News

5.6.15

Enhancing Boston Communities Through Public Art

NEFA's Fund for the Arts awards $125K in Grants

(Boston, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts has awarded $124,500 in grants supporting public art projects that will take place in the greater Boston area.

“This is an exciting time for the arts in Boston,” said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards. “Fund for the Arts has a long history of investing in artistic projects that engage the public realm. From a permanent work conceived through a mobile arts lab in Dorchester to the artistic animation of the Harbor Islands, projects supported by NEFA engage diverse Greater Boston communities, respected community groups and important contemporary artists.”

In the most recent selection process, nine grants ranging from $5,000-$30,000 were awarded to the following nonprofit organizations:

  • Artists for Humanity, Boston MA: To support the planning for installation of Allston, MA, artist Ross Miller’s Wind Totem, a 47.7-foot triple helix sculpture with wind-activated elements, in the new Channel Center Park at the corner of West First and A Streets in South Boston.
  • Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA: To support the annual Public Art Residency, which simultaneously promotes curiosity and interaction within the community, while engaging in an active public dialogue with a diverse urban audience. Amy Archambault of North Chelmsford, MA, will be the BCA’s 2015 Public Art Residency artist, and will create a large-scale interactive structure that invites participants to uncommonly explore one of the most ubiquitous learned activities – riding a bicycle.
  • Boston Harbor Island Alliance: This summer, the Isles Arts Initiative (IAI) proposes to transform the Boston Harbor Islands into a canvas primed for artistic activation and social engagement. Taking shape across two islands and featuring an accompanying gallery exhibition in downtown Boston, IAI encourages visitors to reconnect with Boston Harbor, creating intimate connections to the water while also raising awareness of climate change through excellent artistic installations by local artists Pat Falco of South Boston, Jamie Horgan of Boston, Peat Duggins of Boston, and Colin Driesch of Brighton.
  • Discovery Museums, Acton, MA: Artist Kim Bernard of Cambridge, MA, will lead community engagement activities with the Discovery Museums’ staff, advisors, and visitors to brainstorm and test ideas for the conceptual design of a permanent outdoor interactive kinetic sculpture. Monthly Visiting Artist-led programs exploring art and physics concepts will encourage community input, informing the best design of the site-specific sculpture for our campus.
  • Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Roxbury, MA: the UP Truck is a mobile arts lab that was created to engage residents in a co-visioned and co-created process leading to a final design and implementation of a permanent art structure for the Upham’s Corner community of Dorchester. Engaging over 1,000 residents, local artist Cedric Douglas has used the UP Truck to travel throughout the Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods (Boston) to engage residents in creative inspiration and the development of a shared vision for the neighborhood. This vision will be reflected in the permanent art structure, which the community has decided will be a sculpture.  Funding will support the final stage of this project: the installation.
  • Fort Point Arts Community, Boston, MA: To continue enlivening Fort Point with engaging, temporary public art programs. These programming projects attract the public and generate public activity, while also increasing the visibility of Fort Point as a cultural destination and highlighting the creative community of the neighborhood. Complemented by FPAC's floating art installation in the Fort Point Channel, FPAC will fund up to three additional works of temporary public art to be installed around Fort Point in conjunction with FPAC’s Fall 2015 Open Studios event.
  • Franklin Park Coalition, Boston, MA: Pop-Up: Franklin Park Art Grove is a selection of 8-10 outdoor art interventions temporarily installed in Franklin Park’s Wilderness Picnic Grove in August. A weekend event featuring artwork and food trucks will activate the site, and feature curated discussions on environmental issues and social themes with contemporary relevance led by the Trotter Institute for Black History and Culture at UMass Boston. Youth from Artward Bound at MassArt will support strategic outreach strategies and youth in Franklin Park programs will do habitat restoration and prepare sites for projects. This pilot project builds on Boston Art Commissions Pop-up! Dudley Connections. The goal is for this to be annual.
  • Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, Boston, MA: To bring to Boston a monumental aerial sculpture,  As If It Were Already Here, by internationally renowned Brookline-based artist Janet Echelman. This knotted-fiber sculpture will be suspended hundreds of feet over the central section of the Greenway and will visually knit together the fabric of the city with art. This incredible installation will create a must-see art experience for visitors from near and far from May to early October 2015.
  • Vietnamese-American Initiative for Development, Dorchester, MA: To support a landscape design plan that will increase the utility and enhance the appearance of the entry plaza in Doherty-Gibson Park in Dorchester’s Fields Corner neighborhood as part of a public art project. Through this project we will select a Boston-area landscape architect to develop a plan that both responds to the local community and complements the large-scale, contemporary artwork Viet-AID is commissioning for the plaza. The project will help to catalyze area revitalization and spur community engagement and participation.

About the Fund for the Arts
NEFA’s Fund for the Arts program supports site-specific public art projects created by professional artists working in collaboration with community-based nonprofit organizations within Route 495 in Massachusetts. The fund was launched in 1981 by Boston attorney Phil David Fine, through an extensive publicity and fundraising campaign out of WBZ-TV (now CBS4), and drew support from local businesses, arts organizations, and individuals. In 1992, Fund for the Arts became a permanent program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, and today has assets of approximately $3 million.

About NEFA
NEFA builds connections among artists, arts organizations, and funders, powering the arts to energize communities in New England, the nation, and the world. NEFA is a nonprofit that operates in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the New England state arts agencies, with additional funding from foundations, corporations, individuals and other government agencies.

NEFA’s work is accomplished through grantmaking, services, and initiatives which strengthen and advance the national arts infrastructure. For more information, please visit www.nefa.org or call 617.951.0010.

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CONTACT: Ann Wicks | 617.951.0010 x534