As one of the United States’ oldest cities, Boston has been at the forefront of many of the conversations that have shaped the country. Boston is famous for spearheading the rebellion against Britain, leading abolitionist efforts, and in recent years fiercely advocating for immigrant rights. It has also maintained de facto and de jure racism from beginning with its storied role in European conquest and colonialism, through acting as an economic engine for slavery, and in recent generations, through supporting segregation in housing and education. This complex cultural legacy of revolution and erasure remains largely misunderstood as divergent and opposing narratives. Today, over half of the city’s residents are people of color. The city’s changing demographics present an opportunity to better understand our diverse, and often untold, historical and cultural inheritance, as well as our potential to live up to our democratic ideals. 

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC) is committed to the arts, however, we are also charged with representing and advancing culture in all of its forms. In addition to this RFI, we are seeking a thought partner to help us craft and implement a strategy that centers a multitude of cultures present in our communities and prioritizes funding artists, art organizations, and art forms that have historically had difficulty accessing funding through traditional channels.

This RFI’s purpose is to enable us to create a public roster of entities that do cultural equity work that we can publish on our website for people seeking these services. 

What We Are Seeking

In order to create a publicly available roster of qualified individuals and firms who focus on racial equity at the intersections of our program areas, MOAC is seeking individuals and firms who operate at the intersection of equity and arts and culture to:

  1. Inform the City’s ongoing consulting needs
  2. Serve as a resource for the arts and culture sector in Boston, and 
  3. Integrate creative and holistic approaches into ongoing equity and cultural competency trainings and work. 

For this RFI, MOAC is seeking information from individuals and firms with expertise in leading equity transformation and experience in the following areas of practice:

  • Arts and Culture Grantmaking and Program Design
  • Arts and Cultural Policy
  • Arts and Cultural Data Collection, Analysis, and Visualization
  • Creative Community Engagement
  • Creative Placemaking
  • Cultural Competency
  • Cultural Planning
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Socially Engaged, Social Practice, and Civic Practice Art
  • Technical Assistance and Professional Development for Artists and Cultural Workers/Practitioners 

We are also seeking information from individuals and firms with professional expertise in:

  • Trainings on any of the topics outlined above
  • Project evaluation on any of the topics outlined above
  • Facilitation on any of the topics outlined above
  • Case study research and development on any of the topics outlined above

What We Will Provide

This document is a Request for Information only. This RFI does not guarantee an award of contract. This is a solicitation for the advertisement of services. As we endeavor to support the advancement racial equity we want to know who works in this field and be able to provide a list that can be shared publicly between organizations that seek this kind of assistance from qualified service providers. This process may serve as the source for the creation of that curated list. 

MOAC will not be liable for any costs or expenses incurred by any Respondent in connection with this RFI. The costs and expenses incurred by a Respondent in the preparation, submission, and presentation of the response are the responsibility of the respondent and not chargeable to MOAC. Only respondents to this RFI will be included in the resultant directory. 

How to Reply

Please note All written responses to this RFI, or other written materials or presentations submitted in response with this RFI, or written questions regarding this RFI including return email addresses if questions or RFI responses are delivered via email, will become public records under the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Public Records Law (Massachusetts General Laws chapter 66 section 10; the “Public Records Law”) upon submission, regardless of any confidentiality notices that may be set forth on such written responses, materials, presentations, or questions. All such responses, materials, presentations, and questions are subject to public disclosure unless they, or any portions thereof, are otherwise exempted from the requirements of the Public Records Law pursuant to General Laws Chapter 4, Section 7(26). Do not submit confidential information in your response. Interested parties are invited to respond to this Request for Information (RFI).

We may request a follow-up interview or demonstration once we’ve reviewed the responses.

Opportunity Fund Guidelines


The Opportunity Fund provides grants that support meaningful one-time opportunities for artists living in the City of Boston to further develop their career, and helps provide access to more opportunities for communities throughout the City of Boston to engage in arts experiences. The Opportunity Fund has three grant categories:

  • Artist Career Development (up to $1,000 grant)
  • Community Arts Experiences & Events (up to $2,000 grant)
  • MCC Festivals Program Matching Grant (up to $1,000 grant)

Application Cycle

Please see below for upcoming application deadlines. Applications will be reviewed the week following every application deadline. Individuals may only receive grant funding from the Opportunity Fund once per round of funding. Please note that following the grant deadline it will take the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture up to 4-8 weeks to review applications, award applicants, and have payments processed. If your event is coming up shortly, you are welcome to apply to the Opportunity Fund to have your expenses reimbursed, but we will not be able to guarantee advanced funding.

