THE BASICS

This is a Call to Artists for a mural to celebrate the life and legacy of Rita Hester in the Allston neighborhood.

The budget is $25,000-$75,000

The Call opened on Monday, November 8, 2021 at 9:00 am ET.

The Call closes on Friday, December 10, 2021 at 5:00 pm ET.

The Call is open to artists and artist teams with a strong preference for those who have a connection to the trans, non-binary, and gender expansive community in Boston

We welcome written questions until Thursday, December 2, at 5:00 pm ET. We will post the consolidated Q&A on Friday, December 3, at 5:00 pm ET on the project application page on Submittable. Please email BAC@Boston.gov with the subject “Mural to celebrate the life and legacy of Rita Hester ”.

Rita Hester and Transgender Day of Remembrance in Allston

This Call to Artists is part of the Transformative Public Art program and originated as a proposal by former Boston Artist-in-Residence Golden. In 2020, Golden proposed a mural to honor the life and legacy of Rita Hester, a Black trans woman and beloved Allston community member who lost her life as a result of transphobia and anti-trans violence. Rita Hester was known for her congeniality, boldness, and love of entertaining. Her passing was felt by countless individuals and sparked a movement in Boston and beyond.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started by trans activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil dedicated to Rita Hester and other trans individuals who died from anti-trans violence. It is observed annually across the world on November 20th. Despite her influential legacy in the LGBTQ community, Rita Hester has not been commemorated by the City as a whole. Nonetheless, community members have celebrated and honored her through vigils, events, and other community efforts demanding her story be told.

This will be the first public artwork in the City of Boston honoring Rita Hester and will be part of a greater memorial effort. We acknowledge that a mural alone does not meet all of the immediate needs of Boston's trans and non-binary community. There is more to be done within our work and programs to better serve trans and non-binary residents.

We are seeking artists interested in creating a mural for this call. The artist, or artist team, will be selected based on their initial written proposal, portfolio, and interests.

The artist will develop a full proposal after they are selected. Budgets will range from $25,000-$75,000 depending on the site.

Artist Commissioning Process

The Call is Open! (November 8, 2021 - December 10, 2021)

  • Call to Artists opens and online submissions are accepted
  • Question and Answer period
  • Call closes

Viewtime: Review, interview, review! (December 2021 - January 2022)

  • City staff review submissions for completion and alignment with the curatorial vision
  • Working group reviews submissions independently based on the criteria
  • Working group and City staff review submissions together and select finalists
  • Finalists may be interviewed
  • City staff present the working group’s recommended artist and any other finalists for public presentation and comment and review and vote by the Boston Art Commission (BAC) at their monthly public meeting

Let’s go! (January 2022 - March 2022)

  • Artists/teams are notified
  • Selected artist/team signs the City contract and commissioning agreement

Artist/team does their thing! (April 2022 - May 2022)

  • Artist develops design after discussions with stakeholders
  • City staff and artist presents design for public presentation and comment and review and vote by the BAC at their monthly public meeting
  • Painting begins

What You Need to Apply

Prepare the materials listed below and submit through our online application page, found HERE. You may also view the pdf version of the call HERE.

  • Artist Description
    • Tell us about yourself as an artist by describing your background and experience.
    • Upload your resume or bio (optional)
  • Statement of Interest and Initial Written Proposal (500 words maximum)
    • Tell us why you’re interested in this opportunity and share your initial written proposal including any specific or unique processes you might use for the project.
    • Please keep in mind that the review committee will take into consideration the applicant’s connection and relationship to Boston's diverse trans and non-binary community to ensure the artist can successfully work with all stakeholders on this project. Stakeholders include the trans and non-binary community in Boston, Rita Hester’s family and friends, and the Allston community.
  • Relevant Work Samples
    • Up to ten images of completed past work. One image per file; jpg or png.
  • Annotated Image List
    • An annotated image list with title, media, dimensions, location, date, brief description, and any other information that might be relevant. PDF, Doc, or DOCX.
  • Preliminary Budget (enter directly into application)
    • We’re looking for a narrative about your budget and how you think you would spend the funds for your project. For example, for a $25,000 commission or grant you might say: "I plan on using $5,000 for supplies. Based on my other work I think that will cover all of the costs of materials. I need to hire two or three other artists to help me plan and install the project, which will probably be another $10,000. I know that I want to do some interactive workshops with my community partner. I’m not sure what the costs will be yet, but I am allocating $5,000 to those engagements. The remaining $5,000 will pay for my administrative and design time." Please remember to allocate money for your time and work!
  • Diversity & Inclusion Plan (enter directly into application)
    • The City of Boston is committed to ensuring that vendors who work on the City’s behalf utilize procurement practices that are fully open to the inclusion of small and local businesses, including Small Local Business enterprises, Minority Business Enterprises, Woman Business Enterprises, and Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprises. Please describe the efforts that you have taken, or will take, to ensure that your selection of subcontractors and suppliers for this contract will be meaningfully open to such companies. If you will not utilize subcontractors and suppliers on this particular contract, please describe any efforts or practices of your company over the past two years that demonstrate a practice of making subcontracting and supplier opportunities available to such companies. In describing your plan, please include specifics.
    • All responses and information submitted in response to this opportunity are subject to the Massachusetts public record law, Mass. Gen. Laws c. 66, s. 10, and Mass. Gen. Laws c. 4. s. 7(26), and will become property of the City.

