Transformative Public Art: The Joy Agenda!

This year, the Mayor’s Office is launching the “Joy Agenda”, a city-wide invitation, opportunity and investment in our collective well being. We believe transformative public art helps us all make space for joy, reconnection, and celebration. The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Art Commission invite artists to submit interest and proposals for the development of transformative public artworks, with particular interest in murals and in short-term and new media art projects.

In the last year, we have affirmed our belief that public art must take new and different forms. Through this call, we are again seeking relational public art by commissioning artworks that hold space for joy, encourage opportunities for collective processing of grief, and invest in healing, imagination, and play.

We understand that finding joy through art includes making room for both celebrating and processing our experiences. We are looking for artworks that respond to COVID-19 and racial and social justice movements, and provide creative approaches to public connections and cultural community gatherings. Projects should take into account that people have different comfort levels about coming together in public spaces, and that many of us are simultaneously mourning losses while feeling gratitude.


IMPORTANT DATES

This is a three-part Call to Artists/ Organizers (full text at the link) for murals, new media, and short-term public artworks for sites across the city.

The budgets are $25,000- $75,000 per mural site and start at $1,000 for other projects.

The Call opened on Monday, May 17, 2021. 

Opportunity 1 closes on Wednesday, June 2, at 5 pm EDT.

Opportunity 2 closes on Wednesday, June 16, at 5 pm EDT. (Extended to June, 30, at 5pm EDT!)

Opportunity 3 closes on Wednesday, June 30, at 5 pm EDT.

This Call is open to all arts and culture practitioners, organizers, and/or professional artists, curators, cultural workers, arts administrators, etc. with a strong preference for those who live in or have a connection to Boston and/or the overall theme or the theme for an individual site.

We will have two virtual Question and Answer sessions: the first on Monday, May 24th at 7 pm and the second, Wednesday, May 26th at noon.

We welcome written question until Wednesday, May 26th.

Please view the full text HERE for more detailed information!

 
Questions and answers can be viewed here (LINK). You can also watch video of the two sessions here!


Who Should Apply | Eligibility
Transformative Public Art is open to all artists and organizers, domestic and international, with experience in public art, site responsive design, project management, and construction administration. 


Non-Discrimination
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.


Questions? Contact
Please fill out this form or send emails to BAC@boston.gov with the subject Transformative Public Art. 


Deadline for content-specific questions is Wednesday, May 26th, 2021, at noon EDT.
Questions and answers will be posted on the Boston.gov/arts website and can be viewed here (link will be added after May 26th)
Technical questions about the Submittable application are welcome until the deadlines!


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.


Request for Qualifications

The City of Boston, through its Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC), is seeking an individual or a team to consult with MOAC on a mural to honor the life and legacy of Rita Hester. The consultant will act as an organizer, advocate, and facilitator in the public art process, lending their expertise and community and cultural knowledge to ensure the project celebrates and acknowledges the life and experiences of Rita Hester and the larger trans community within Boston.

The Basics

This is a request for a team to work with MOAC from July to November.

The budget is $9,950

The application opened on Friday, June 4, at 5 pm EDT.

The application closes on Tuesday, June 22, at 5 pm EDT.

This Call is open to all arts and culture practitioners, organizers, and/or professional artists, curators, cultural workers, arts administrators, etc.

Background

Rita Hester was a Black trans woman and beloved Allston community member. Activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith established the International Trans Day of Remembrance to honor Rita Hester and others who lost their lives as a result of transphobia and anti-trans violence. It has been observed annually since November 20, 1999 and is a day to draw attention to the continued violence endured by transgender people. This mural was proposed by one of our former Artists-in-Residence, Golden, in dedication to Rita Hester, and other trans individuals who have been murdered due to anti-trans violence.

Although Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed internationally on November 20, there is currently no physical piece or monument that memorializes Rita Hester in the City of Boston. Other efforts to memorialize Rita Hester in Boston over the years include an effort to name a community green space in the Allston Yards development after her.

MOAC acknowledges that a mural alone does not uplift a community, heal years of trauma, or make up for inequities in justice, access to government resources, or support for communities who are and have been historically underserved. We know there is more to be done within our work and programs to better serve Trans and Nonbinary residents, and will continue to do our part in listening, questioning and working towards change.

What We’re Looking for in an Individual or Consultant Team

Preferred Characteristics:

  • Direct and/or lived experience with trans and non-binary communities
  • Interest in art as part of a larger vision for cultural equity and public expression
  • Familiarity with Boston’s neighborhoods, cultures, and communities
  • Familiarity or experience with current discourse on racial equity, social resilience, and systems change
  • Ability to commit to 65 hours of engagement (Below are our estimations for breakdown of time. The actual hours may differ slightly.)
  • If applying as a team, the preferred team would provide different points of view and experience
  • If applying as an individual, the preferred candidate will invite other collaborators and voices throughout the project
  • Applicants do not need prior consulting experience and do not have to be part of a consulting firm as long as they can fulfill the scope.

