Ends in 1 day, 9 hours

Do you make music? Are you a poet? Do you express yourself through dance or theater? What places in Boston come to mind when you think about Black History? Where do you go for inspiration?

The Mayor’s Office of Diversity and The Mayor’s Office Of Arts And Culture are calling on students residing in Boston to document Black History Inspiring Our Future through performance art.

We invite you to learn about places where the Black women and men who shaped Boston’s history made their mark. Can they inspire you? Tell us how you will build on the successes of Bruce Bolling, Donna Summer, Phillis Wheatley, A. Philip Randolph, Mel King, Bill Russell or any other African American hero you can think of! Will you become a great artist, public servant, athlete, parent, or business owner? Show the world!


Black History Inspiring Our Future


The purpose of the contest is to inspire Boston students to celebrate the city’s Black History and envision themselves as future contributors, in the spirit of the many great Black historical figures that have made the city great.

How it works

Students are asked to visit one or more sites related to Boston’s Black History and submit artwork inspired by the place they visited. The City of Boston will provide a list of suggested sites to visit, but participants are encouraged to introduce new sites they believe to be relevant to Boston’s Black community.


We will receive submissions in the following categories:

  • Music

  • Performance art (dance, short play, comedy, etc.)

  • Spoken word poetry

  • Digital artwork (including photos, slideshows, and PDFs)


  • This contest is open to all students of public, private, charter, or home school programs residing in the City of Boston and currently enrolled in grades 6 through 12.

  • Students can participate as individuals or in teams.  

  • Winners must be available to tape a news segment the morning of Friday, February 23rd (10AM -12PM).


Participants need to provide:

  1. Artwork: A file in one of the allowed formats (.pdf, .doc, .mp3, .mp4, .avi, .mov, .wmv, .flv, no longer than 5 minutes).

  2. A paragraph detailing the reason they chose the particular site and how its history influenced their artwork (.pdf, 500 word limit).

  3. A picture of the contestant visiting the site (.jpeg, .png).

Contest Dates 

Thursday, February 1st, 2018 at 12:00 AM through Thursday, February 22nd, 2018, at midnight.

Access to Digital Tools

If you need assistance to access the internet or digital tools to participate, please visit any branch of the Boston Public Library or one of the Boston Centers for Youth and Family (BCYF) that provide free internet access. For more information on free internet access or digital skills resources, visit the Broadband and Digital Equity website.

The Sites

The following is a list of sites suggested by the City of Boston. Participants are encouraged to visit one of these sites or submit artwork related to sites not on this list that they consider relevant to the Black community in Boston:

  1. 12th Baptist Church (50 Warren St, Roxbury)

  2. A. Philip Randolph Statue (Back Bay MBTA Station, 45 Dartmouth Street, Back Bay)

  3. Bill Russell Statue (City Hall Plaza)

  4. Black Heritage Trail (includes 14 sites in the Beacon Hill neighborhood).

  5. Bruce C. Bolling Building (2300 Washington Street, Roxbury)

  6. Donna Summer childhood home (16 Parker Hill Ave., Mission Hill, not open to public)

  7. Haley House (2302 Washington Street, Roxbury)

  8. Harriet Tubman Memorial (Harriet Tubman Park, Pembroke St. and Columbus Ave. South End)

  9. Henry Hampton Home (88 Lambert Street, Roxbury, not open to public)

  10. Malcolm X. House (72 Dale Street, Roxbury, not open to public)

  11. National Center of Afro-American Artists (300 Walnut Avenue, Roxbury)

  12. Phillis Wheatley statue at the Boston Women’s Memorial (Commonwealth Avenue Mall)

  13. South End Technology Center @ Tent City (359 Columbus Ave, South End)

  14. William Monroe Trotter House (97 Sawyer Ave., Dorchester, not open to public)


  • 1/15: City of Boston announces contest.

  • 2/1 to 2/16: Online portal open for submissions.

  • 2/16: 10:30 PM, Boston Channel 25 Black History Month Half Hour Special airs.

  • 2/19-2/21: Judges select winners for three categories and two age groups (6-8 grades and 9-12 grades, 6 winners total).

  • 2/23: Awards Ceremony at National Center of Afro-American Artists (10 AM-12 PM).

Please Note:

  • Digital submissions only.

  • Only complete submissions will be reviewed; please see above “Submissions” section above for requirements.

  • By participating in this contest, you are granting the City of Boston permission to use your submitted artwork in informational materials.

Please direct all questions to Tania Del Rio at tania.delrio@boston.gov or 617-635-0910.

Call released:                        Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Deadline for responses:      Wednesday, February 28, 2018 (by midnight EST)

Budget:                                 $3-5 Million 

For more information about this project, see www.mlkboston.org

Martin Luther King, Jr. expressed explicit hope that his legacy would act as a call to action in his sermon The Drum Major Instinct delivered on February 4, 1968. In keeping with his wishes, the non-profit organization MLK Boston, in partnership with the Boston Art Commission and the City of Boston, announces a competition for a permanent installation commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s and Coretta Scott King’s legacy in our city, our nation, and the world.