THE CRITERIA

Yes, please!

We want submissions from muralists that have a strong, original, artistic vision, and who demonstrate lived experience engaging their community through public art and/or culture.

Your submission should show interest in public art as part of a larger vision for cultural equity and public expression.

Your submission should also show consideration of the stakeholders in this project which include the trans and non-binary community in Boston, in particular BIPOC community members, Rita Hester’s family and friends, and the Allston community.

our experience and narrative proposal should align with the City of Boston's curatorial vision drafted by the BAC:

We seek to commission and approve innovative and transformational artworks that engage communities, enrich and enliven the urban environment, are driven by an artistically strong vision, enhance the diversity of the collection, respond directly to a specific environment, and possess durability appropriate to the lifespan of the work.

No, Thank You! (What we don't stand for)

We believe artists should be paid for their design work, and so are not requesting design proposals at this time.

We believe that artists should be credited for their work, and so we may reject submissions that contain images of other artists’ creative works without crediting them or clearly identifying the submitters’ role.

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, ancestry, or disability, nor will it fund projects that discriminate on these attributes.


About the Boston Art Commission
This project is commissioned by the City of Boston via the Boston Art Commission. The Boston Art Commission must vote to formally approve the project. The artist will meet with the Boston Art Commission staff and/ or board at each phase of the project. The artist is expected to be collaborative and open to community input; however, the Boston Art Commission has sole approval over each phase of the public art project and the final acceptance of the artwork into the City of Boston permanent collection.


All response and information submitted in response to this opportunity are subject to the Massachusetts public record law, Mass. Gen. Laws c. 66, s. 10, and Mass. Gen. Laws c. 4. s. 7(26), and will become property of the City.

Artist Housing Certification Guidelines

What is an Artist Certificate? 

An Artist Housing Certificate is a letter from Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. The letter confirms that the artist has been active in their artistic practice in the past three years. An Artist Housing Certificate qualifies an artist as eligible for artist live/work housing and some work space in Boston. The Artist Housing Certification is valid for a period of eight years. Upon expiration, the artist will need to reapply to receive a new Artist Housing Certification. The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture keeps a list of all spaces for artists in the City of Boston, whether they require the Artist Certification or not. Review those spaces here. The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture does not maintain a waitlist for these spaces and is not able to confirm when these spaces will become available.


Who is eligible for an Artist Housing Certification?

Applicants must able to demonstrate that they have a recent body (last three years) of artwork and must be at least 18 years of age. Artists in the following disciplines are considered:

  • Visual Arts: including painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, conceptual art, ceramics, woodworking, architecture/design, media arts, film, and new media.
  • Performing Arts: including dance, theater, and music.
  • Literary Arts: including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and spoken word.
  • Multidisciplinary Art

If you are a commercial artist who has an office space to do your work, and/or works for a company instead of for yourself (sole proprietor) we require examples of your personal fine art to ensure that you need an artist space for your artistic work. This is also the case for artists who are employed full-time in other industries.

Who reviews the applications?

The Artist Resource Manager in the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture reviews applications.

The decision of the Artist Resource Manager is final. If an applicant is not certified during this round, it is because they were not able to convey that they have been actively making art in the past three years through their application.

Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria.

  • Evidence of a recent body of work (last three years), demonstrated by an artistic resume or CV that lists dates and locations of exhibitions, publications, performances, press, awards, artist residencies, jobs held in arts discipline field, and formal training if you have it.
  • Documentation of artwork (or "work samples) including image files, video clips, and writing samples. Files must be dated or they will not be considered. 
  • One reference letter of support from peers and professionals in the arts who can confirm you have been active in your artistic practice over the past three years.

When are applications accepted?

Applications for the Artist Certification are reviewed every other month. Please check out website to see when we will be reviewing applications.

When will I hear back about the status of my application?

You will hear back about your application the week after we review applications. Use the link above to check when we will be reviewing applications.

What is Automatic Certification?