Application Open and Close Dates:

September 1 - September 30, 2019

November 1 - November 30, 2019

January 1 - January 31, 2020

March 1 - March 31, 2020

May 1 - May 31, 2020

Available Funds

In FY20 $200,000 will be available for distribution in $1,000 and $2,000 grants from the Opportunity Fund. Grant size will depend on the grant category you apply for. Please review the description of each grant category to learn more.

Application Requirements For All Applicants & Awardees

To submit a complete application, applicants must submit a completed W9 and must register with the City of Boston as vendors. 

Reporting Requirements

All grantees will be required to submit a final report that describes the outcomes of the experience and how the funds were used. Final reports must be filed online within one year of receiving your grant award letter. Please note that if you are awarded a grant, you will be required to apply for a Vendor ID number from the City of Boston in order to receive your funds. Grantees must keep all receipts in case the City of Boston requests them.

Please continue reading for specific guidelines for each grant category:

Artist Career Development Grant (up to $1,000)

Who can apply? 

Individual artists living in the City of Boston who want to pursue meaningful one-time artistic opportunities to further their career such as:

  • Funding to help support an artistic project
  • Funding for materials
  • Funding for professional development opportunities

Who is eligible?

Artists residing within the City of Boston are eligible to apply for the Artist Career Development Grant if their annual household income is under 65% of area median income (AMI). Nearly 80% of Certified Artists surveyed make an income of under $50,000/year. See below for 2019 income limits:

$51,600 (household of 1)

$58,950 (household of 2)

$66,300 (household of 3)

$73,650 (household of 4)

$79,550 (household of 5)

$85,450 (household of 6)

What expenses are eligible?

  • Cost of materials
  • Cost of travel, conference, or residency fees and,
  • Costs related to an artistic project, such as help framing paintings before an exhibition

Local Arts Experiences & Events (up to $2,000)

Who can apply?

Individual artists, teaching artists, and arts organizations (non-profits, grassroots, collectives, etc.) who would like to bring free public arts experiences into a community located in the City of Boston.

  • Local Arts Experiences & Events prioritizes bringing arts experiences into neighborhoods in the City of Boston that have been identified as having a lower concentration of arts activities that are free and open to the public. Priority communities include: Allston/Brighton, Chinatown, Dorchester, East Boston, Fenway/Kenmore, Roxbury, Mission Hill, and Mattapan. 
  • Experience or event can be recurring, first-time, or stand-alone experiences or events
  • Experiences do not have to happen in these geographic areas, but these geographic areas will be prioritized. Whether applicants' arts experience or event will occur in one of these neighborhoods or not, applicants are encouraged to explain how the community they will serve through this art experience are underserved by arts activities in the City of Boston.
  • Experiences can be in libraries, schools, or less traditional arts-learning spaces such as senior centers, health centers, or community centers.
  • Experiences must be free and open to the public.
  • If an experience or event includes showing a film, the film must be the applicant's own work and/or the applicant must be able to prove permission to show this work.

Who is eligible?

Artists who are applying to bring arts experiences into communities can live anywhere, but the arts experience offered must occur in the City of Boston. Main Streets organizations and public schools cannot apply. 

What expenses are eligible?

  • Materials for the arts experience
  • Compensation for artist(s) facilitating experience

MCC Festivals Program Matching Grant (2:1 matching grant)

Who can apply? 

Organizations or individuals who are producing a festival occurring in the City of Boston who have received a Festivals Program grant from the Mass Cultural Council are eligible to receive a matching grant from the Opportunity Fund. 

Who is eligible?

Applicants can live anywhere, but the festival they are organizing must occur within the City of Boston.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Fees paid to artists, musicians, performers, celebrities, special guests, and speakers.
  • Programming and production costs.
  • Equipment rental such as: sound, stage, lighting.
  • Accessibility services such as: enhancements for people with visual impairment or hearing loss.
  • Audience surveys, research or economic impact studies related to festival activities
  • Translation costs such as: promotional or programming materials for multi-cultural audiences.
  • Marketing and promotional materials

The Opportunity Fund is no longer supporting field trips. If you're interested in supporting a field trip or you've had one supported in the past by the Opportunity Fund, please know that we are working to find another way to support arts and cultural field trips this year and will be in touch with any updates. 

Artist Certification Guidelines

What is an Artist Certificate? 

An Artist Certificate is a letter from Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. The letter confirms that the artist has been reviewed by a committee of peers and is “certified” as a working artist. An Artist Certificate qualifies an artist as eligible for live/work and work spaces listed through the Artist Space program - spaces developed by the City of Boston. The Artist Certification is valid for a period of eight years. Upon expiration, the artist will need to reapply ro renew their 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.

