Ends on November 1, 2019


Call to Artists released: September 30, 2019, at 12:00 pm EDT

Deadline for questions: October 18, 2019, at 5:00 pm EDT

Deadline for proposals: November 1, 2019, at 11:59 pm EDT 

Artist eligibility: RFP is open to all artists, domestic and international. Artists must apply separately to each opportunity. Artists may apply to and be awarded both or either commission, but the artworks must be designed, fabricated, and installed concurrently. 

Budgets:  Budgets are allocated to specific project sites and are not negotiable or transferable.  

Interior site: $300,000

Exterior site: $200,000

View or download the RFP here. 

Introduction and Background

The City of Boston, as part of a Percent for Art program, invites artists or artist teams to apply to create a permanent public artworks to complement a new building for the Boston Arts Academy in the Fenway Neighborhood of Boston. 

Percent for Art Program

 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. The Percent for Art Program is a critical policy outcome of this planning process and addresses Goal 4 of the plan: 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. The Percent for Art Program demonstrates 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. The Percent for Art Program is administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Art Commission, in collaboration with the Office of Budget Management, the Public Facilities Department, and other City departments. 

Site Context

Boston Arts Academy- A Public School

The Boston Arts Academy was founded in 1998 when a group of educators, parents, and community members recognized the need for a dedicated arts high school in the Boston Public School system. 

 Boston Arts Academy (BAA) is Boston’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts. BAA provides a diverse student body, a majority from low-income families, access to a college-preparatory arts and academic education. BAA’s mission is to prepare a community of aspiring artist-scholars-citizens to be successful in their college or professional careers and to be engaged members of their communities. BAA’s innovative arts and academic curriculum yields impressive results.  

In 2017, the Massachusetts School Building Authority and the Boston City Council approved $125M to construct a new, state-of-the-art facility at 174 Ipswich Street.  The BAA previously shared a 100 year old warehouse with another public high school which has since been re-located. 

The new building is designed by Perkins-Eastman and Wilson-Butler Architects. It will feature dedicated rehearsal and performance spaces, gallery space, studios for music, visual arts, and fashion design, academic classrooms, recreation areas, kitchens, and student commons. 

You can read more about BAA on their website:


The Fenway 

 The BAA is located in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, a high traffic, dynamic intersection of culture, education, and recreation in Boston. There are over a dozen institutions of higher learning within walking distance of the site, including Berklee School of Music, the New England Conservatory, Massachusetts College of Art + Design, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, and Emerson College, several of which helped found the school and remain active partners in the school’s growth and development. The school is across the street from Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museums are in close proximity, as are the Fens and the Esplanade, part of Frederick Law Olmstead’s Emerald Necklace of parks.  

Public Art Proposal Considerations

BAA Community Values

The BAA uses four shared values as guiding principles for the teaching and learning environment:

  • Community with Social Responsibility
  • Diversity with Respect
  • Passion with Balance
  • Vision with Integrity

Artists/ teams may wish to consider the shared values when crafting their proposals. 

Boston Art Commission (BAC) Curatorial Vision

 The Curatorial Vision of the BAC is to commission and approve innovative and transformative artworks that engage communities, enrich and enliven the urban environment, are driven by an artistically strong vision, enhance the diversity of the existing collection, respond directly to a specific environment, and possess durability appropriate to the lifespan of the work. 

Student Engagement

 As the BAA is an educational institute, the commissioned artist/ team for this project must include a robust educational component in their process.  Artists/ teams should consider ways in which they may engage the student community, though their proposal should not rely on or be driven by student design work. Such educational opportunities may include guest lectures, master classes, public art workshops, or engagement activities regarding the context and artistic process for the artworks.  

Existing Artworks


There are several existing artworks that applicants should be aware of:

Interior:  Dream Catching by Wen-Ti Tsen will be sited in an internal stairwell, visible from the school’s primary entrance and from the commons area around the Monumental Stair. 

Exterior: Teammates by Antonio Tobias Mendez and bronze tributes to Carl Yastrzemski, by Antonio Mendez, and Ted Williams, by Franc Talarico, are across Ipswich Street and visible from the BAA’s primary entrance and the sidewalk outside the school.  

