Announcing the Creative City Boston 2020 Finalists

The Public Art team at NEFA is thrilled to announce the 18 finalist projects for Creative City Boston’s 2020 cohort. Creative City Boston Artist Grant provides project-specific funding to artists to create work that sparks public imagination, inspires community members to share in civic experience, and seizes opportunities to creatively engage important conversations taking place in Boston’s communities. By funding artists directly, we are investing in artists’ creative agency as civic leaders in shifting public culture in Boston to be more equitable, diverse, and inclusive.

This year, Creative City Boston launched a two-phase application process, recognizing that project development is often an iterative process that takes time. The first phase welcomed artists to submit concept proposals that focused on artistic vision, process and intentions for public impact. Through a panel review process, 18 projects were selected as finalists and invited to submit full project proposals in October 2019. Each finalist receives a $1,500 finalist award and is paired with a program advisor to further develop their project. Finalists’ full project proposals will be reviewed later this year through a panel review process, and potentially funded up to $20,000 for project implementation in 2020.

Here’s a list (in alphabetical order by project title) of the finalist projects that are moving forward into this next phase of the process and a working description of what each project proposed. These projects were rigorously selected through a panel review process from a wide range of creative and compelling works. Thank you to all of the artists who submitted concept proposals this spring, and congratulations to the artists behind these 18 projects! We wish you all the best as you continue to develop your full project proposals!

Chinatown Story Cart | Crystal Bi Wegner & Lily Xie

The Chinatown Story Cart doesn’t serve food - it serves stories. This traveling cart invites the public to gather around a pop-up library for learning and conversation about the character, resilience, and dreams of the Chinatown community.

Constelación de Historias | Brittany Thomas & Rene Dongo

Constelación de Historias is a community storytelling project illuminating the history of East Boston during a time of neighborhood change.

Divine Auras | Chanel Thervil

Divine Auras is a collaborative mural project located right in the heart of Dudley Square to celebrate the faces and voices of Black women in the community.

El despojo: ¿Alguien ha/Has Anyone? | Yara Liceaga-Rojas

El despojo: ¿Alguien ha/Has Anyone? is a participatory digital and public art contribution to a broader arts-driven transmedia project to address healing, mourning, rage in the wake of weather-related catastrophic events.

FUTUREFOOD 2100 | Keith Russell Hartwig

Through a series of public workshops, demonstrations and collaborations with food producers, FUTUREFOOD 2100 will work with communities and project constituents across the city of Boston to design a cookbook of the future. The project will address the mounting pressures of climate change on the food system, and the impact it will have (and is already having) on local communities.

Healing Spaces | Nora Valdez

Healing Spaces is a series of hands-on art making workshops at the Boston Medical Center for people who are or have been cancer patients.

Hidden in Plain Sight | Ngoc-Tran Vu

Hidden in Plain Sight is a participatory public art project centered on mental health awareness for immigrant families in the Dorchester community.

Miskodoodiswan | Lilly Manycolors

Miskodoodiswan (Ojibwemowin=Red Sweatlodge) is an installation that initiates a decolonial dialogue around Murdered and Missing Indigenous Womxn, Two-Spirit people and children.

Mosaics in the Middle - Phase 1 | Radiant Jasmin

Mosaics in the Middle will be the first major mosaic installation and the only public art welcoming residents into Uphams Corner from the Franklin Park direction of Columbia Road.

Not Peaceable and Quiet (Boston Sound System) | Anthony Romero

As an iteration of an ongoing project, Not Peaceable and Quiet (Boston Sound System), is a mobile monument that traces intersecting histories of colonialism, policing, and criminality as they pertain to the sonic life of communities of color.

Stackin' Stylez - Freestyle Culture Boston | Ashton Lites

This street dance installation would be a collaboration between dancers and multi-media artist.

Staged reading/production of The Slave Narrative of Willie Mae | Ifé Franklin

The Slave Narrative of Willie Mae is a fictional account of Willie Mae Lenox, a 20-year old black woman enslaved in Virginia in the early 1800s, who sets upon her journey to freedom. The staged reading/production would essentially take us inside the cabin and into the lives of the characters.

Stones to Rainbows/Gay to Queer Lives | Peter DiMuro

Stones to Rainbows/Gay to Queer Lives is an installation and performance project developed from the intergenerational and cross-sectional dialogue among Boston area LGBTQ+ lives.

Store-d Stories | Melissa Nussbaum Freeman

In response to a national climate of xenophobia, Store-d Stories lifts up the journeys, successes, challenges and resilience of 4 hard-working shop keepers of Hyde & Jackson Square’s immigrant and diverse community.

The House Slam | Porsha Olayiwola

The House Slam is an artistic collective that hosts Boston’s first and only nationally certified poetry slam venue. The House Slam seeks to provide a radically inclusive space for Boston artists to grow and showcase their work.

The Trinity: Dance Battle Grounds | Trend N Motion (Oliver Burns IV)

Every individual faces traumatic experiences in their lifetime. Trend N Motion uses movement, not as an escape but as a remedy to cope with, understand, and work through the different emotions caused by high-stress situations.

TRACES/REMAIN | Deen Rawlins

Traces/Remain is a devised performance art project which explores how HIV/AIDs’ stigma and barriers to health services in Black and Brown communities have impeded community prevention initiatives and contributed to racial/ethnic health disparities. It utilizes multiple artistic mediums (movement, visual media, storytelling, etc.) to represent how communal and familial lores rooted in prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination about HIV/AIDs have contributed to its epidemic while generating solutions about how to remove HIV/AIDS stigma.

Walls@Walls | Dev Luthra 

Our artistic process is collaborative both with each other as performers and with the audience witnessing the piece. WE witness each other engaging the piece. The people we want to engage are people who are called on to deal with oppression in their day to day lives, in particular with the walls in their day to day lives. Walls shelter, divide, contain, imprison, delight, render sacred, separate, are public statements of image and word.


Stay Connected

Receive the latest news, grant offerings, and community events.

Sign up