Who is eligible for an Artist Certificate?

Applicants must able to demonstrate that they have a recent body (last three years) of fine 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.

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 artist 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 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 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 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 

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 

Boston Art Commission logo 

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. 

Please note that the BAC only commissions artwork through public Requests for Proposals. This form is for BAC review and vote 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 will be reviewed by the Boston Art Commission at our monthly meeting, scheduled for the second Tuesday of the month. We ask for applications to be submitted three weeks before a BAC meeting and six weeks before the proposed installation start date.

Boston AIR 2020: Can Artists Change the City?

BOSTON Artists-in-Residence

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture invites artists working in all disciplines to submit qualifications to join a year-long cohort of Artists-in-Residence. 

Artists-in-Residence implement projects that imagine and test new approaches to City of Boston policies, processes, and procedures with the help of various City of Boston departments. This, in turn, helps to create a stronger and more equitable city. -Mayor Martin J. Walsh

Release:  Thursday December 19, 2019
Webinar:  Wednesday January 8, 2020 6pm est; please view here

Written Question Deadline: Thursday January 10, 2020, 5 pm est; view responses here

Application Deadline:  Wednesday January 22, 2020 5pm est

Funding: $30,000 and up to $10,000 in additional materials funding

Eligibility: Experienced artists, cultural practitioners, and/or cultural workers, aged 18 and over, working in any and all media are encouraged to apply. Full-time City of Boston employees, artists who have previously led a Boston AIR-funded project, and recipients of the Artist Fellowship Award are not eligible for consideration. 


Boston Artists-in-Residence (AIR) is an artist residency program in which a multidisciplinary cohort of artists collaborate with a parallel cohort of City of Boston partners to explore, critique, and re-imagine City initiatives at the intersection of civil service, social justice, and artistic practice. 

Civic practice projects are researched, co-designed, and implemented during the residency. While the projects are artist-driven, artists will develop their proposals over the course of their residency with a partnering City staff member and City department to collaboratively imagine and test new approaches to City of Boston policies, processes, and procedures that speak to existing issues and/or questions in that department. Artists will then share their residency work with the public through facilitated workshops, public presentations, community engagement, storytelling, and written reports.

Boston AIR has evolved over the course of four years. Core learnings from previous years of the residency program are embedded into the values of this year, including: examining City policies with a lens of resilience and racial equity (year 3); valuing proximity to people by pursuing an understanding of the impact of local government policy on the lived experience of Bostonians (year 2); and supporting collaborative and democratic creation of City policy, process, and practice (year 1).

City Partners

As part of their application, artists will express ranked interest in departments with which they would like to partner for their residency. Upon selection, artists will be matched with a City staff member who will participate in project research and design, support proposal development, and think through possible scalability of the project. 

Partnering City of Boston Departments:

  • Mayor's Housing Innovation Lab
  • Mayor's Commission for Persons with Disabilities
  • Office of Emergency Management
  • Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC): Violence Intervention & Prevention Initiative and Early Childhood Mental Health: Mental Health Awareness and Destigmatization
  • Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services
  • Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement
  • Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement

Recent plans and reports about these departments’ existing challenges, goals, and potential for collaboration are available at Artists are encouraged to read about departments that they are interested in to inform their application to the residency program.


Program Outcomes

While Boston AIR seeks to connect and foster a collective of creative Bostonians, in and out of City Hall, there are three distinct areas of desired outcomes for the program:

Outcomes for Artists: Increase the ability of Boston artists to design and lead socially engaged and impactful projects by providing a diverse cohort of thought partners, workshops with subject matter experts, and knowledge of municipal work.

Outcomes for City Government: Increase capacity for City departments and employees to take risks, be creative, and think holistically about the design and success of City policies and initiatives. 

Outcomes for Boston: The City of Boston expands its integration of creativity and participation into municipal work, deepening our collective understanding of what it means to be resilient and equitable and creating new approaches, policies, or procedures by which Boston can become a better city for every resident.