Automatic certification is granted to artists who have received any of the following awards in the last 3 years: the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, The Boston Foundation Brother Thomas Fellowship, the Boston Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, or the City of Boston Emerging Artist Award.

To receive automatic certification, please fill out your name and contact information in the Artist Housing Certification application and upload your fellowship letter in the Work Samples section. Letter must prove reception of award in the past three years.

Public Art Curator Roster Guidelines

The City of Boston is creating a list of qualified curators interested in leading in the creation of municipal, private, and public-private public art projects. The Public Art Curator Roster is a response to an increase in requests for qualified curators experienced in the public realm from stakeholders in the field. In order to provide interested parties introduction to experienced public art curators, this list will be made publicly available on Boston.gov/arts. 

The Public Art Curator Roster is valid for a period of eight years. Upon expiration, the curator will need to reapply to renew their inclusion on the roster.

Who is eligible for a Public Art Curator Roster?
Applicants must able to demonstrate that they have a recent body (last three years) of curatorial experience and must be at least 18 years of age. Additionally, curators and other professionals with experience and interest in the following categories are considered:

  • Public art planning
  • Public art project management

Curators with experience and interest in the following categories of projects are considered:

  • Private property projects
  • Public property projects
  • Interior projects
  • Exterior projects
  • Temporary installations
  • Long-term installations
  • Two-dimensional projects
  • Three-dimensional projects
  • Participatory activations working with multiple stakeholders 

Curators may work as a sole proprietor or may be a member of a larger organization or company but must apply individually. 

The City of Boston is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment. Qualified applicants will be considered regardless of their sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, military, and veteran status, or other protected category.

Why create this roster?

The Boston Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC) released the City’s first cultural plan, Boston Creates, in 2016, calling for increased support to Boston’s arts and culture ecosystem. In order to integrate art into Boston's landscape, the City created a Percent for Art Program demonstrating the City’s leadership and commitment to sustainable funding for the arts by setting aside one percent of the City’s annual capital borrowing budget for the commissioning of public art. 

In order to fulfill this shared vision of a robust arts and culture ecosystem, the City's efforts must be met with private endeavors and public-private partnerships. Urban visionaries across the world invite curators and artists to join their design teams; we encourage all leaders working in Boston to celebrate the unique cultural vibrancy of the city of Boston through the creation of innovative and transformative artworks in our built environment. 

Who reviews the applications?

The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture reviews applications and decisions are final. If an applicant is not accepted during this round, it is because they were not able to convey that they have been actively curating public art projects in the past three years through their application.

Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria.

  • Evidence of a recent body of work (last three years), demonstrated by a resume or CV that lists dates and locations of exhibitions, installations, publications, performances, press, awards, residencies, jobs held in arts discipline field, and formal training if relevant.
  • Documentation of installations and exhibitions including image files, video clips, and writing samples. Files must be dated or they will not be considered. 
  • Recommendations and letters of support from peers and professionals in the arts.

When are applications accepted?
Applications for the Public Art Curator Roster are reviewed on a rolling basis. Applications are reviewed the last week of every month. If you submit your application by close of business on the last Tuesday of the month, your application will be reviewed that month.

When will I hear back about the status of my application?
You should expect to wait no more than 6 weeks to hear back.

Boston City Hall

Call to Artists & Art Organizations

The Scollay Square Gallery, The Mayor’s Gallery, and 

The Mayor’s Neighborhood Gallery at Boston City Hall.

 

Seeking artists and artist organizations, that live or create in Boston to exhibit at Boston City Hall. Your submission will be kept on file for future consideration.

 

Selection process

  • This is an ongoing search, there is no deadline


City of Boston logo 


Applications must be submitted three weeks before a Boston Art Commission meeting and six weeks before the proposed installation start date. The BAC meets on the second Tuesday of every month. 


COVID-19

The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture is following the City of Boston's phased re-opening plan. We encourage you to monitor the City's re-opening page, where we continue to update exhibit and performance guidelines. As you consider applying, keep in mind that these phases may impact approval and installation timelines. 

The Boston Art Commission, housed within the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, advocates for the creation of innovative and transformative art and promotes its accessibility to enrich the lives of Boston’s diverse citizens and visitors. The Art Commission advises, supports, and consults with artists and communities, City departments, and others. It commissions, approves, and conserves the City of Boston’s collection of art and historical artifacts. 

This form is for BAC review on whether to allow artwork to be sited on City property; this is not an application for funding. 

Please fill out the following form to propose both short and long-term public art and design interventions and installations on City of Boston property.

All applications may be reviewed by the Boston Art Commission at our monthly meeting, generally scheduled for the second Tuesday of the month. Applications must be submitted three weeks before a BAC meeting and six weeks before the proposed installation start date.

City of Boston Arts and Culture