The time is always right to do right.                                         

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Address at the Fifty-Third Annual

Convention of the NAACP, July 5, 1962

A King memorial in Boston seems overdue given the issues and social justice Dr. King articulated and sought to achieve within the framework of the American civil rights movement. Today, the issues we confront as a nation--including enduring economic inequalities, labor rights, racial discrimination and injustice, provocations of white nationalists, issues of just war and fragile peace, and questions of immigration and nativism--make Dr. King’s words and deeds as urgent and relevant as they were in the past. Coretta Scott King’s words and activism have also retained their relevance in contemporary conversations on peace and poverty and underscore the continued struggle to recognize the voices and work of women in civil rights and human rights struggles.

The Kings’ example remains indispensable for reflecting upon the challenges of citizenship, activism, and service that current and future generations face in pursuit of a just society. At a moment when public memorials are questioned, it is time to elevate the landscape of public memory with a monument to this great family of leaders and share an underacknowledged part of Boston’s story.


Dr. King and Coretta Scott King spent formative and influential years in Boston, where they met as students. During this time, King received a PhD from Boston University in systematic theology, deepening his ideas on religion and politics, while serving as assistant pastor at Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury. A life-long musician, Coretta Scott received a degree in music education in voice and violin from the New England Conservatory of Music, later incorporating song and poetry into her important civil rights work. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1971 in recognition of her accomplishments. Dr. King maintained a significant relationship with the City of Boston, receiving critical support from local religious and political leaders like James Reeb, the Unitarian Universalist minister who was murdered during the voting rights demonstrations in Selma; depositing archival material for future research at Boston University; and in 1965 testifying before the Massachusetts Legislature and holding a march from the South End to the Boston Common’s Parkman Bandstand where he spoke on civil rights. Boston proves to be an essential part of the story in the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.


The location is to be determined but will be within the City of Boston. Additional thematic research on several possible sites and the Kings’ connections to Boston will be made available during the second phase of the project.


This memorial seeks to create a compelling call to action. The memorial is intended to inspire visitors to reflect on Dr. King’s life and the values he espoused, prompting each of us to consider how we can contribute to realizing his vision of an equitable and fair society. The memorial will also honor the contributions of Coretta Scott King, a civil rights icon in her own right, thus recognizing the crucial contributions she and other women made to the civil rights movement. Coretta Scott King’s and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s relationship to the City of Boston was rooted in community service, commitment, education, and activism, which are reflective of the needs and spirit of today’s Boston.


For more information about Dr. King and Coretta Scott King, see www.mlkboston.org/resources.


This international RFQ is open to all artists, architects, landscape architects, or teams (hereinafter referred to as “the Artist”) engaged with public art, site responsive design, project management, and construction administration. Artists from the Boston area are encouraged to apply.


  • The Artist demonstrates a history of competency in project management and construction administration of projects of significant scale.

  • The Artist has experience in proactive organizing and partnering with multiple, and possibly disparate, stakeholders with cultural sensitivity.

  • The Artist’s statement demonstrates an interest in social justice, resilience, and racial equity.

  • The vision for the project speaks to the memorial's significance to Boston and responds to the Boston Art Commission’s Curatorial Mission to commission and approve innovative and transformative artworks that:

    • Engage the community,

    • Enrich and enliven the urban environment,

    • Are driven by a clear artistic vision,

    • Enhance the diversity of the existing collection,

    • Respond directly to the specific environment,

    • And possess durability appropriate to the lifespan of the work.

  • The Artist’s body of work shows a strong, clear artistic vision.


Stage 1: Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

Via Submittables, applicants are asked to submit:

1. Artist descriptions, including bios, preferred pronouns, resumes/CVs

2. Artist statement

3. Project vision explicating artist’s conception of the memorial's significance for Boston and its visitors from around the world, now, and in the future

4. Past work samples with an annotated image list*

5. List of references

*Please note that we are not requesting design work at this stage and will not review applications that submit design proposals.

Stage 2: Request for Proposals (RFP)

Up to five applicants will be invited to develop proposals to include a written project statement, visuals, models, schedule, and budget, followed by an in-person interview and presentation. These five applicants will each be paid $5,000 for work on their proposals. After review of the materials and candidate interviews, the Selection Committee will determine the winning artist.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

RFQ available

Monday, February 5, 2018, 7-8pm EST

Informational webinar on artist application process

Wednesday, February 28, 2018, Midnight EST    

RFQ deadline

April/ May 2018

Artist interviews (if needed)


May 2018

Announcement of five artists

May-August 2018

Artist research and proposal development

September - October 2018

Interviews, presentations, proposal exhibition, and public comment

November 2018

Announcement of final artist


Please see the MLK Boston website at www.mlkboston.org for general updates and questions. For art process related questions, contact Karin Goodfellow, Director of the Boston Art Commission at the City of Boston, at BAC@Boston.gov. If you are submitting questions for the webinar, please include the subject line “MLK webinar question”. 