As members of the Boston AIR cohort, participating artists will be required to meet program milestones, participate in cohort meetings and workshops, and have access to a variety of resources. These resources include but are not limited to:

  • An extended opportunity to learn about the internal mechanism of City government
  • Access to City Hall offices for project research and collaboration
  • A peer group of artists 
  • A diverse audience from across the city
  • Dedicated office space/desk in a City of Boston department
  • Mentorship with past Boston Artists-in-Residence
  • Feedback from an advisory committee of art leaders
  • Paid access to the Arts Equity Summit

The artists will also be responsible for the following requirements:

  • A commitment of 15 hours each week to their residency
  • Attendance at program orientation sessions and two monthly meetings
  • At least two public presentations
  • Submission of monthly reports, periodic progress updates, and budget outlines
  • Regular availability for internal check-ins with the AIR leadership team
  • Punctual submission of Boston AIR project drafts and final proposal

The City reserves the right to terminate any residencies for an inability to follow the above conditions.


In total, artists’ awards are $30,000 artist fee and up to $10,000 for project materials. The artist fee and project budget include all expenses associated with insurance, labor, materials, contracted services, meetings, and travel required to complete the project through implementation. Any subcontractors required by the artist must be compensated out of the project budget. Any expense that exceeds this amount would be the artist’s responsibility, unless negotiated otherwise.

Please keep in mind that the City of Boston requires general liability insurance coverage for contractors to protect both the City and the contractor. Depending on the proposed project, artists may also be responsible for obtaining appropriate City permissions. 

City of Boston Orientation 

Artists must attend an orientation to Boston City Hall to better equip them for the upcoming year. During orientation artists will be given introductory sessions on City Hall agencies and civic and social practice pedagogy. Concurrently, City partners will receive orientation on the arts, incoming artists-in-residence, and previous Boston Artists-in-Residence projects. Orientation will provide context for the artists and their partners to begin the research and development phase of the residency. 

Cohort meetings and workshops

During the residency, artists will attend cohort meetings twice per month at the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. Over the course of the year, the cohort will attend workshops with artists working locally and nationally in the realm of civic and social practice art. Attendance at these workshops ensures that each artist is equipped with the proper skill-set needed to thrive in their artistry and that the cohort can serve as thought partners to each other’s AIR projects and experiences. Some of these workshops may be shared with other artist cohorts, Boston Artists-in-Residence alumnae, and City partners providing access to an even greater network for conversations around the intersection of civic media, social practice, equity, and resilience.  

As often as possible, workshops will be scheduled to align with monthly meetings; however, workshops may take place on some evenings and weekends. 

Advisory Committee and AIR Mentors

An advisory committee will participate in artist selection, review project proposals, advise the cohort halfway through the residency project, and will be invited to attend artist presentations. AIR Mentors will lead workshops with the cohort, attend events, and be available for advisory discussions at multiple points within residency. Committee members include:

  • John Andress - Bill T. Jones Director/Curator of Performing Arts at ICA, Boston 
  • Theo Tyson - Polly Thayer Starr Fellow in American Art and Culture at The Boston Athenæum
  • Leah Triplett Harrington - Assistant Curator at Now + There 
  • Rhea Vedro - Director of Community Engagement at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
  • Rashin Fahandej - Boston Artists-in-Residence mentor
  • Karen Young - Boston Artists-in-Residence mentor
  • Shaw Pong Liu - Boston Artists-in-Residence mentor


December 19, 2019 RFQ Released

January 8, 2020, 6 p.m. EST Webinar; details will be posted at

January 10, 2020, 5 p.m. EST Written question deadline; email; responses posted here

January 22, 2020 5 p.m. EST Application deadline

February 2020 Artist selection and contracting

March 2020 Orientation and residency commencement

March-April 2020 Research

April 24-April 26, 2020 Arts Equity Summit

May-June 2020 Proposal draft development

July-December 2020 Project implementation and public presentation

January-February 2021 Project final reporting and public presentation

  • Boston AIR will be one year in length, with a two month research and development period. 
  • Artists will attend cohort meetings twice per month at the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. 
  • Project proposals must be reviewed and approved by program leadership before put in action in the residency. 
  • Artist fee awarded and paid in scheduled installments to artists upon reaching project milestones and fulfilling program requirements.

Fluidity of Residency

Applicants must understand that residencies are fluid and dynamic entities that are subject to change.  Artists should be incorporating feedback from City partners and the AIR leadership team when applicable. Boston AIR holds the right to make amendments to the structure, timeline, and content of each artist's residency.

Selection Process and Criteria

A committee of local arts leaders and Boston Artists-in-Residence mentors will conduct a first review of artist submissions using the criteria listed below. City officials will then review applications for compatibility with partnering departments. Top artists will then be invited to attend in-person interviews and submit references. The final artist cohort will include a mix of artistic disciplines and experience.