Primary Deliverables:

  • Committee recommendations:
    • Recommend 3-4 community members with relevant experience for the Artist Review and Site Selection Committee and 3-4 community members with relevant experience for the Community Engagement Committee. Consultant and MOAC will review recommendations and collectively choose 2-3 from the consultant list to sit on each committee.
  • Two public community engagements:
    • Plan, schedule, and facilitate two public project engagements with MOAC, one for Trans Day Of Remembrance and the other to be determined collaboratively by the consultant, Community Engagement Committee, and MOAC team. Public engagements can include but are not limited to: virtual events, or in-person events if safe to do so, and may be supplemented with social media campaigns and in-person outreach.
  • Final report on process and recommendations
    • Share a final report and/or internal presentation summarizing the mural development and public art process, include any recommendations to MOAC for future projects.

Advisory Role and Meetings Scope: [estimated 25 hours]

  • Attend monthly project meetings with MOAC team and commissioned artist, once selected
    • Share insight and knowledge with MOAC team on ways to engage community stakeholders to grow support for the project. Share relevant plans and feedback to strengthen the project throughout various stages.
  • Attend meetings with Artist Review and Site selection Committee and Community Engagement Committee as necessary including final review of site and artist selection process
    • Advise during review of site and artist recommendation process, and community engagement process, sharing expertise and knowledge.

Community Engagement and Outreach Scope: [estimated 40 hours]

  • Advocate on behalf of the project to community stakeholders
    • Connect with community stakeholders, and listen to various concerns and desires in connection to the mural in order to advocate on their behalf. Connections may include but are not limited to: attending neighborhood meetings, presenting at civic association meetings, connecting with neighborhood groups, engaging various communities or organizations.
    • Leverage networks and connections (neighborhood and/or community) to engage the public with specific focus on the trans and nonbinary community and those that live in Allston, with particular care to connect with underrepresented community members.
  • Other tasks consultants or MOAC team may identify as necessary for the project.

Timeline

  • June 4, 2021 5 pm EDT
    • RFQ for consultant services released
  • June 10, 2021
    • Last day to submit written questions via email that will be responded to in Q&A sheet posted on June 11. Q&A sheet will be linked to the Submittable. Technical questions about how to submit the application can be asked up to the deadline.
  • June 22, 2021 5 pm EDT
    • Applications due
  • July 6, 2021
    • Consultant contract begins
  • July - November 2021
    • Contract and engagement period

Term

The expected term of the contract/engagement will be approximately five (5) months.

Budget

Total budget of $9,950

Up to 65 hours of administration and engagement

What You Need to Apply

Please include the following in your submission:

  • Statement of interest
  • Previous work or other related experiences (preferably references)
  • Brief biographies of team lead/members (1-2 pages) and or consultant CV/resume
  • Diversity and inclusion plan
    • 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.
  • Budget
    • Please include your hourly or day rate. Should MOAC want to expand the scope of work and require continued professional services directly related to this RFQ, we’ll put an additional statement of work in place using the hourly rates provided here.


Submission of Response

  • Submissions must be received by MOAC by June 22 at 5 pm EDT through Submittable.

Contact

Please contact BAC@Boston.gov with any questions. Please title your email Rita Hester Mural Consultant.

Standard Contract Terms

Please review the City’s standard terms and conditions, which are in the attached form CM11, the subject engagement may be subject to such terms, to the extent applicable.

Cancellation, Rejection, & Waiver

The City is under no obligation to proceed with this RFQ and may cancel the RFQ at any time with or without the substitution of another. The City reserves the right to reject in whole or in part any or all Proposals, when the City determines that rejection serves the best interests of the City.

About the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture is a City agency that enhances the quality of life, the economy, and the design of the City through the arts. The role of the arts in all aspects of life in Boston is reinforced through equitable access to arts and culture in every community, its public institutions, and public places. Key areas of work include support to the cultural sector through grants and programs, support of cultural facilities and artist workspace, as well as the commissioning and care of art in public places.

Public Meetings and the Boston Art Commission

Artworks proposed for City of Boston property are reviewed at public meetings held by the

Boston Art Commission (BAC). The BAC is the commissioning body for the City of Boston. Housed in the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, the BAC also holds contracts with artists, approves artwork on City land, and conserves the City of Boston’s collection of art and historical artifacts. The Boston Art Commission, staffed by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, is an independent board composed of two ex-officio and seven appointed volunteer art and design professionals that typically holds public meetings on the second Tuesday of each month to review and vote on matters concerning the City’s art collection.

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