News

6.23.16

New Public Art Projects to Enliven Greater Boston Neighborhoods

NEFA’s Fund for the Arts awards over $90k in grants

(Boston, MA) The New England Foundation for the Arts has awarded $93,675 in annual Fund for the Arts grants supporting public art projects that will take place in the greater Boston area. 

The Fund for the Arts supports community-based organizations within Route 495 in Massachusetts to select and commission artists to create new, site-specific, contemporary public art. The fund supports permanent work at the planning or implementation phase as well as and temporary work.”

“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 human-powered mobile art in Cambridge to creating an important space for reflection in South Boston, projects supported by NEFA engage diverse communities, encourage collaboration, and highlight a number of local artists.

The five Fund for the Arts advisors, Newell Flather, Ann Gund, Geoff Hargadon, Ted Landsmark and Tyra Sidberry, awarded grants to nine nonprofit organizations. The awards range from $2,500-$15,000 and support the following projects:

  • Apollinaire Theatre Company, Chelsea, MA: To support the building of a unique theatrical marquee, the Apollinaire Watercourse, that will also serve as a piece of public art in Chelsea Square: a watercourse that pours a solid, glowing beam of light from our marquee along a trough and finally through the air, integrated with thematic video projections that turn passing pedestrians into participants. The trough of the watercourse will be fabricated from steel cutouts of quotations from the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire. They will work with local artists Megan Kineen (Watertown, MA) and Chris Bocchiaro (Salem, MA). Installation is planned for September 2016. 
  • Arlington Public Art, Arlington, MA: Arlington Public Art will commission a collaborative team of artists, led by Cedric Douglas (Quincy, MA), to create Arlington Stories, a temporary street-art installation infiltrating the Capitol Square neighborhood with wheat-pasted photographic portraits (ranging from life-size to wall-size) of 15-20 owners and employees of diverse local businesses mounted on 6-10 exterior walls. This visual component will be complemented and amplified by recorded audio interviews available for listening by phone or via the project website. Local independent businesses are valued by residents but vulnerable to economic ups and downs; some have existed for 50 years, others are new. Together, they reveal a diverse and distinctive aspect of neighborhood character. Installation and presentation is scheduled for July–September 2016. 
  • Boston Children’s Museum, Boston, MA: To support the development phase of site specific work that inspires and delights Boston Children’s Museum visitors, residents, tourists and the business community of Fort Point Channel and the Innovation District. The museum is considered to be the gateway to the Fort Point/Seaport districts, with its iconic Milk Bottle and playful waterfront plaza. They will work with Fort Point Channel artists to create public art for the facade and roof of the building that will contribute to Boston's overall public art presence, and draw attention to the arts and art making both in the museum and in the area.
  • Cambridge Arts Council, Cambridge, MA: Working with the Cambridge Arts Council, People’s Sculpture Racing (PSR) produces brief, urban races and exhibitions of human-powered mobile fine art sculpture, and holds workshops for emerging and established artists and community members in the art of racing sculpture building. It is a revival of a unique local genre, World Sculpture Racing, created in the 1980s. PSR currently holds two annual races: a juried race and daylong exhibition with the Cambridge Arts River Festival, and an un-juried community race and exhibition in conjunction with the Cambridge Science Festival (CSF). Artists include Jeff DelPapa (Watertown, MA), Jay Havighurst (Essex, MA), Christian Herold (Cambridge, MA), Dennis Svoronos (Boston, MA) and William Turville (Arlington, MA). The race and exhibition are slated for June 2017. 
  • Celebrity Series of Boston, Boston, MA: To support the return of Street Pianos in the fall of 2016. With the enthusiastic endorsement of the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, Play Me, I’m Yours!, Street Pianos Boston 2016 will partner with over 100 arts, community service, and civic organizations to place approximately 60 pianos, painted by local artists, throughout every neighborhood of Boston. For eighteen days from September 23-October 10, 2016, residents, workers and visitors will experience the pianos in outdoor public spaces in parks, hospitals, libraries, businesses, museums, schools, community organizations, and more.  
  • Community Art Center, Cambridge, MA: To support the planning phase that engages residents in the design of a sculptural installation that shares information, gathers data, and welcomes people into the Port neighborhood of Cambridge, MA. The Gateway Kiosk is presented as a part of Home Port, a multi-year initiative that uses pop up events, photojournalism, public art, and story collection to strengthen the Port community. Home Port asks residents to be directly involved in the formation and design of a neighborhood brand, mobile art trailer, and the community gateway kiosk. Home Port is carried out by local youth, supported by a team of partners, and guided by neighborhood leaders.
  • Medicine Wheel Productions, South Boston, MA: To support the implementation of the latest public art installation at No Man’s Land, a reclaimed tract of land located between South Boston High School and the National Park at Dorchester Heights. Since 1996, Michael Dowling (Boston, MA) has led the community to clean up this land and create a memorial to victims and survivors of drug overdose and suicide that have happened in South Boston. This funding will allow for completion of the path with a simple yet ornamental iron rod railing, punctuated with poetry cairns and mosaics at resting stops along the accessible path. Installation planned for October, 2016. 
  • Rosie’s Place, Boston, MA: To support the implementation of a permanent commemorative installation at Dartmouth Street in Boston to honor the life and work of Kip Tiernan, founder of Rosie’s Place, the first emergency shelter for women in the nation. A relentless activist, Kip was at the center of the fight for economic and social justice in Boston and the Commonwealth. In March 2016, Rosie's Place selected a finalized design from the architectural team of Carla Ceruzzi and Ryan Murphy of Ceruzzi and Murphy Projects (Boston, MA). Installation will be completed in the fall of 2016. 
  • Washington Gateway Main Street, Boston, MA: To support the planning phase of an artistic bike rack project. In partnership with Artists For Humanity, Washington Gateway Main Street will work with AFH artists, including Haidan Hodgson (Boston, MA), and the community to design, produce and permanently place up to 18 bike racks along the almost one and a half mile-long Main Streets district through the South End and Lower Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston. These racks will all fit into an overall theme that speaks to the history and culture of a diverse community. Installation is planned for March, 2017. 

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 | awicks@nefa.org | 617.951.0010 x534