Selection criteria:

  • Artist’s body of work shows a strong, clear artistic vision. 
  • Artist has experience and expressed interest in collaborative creative work. 
  • Artist has demonstrated organizational experience. 
  • Artist has firsthand knowledge of cultures and communities in the city of Boston.
  • Artist’s body of work demonstrates interest in social justice, resilience, and racial equity.
  • Artist’s body of work or area of interest aligns with identified City of Boston departments and/or policy areas.


Please apply here after creating an account profile.

Please Note:

  • Artists should not submit proposals at this stage.
  • We are only accepting electronic submissions.

Please send questions to Karin Goodfellow, Director of the Boston Art Commission and Boston AIR, at All questions must be submitted by email by Thursday January 10, 2020, 5 pm est with subject line “BostonAIR questions.” Answers to questions will be posted at by January 15, 2020. You can also view the responses here.

You can view the webinar here.


 By submitting an application, the applicant assures that all copyright holders have consented to the submission and use of all media files by the City of Boston. This includes the use of the images in the following forms: multimedia, print or digital publications, presentations, or an online archive.

The City of Boston reserves the right to alter any aspect of the selection process or overall project in any way for its own convenience at any time. This Request for Qualifications does not constitute either an expressed or implied contract and these provisions are subject to change. By submitting an application, the applicant assures that all copyright holders have consented to the submission and use of all media files by the City of Boston.  This includes the use of the images in the following forms: multimedia, print or digital publications, presentations, or an online archive.

The City of Boston requires insurance coverage in place for contractors to protect both the City and the contractor. Your work may possibly qualify for adjustments to or a waiver of certain insurance requirements, depending on the project risk, and insurance cost relative to your financial circumstances. Artists may apply for a waiver of the insurance requirement. The request to waive certain requirements should identify the specific adjustment/waiver being requested, specific financial information regarding the cost of coverage relative to your financial situation and need for the coverage for the work proposed. Determining factors will include how the proposed art or design project will be displayed, performed, and if it’s installation or deinstallation of the proposed project requires the use of additional employees, contractors, subcontractors or volunteers beyond the lead artist. 


In 2015 Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Boston Creates, a 10 year cultural plan for the City of Boston. The goals of Boston Creates are encompassed within its five core areas of focus: 

  1. to create fertile ground for a vibrant and sustainable arts and culture ecosystem to keep artists in Boston and attract new ones here, 
  2. to recognize and support artists’ essential contribution to creating and maintaining a thriving, healthy, and innovative city, 
  3. to cultivate a city where all cultural traditions and expressions are respected, promoted, and equitably resourced, and where opportunities to engage with arts and culture are accessible to all, 
  4. to integrate arts and culture into all aspects of civic life, inspiring all Bostonians to value, practice, and reap the benefits of creativity in their individual lives and in their communities, and 
  5. to mobilize likely and unlikely partners, collaborating across institutions and sectors, to generate excitement about, and demand and resources for, Boston’s arts and culture sector.   

Out of this cultural initiative grew Boston AIR, a program dedicated to furthering the integration of the arts and culture in all aspects of civic life through civic practice, intrinsically tied to social justice movements and policy change through its historical role in activism. For the past four years, Boston AIR has been exploring this concept, working to enliven and support the efforts of City departments to better serve Boston communities, through the inclusion of artists as conduits for local issues of civic and social practice. 

In the fall of 2015, three artists completed residency projects over the course of the year in partnership with City departments. For the second year of Boston AIR in 2016, ten artists were stationed at Boston Centers for Youth and Families across Boston. Boston AIR’s intentionally diverse collective of artists, rich in varied experiences and skills, reflects the eclectic composition of Boston neighborhoods. The first two years of Boston AIR included visual artists, writers, a sculptor, a graphic novelist, a violinist, a percussionist, painters, and others. 

During the most recent year of Boston AIR, seven artists worked with City partners, local organizations, and community centers. All artists applied a lens of resilience and racial equity to their projects. Some worked alongside a City partner and co-designed a program with community members to understand policy impact on a personal level, others took a more objective or critical role and created artwork based on their research. 

To date, Boston AIR has supported the evolution of multimedia projects from 20 diverse artists. From a dancer addressing the impact of climate change on marginalized communities to a documentarian addressing mass incarceration through fathers’ lullabies, artists have used their residencies to examine how art can be a medium for bolstering positive outcomes, exposing inefficiencies, and possibly shifting systems to create more equitable communities.

Through Boston AIR, artists have been supported as agents of reflection, collaboration, and activism, whether through process-oriented practice, direct community engagement, or as leaders of system-wide change projects. As engaged citizens, leading thinkers, and change-makers in our community, Artists are shaping our community. 

City of Boston Arts and Culture