Ends on March 30, 2018

Artist Certification Guidelines

What is an Artist Certificate? 

An Artist Certificate is a letter from Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Planning and Development Agency (formerly BRA) to an artist. 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 artist spaces for a period of eight years. Upon expiration, the artist will need to renew their certification.

Who is eligible for an Artist Certificate?

Applicants must able to demonstrate that they have a recent body of work 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

Who reviews the applications?

A Peer Review Panel selected from a pool of Boston artists and arts professionals reviews applications on a quarterly basis.

The decision of the panel is final. If an applicant is not certified during this round, they can request feedback on how to improve their application and reapply in a future round. 

Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria.

  • Evidence of a recent body of work, demonstrated by an artist resume or CV that lists dates and locations of exhibitions, publications, performances, or press. 

  • Documentation of artwork including image files, video clips, and writing samples.

  • Recommendations and letters of support from peers and professionals in the arts.

When are applications accepted?

Applications for the Artist Certification are reviewed four times per year. The four review deadlines are: March 30, June 30, September 30, and December 30. Applications are not reviewed on a rolling basis. Applications for each of these deadlines are reviewed during the month following the deadline.

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

You will receive an email updating you on the status of your application one month following the deadline of the application period in which you applied. Applications are not reviewed on a rolling basis.

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. 

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
Public Art  Design Application
Public Art  Design Application

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 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 generally ask for applications to be submitted 2 weeks before a BAC meeting and 6 weeks before the proposed start date, to allow us time to process the request and work with other departments for permissions and the insurance waiver scheduled BAC meeting.

Ends on February 28, 2018

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 five grant categories:

  • Artist Career Development

  • Community Arts Experiences

  • Local Arts Events

  • MCC Festivals Program Matching Grant

  • Field Trips

Application Cycle

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed every other month. Individuals may only receive grant funding from the Opportunity Fund once per year. See below dates to decide when to apply for the Opportunity Fund.

If you need funding between:

Apply by this deadline:

You will be notified if you received funding by:

February 28-April 30, 2018

December 30, 2017

February 28, 2018

April 30-June 30, 2018

February 28, 2018

April 30, 2018

June 30-August 30, 2018

April 30, 2018

June 30, 2018

August 30-October 30, 2018

June 30, 2018

August 30, 2018

October 30-December 30, 2018

August 30, 2018

October 30, 2018

December 30, 2018-February 28, 2019

October 30, 2018

December 30, 2018

Available Funds

In 2017-2018 $200,000 will be available for distribution from the Opportunity Fund. The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will make $33,333 available every other month.

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 the grant. Please note that if you are awarded a grant, you or your fiscal sponsor will be required to apply for a Vendor ID number from the City of Boston in order to receive your funds.

Please continue reading for specific guidelines for each grant category:

Artist Career Development Grant

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 2017 income limits:

Household Size

65% AMI













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

Community Arts Experience Grant

Who can apply?

Individual artists and/or teaching artists who would like to bring free arts experiences into a community located in the City of Boston.

  • The Community Arts Grant 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.  

  • Experiences do not have to happen in these geographic areas, but these geographic areas will be prioritized. Whether applicants' arts experience 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.

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.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Materials for the arts experience

  • Compensation for artist(s) facilitating experience

Local Arts Event Grant

Who can apply?

Artists leading an established, annual community-based arts experience/event/festival can apply for funding to support their event.

Who is eligible?

Organizers of a pre-existing event in the City of Boston that has been held at least once in past years. For example, all currently existing Open Studios cohorts are welcome to apply for this grant. Events must be free arts-focused events that are open to the public. Organizations who are receiving operational support from the Boston Cultural Council Organizational Grant are welcome to apply for the Event Grant.

Who is ineligible?

Organizations that received programmatic funding through the Boston Cultural Council Organizational Grant cannot receive funding through the Opportunity Fund in the same year. Organizations that received operational funding through the Organizational Grant are welcome to apply for this Event Grant.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Promotion and marketing materials such as: advertising, design and printing, marketing consultants, and production and design of and collateral such as maps and wayfinding.

  • Supply and equipment needs for the event itself such as tables, tents, pop-up canopies, and chair rentals.

  • Shuttle rental

  • Fees paid to designers, artists, musicians, performers, celebrities, special guests, and speakers.

MCC Festivals Program 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.

Field Trips

Who can apply?

Teachers at K-12 schools in the City of Boston who are planning arts and cultural field trips are welcome to apply for an Opportunity Fund Field Trip Grant to help support the costs of the field trip.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must be teachers or school administrators at schools that are located in the City of Boston.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Travel

  • Tickets

  • Food