Percent for Art Timeline and Process


The City anticipates that this project will take approximately two years to complete. The following is an RFP timeline and a proposed project timeline for both projects, which will run concurrently:

RFP Timeline for BOTH interior and exterior sites

September 30, 2019:  RFP available by noon EDT

October 18, 2019:  Deadline to submit questions 

November 1, 2019:  Deadline to respond to the RFP, 11:59 pm EDT

December 2019:  Interviews with artists/ teams; specific date and time TBD (Non-local artists may interview remotely via Google Hangouts)

January/ February 2020:  Artist/ team contract executed

Proposed Project Timeline

Spring 2020:  Artist/ team design phase

Summer 2020- Spring 2021:  Artist fabrication

Summer 2021:  Public art installation; facility opens to the public September 2021


 There are two project opportunities. The interior site has a budget of $300,000 and the exterior site has a budget of $200,000. Budgets are inclusive of the artist/ team fee, fabrication, installation, lighting, documentation, and all costs associated with the project and related student engagement activities. A preliminary itemized budget is required to apply but is subject to change until the Boston Art Commission approves the artist/ team’s final design.  

Who Should Apply | Eligibility 

This Call to Artists is open to all artists, artisans, architects, landscape architects, or teams, domestic and international, with experience in public art, site responsive design, project management, and construction administration. 

Artists must apply separately to each opportunity. Artists may apply to and be awarded both or either commission, but the artworks must be designed, fabricated, and installed concurrently. 



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.


Please contact Sarah Rodrigo, Public Art Project Manager, at sarah.rodrigo@boston.gov with any questions. Deadline for questions is October 18th at 5:00 pm EDT. Questions and answers will be posted on the Boston.gov/arts website.

Project Sites

The City has identified two sites for artwork, which are being offered as distinct opportunities. Artists may apply to both opportunities but must submit separate proposals for each one. 

Interior site: A Monumental Stair runs from 1st to 2nd floor in the center of the building, near the front entrance. There are opportunities to create suspended work or wall work. Artists must keep in mind the heavy use of this staircase, as well as the nature of the end-users (very creative teenagers).  Ceiling height and sightlines are limited. The main wall is concrete, and above the Stair is a slat ceiling with structural steel and the upper floor deck behind. 

Exterior site: The corner of Ipswich Street and Van Ness Street, on the public sidewalk. Placeholder sculpture in rendering (see Appendix A of the RFP, found here.)


Artist Responsibilities

The selected artist/ team is responsible for:

  • Conducting site and community research as needed
  • Incorporating design feedback from the Boston Art Commission
  • Coordinating with the Project Team to integrate the proposed artwork into the building/site.
  • Creating a detailed design of the proposed artwork and associated plans (such as engineering, lighting design, site details, electrical documents, or fabrication) to be presented for final approval from the Boston Art Commission
  • Fabrication of the completed work, documentation, as well as the management and oversight of all implementation and installation in coordination with the City Working Group
  • Furnish labor to install the proposed artwork that is able to work in harmony with all other elements of labor employed or to be employed at the work
  • Work performed at the Project site may be subject to prevailing wages
  • Creating a maintenance plan and appropriate documentation, including final recommendations for conservation

Project Approvals

This project is commissioned by the City of Boston via the Boston Art Commission, which must vote to formally approve the project. The artist/ team will meet with the Boston Art Commission Staff and/ or board at each phase of the project and will meet with other stakeholders at various points in the design and implementation process as required by those stakeholders approval processes. The artist/ team is expected to be collaborative and open to community and stakeholder  input; however, the Boston Art Commission has sole approval over each phase of the project and the final acceptance of the artwork into the City of Boston permanent collection.

Any Artist or team commissioned to create artwork for the City of Boston must register as a vendor with the City, carry appropriate insurance, and sign all required City of Boston forms and conditions. Please see Appendix C for Insurance Requirements. Artists will also be asked to sign standard contract CM 10/11, a public art contract addendum, CM-15A/15B CORI Compliance Certification, CM-09 Contractor Certification Form, and other standard contract documents. 

In the event that the Artist utilizes one or more subcontractors, the Artist will assume all responsibility for the performance of services by the subcontractor(s). The Boston Art Commission must be named as a third-party beneficiary in all subcontracts entered into between the Artist and the subcontractor(s). 

All responses and information submitted in response to this Request for Proposals 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 the property of the City. 

Selection Criteria 

Artist/ team selection will be determined by an Artist Selection Committee comprised of representatives from the Boston Art Commission, local arts professionals representing the neighborhood, and professional and student end-users of the project site. The Boston Art Commission reserves the right to disqualify any artist who does not meet basic criteria from consideration by the Artist Selection Committee. 

The Artist Selection Committee will review proposals using the following criteria:

  • Does the Artist/ team state a compelling interest in this project? 
  • Does the artist/ team proposal complement the community values, as well as the Boston Art Commission’s Curatorial Vision?
  • Does the artist/ team demonstrate experience with materials and methods suitable to the site and to their proposal?
  • Does the artist/ team’s past work show consistent artistic excellence?
  • Does the artist/ team show successful experience with projects of similar scope, scale, and budget?

Artists whose proposal submissions are non-responsive will not be shared with the selection committee.