy of Newell Flather.

For the past two years, NEFA has annually awarded two Massachusetts-based artists, curator, and/or arts administrators who embody different aspects of leadership and are contributing to more just, vibrant, and welcoming public spaces and public life through the evolving field of public art. Each receives an unrestricted award of $5,000 in celebration of their leadership and impact in the public art field. 

Learn more about the Newell Flather Award for Leadership in Public Art and past awardees

This year we aim to continue this tradition, as we seek nominees who:

  • Reside full-time and work within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • Create/Curate/Support public art that aligns with NEFA’s public art vision and values.
  • Help us to see, feel, experience, and imagine more just futures for our public spaces and public culture. 
  • Address the intersectionality of spatial justice and racial justice as critical to cultivating a more vibrant public art ecosystem. 
  • Recognize the importance of context in public artmaking. 
  • Inspire more just, vibrant, and welcoming public spaces and public life in Massachusetts. 
  • Demonstrate a deep connection to place—encompassing both folks from a place as well as folks who have relocated and made deep connections to a place—and commitment to community building through public art.

One of the things that Newell was known for was his deep connection to his hometown of Lowell, MA, as well as love for celebrating and honoring the diverse cultures that foster vibrant community life in his hometown. It is in this spirit that this year we are looking for leaders who also demonstrate a similar love for and commitment to place, and the people of that place (see addition of the last criterion above for this year’s nomination and selection process).

In addition to accepting public nominations, we are also bringing nine outstanding nominees from 2021 into consideration for the 2022 award. These leaders were given special mention in our 2021 announcement. We are grateful for the ways that these individuals continue to shape public life through public art and thank the nominators who brought these individuals to our attention last year. 

Who are the public art makers and supporters inspiring more just, vibrant, and welcoming public spaces and public life in your community? Are you one of them? Self-nominations are welcome! We hope you’ll consider submitting a nomination (or up to two nominations) for the 2022 Newell Flather Award for Leadership in Public Art!

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