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The City of Boston, via the Boston Art Commission, invites artists to apply to create designs for permanent interior artworks to complement the recent renovation of the Vine Street Boston Center for Youth and Families in Dudley Square. 

RFP can viewed here: http://bit.ly/2PjdFne

Call released: Friday, October 25th, 2019, noon EST

Deadline for questions: Monday, November 18th EDT

Deadline for responses: Friday, December 6th, 11:59 pm EDT

Budget: $9,999

Project Context

This Call to Artists opportunity is part of the recent renovation of the Vine Street Boston Center for Youth and Families (BCYF). The mission of BCYF is to enhance the quality of life for Boston residents by partnering with community center councils, agencies, and businesses to support neighborhood needs. Their affordable programs range from preschool, school-aged and adult education, family literacy, and youth employment to violence prevention and intervention, senior activities, recreation and enrichment. Click here to learn more about their work.

The Walsh administration's multimillion dollar investment in the Vine Street center allowed it to receive the repairs and upgrades necessary to offer many additional resources to the Roxbury neighborhood. Upgrades included: renovating and reconfiguring all interior spaces, adding a fitness center, expanding the teen center, improving access to the center, adding air conditioning to the gym, and much more. Renovations were completed and the Center re-opened in the fall of 2018. 

A previous Call to Artists for an exterior permanent public artwork resulted in the commissioning of artist Casto Solano. Mr. Solano’s artwork for the Vine Street BCYF exterior front entry area will be installed in 2020.

Curatorial Vision

The Curatorial Vision of the Boston Art Commission (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.

Design Goals and Cultural Context

There are three qualities of the Vine Street BCYF and surrounding neighborhood that the artist may wish to take into consideration when applying:


The purpose of Boston’s BCYF centers is to enhance the quality of life for all Bostonians. Vine Street BCYF offers a wide array of programs and connections and has created a space in which various communities in the neighborhood can gather, play, and learn. Reflecting the diversity of membership and programming is a primary goal for this artwork. 

Multi-generational use

The Vine Street BCYF serves the entire Dudley Square area in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. While most people are familiar with their robust children’s and teen’s programming, the center also has dedicated space for senior activities, and the exercise and other common rooms attract users of all ages and abilities. 

Health and wellness 

Much of the programming for the BCYF focuses on active living for all ages. Dance, basketball, active play, and group exercise are all strong programs at this location. BCYF designs their programing in alignment with their ACES framework (Arts, Community & Civic Engagement, Education and Sports, Recreation & Fitness). Artwork that reflects or engages the existing culture of wellness and physical activity would be appropriate for this site.

Percent for Art Timeline and Process


The City anticipates that this project will take approximately one year to complete. The following is the anticipated RFP timeline and a proposed project timeline:

RFP Timeline

Friday, October 25, 2019  RFP available by noon EST

Monday, November 18, 2019  Deadline for questions

Friday, December 6, 2019  Deadline to respond to the RFP, midnight EDT 

January 2020  Interviews with artists/ teams; specific date and time TBD

(Non-local artists may interview remotely via Google Hangouts)

March 2020  Artist/ team contract executed

Proposed Project Timeline (subject to change)

Spring 2020  Artist/ team design phase

Summer/ Fall 2020  Fabrication and installation


The total design budget is $9,999. This includes all of the artist’s costs associated with proposal, design, and the creation of high resolution digital files that will be used to create the final artworks.  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.

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will manage the fabrication, oversight, and installation of the artwork, which will be completed by a professional fabrication company (TBD).  The artist will be responsible for quality control throughout fabrication and installation, and we welcome their involvement at each stage of the process. 

Who Should Apply | Eligibility 

This Call to Artists is open to professional artists. The artist should work in a two-dimensional media such as photography, printmaking, painting, illustration, or graphic design. Artists who are interested in public art but do not yet have experience with permanent commissions and/or artists who have a cultural, historic, and/or artistic connection to the Vine Street BCYF or Roxbury neighborhood are strongly encouraged to apply. 


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.

Project Site(s)

The City has identified several potential sites for the artwork. All sites are internal and the artist must work with the existing infrastructure as the site is finished. The selected artist may identify additional sites in conjunction with Vine Street and the BAC. Please see the RFP linked here to view images of the interior spaces. 

Artist Responsibilities

The selected artist is responsible for:

  • Conducting site and community research as needed
  • Incorporating design feedback from the Boston Art Commission
  • Creating high resolution digital files of the final artwork
  • Working with the professional fabricator retained by the City to determine appropriate materials, scaling, and siting of the Artwork
  • Observation and Quality Control during the fabrication of the Artwork
  • Observation and Quality Control during the installation of the Artwork

Boston Art Commission

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. The artist/ team is expected to be collaborative and open to project end-user, community stakeholder, and general public 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.

Selection Criteria 

Artist selection will be determined by an Artist Selection Committee comprised of representatives from the Boston Art Commission and local arts professionals in accordance to the BAC’s Curatorial Vision, project design goals, and cultural context.

The Artist Selection Committee will review proposals using the following criteria

  • Does the artist’s Statement of Interest express particular attention to this project, connecting this project to their past and future work?
  • Does the artist’s Initial Project Concept Narrative meet the BAC’s Curatorial Vision?
  • Does the artist’s Initial Project Concept Narrative respond to the design goals and cultural context as described in this RFP?
  • Does the artist’s portfolio demonstrate a strong, high quality artistic vision?
  • Does the artist’s portfolio show artworks that are appropriate for the City’s permanent collection?
  • Do the artist’s references speak positively to their ability to complete this project on time and on budget?

How to Respond to this RFP

To respond to this Call to Artists, please prepare your application materials and submit your written proposal through this online application. Please note that we are not requesting design work at this time; you will be asked to communicate your artistic concept through a written proposal only. The following files are required:

  • Artist Description

Please provide background information including a bio, resume/CV, or other information that best highlights the strength of the applicant. PDF, DOC, or DOCX file types only; maximum five files. 

  • Statement of Interest (500 words or fewer):

Narrative describing the artist's interest in this project, connecting this project to the artist's past and future work.

  • Initial Project Concept Narrative (500 words or fewer):

Narrative describing an initial artistic concept for this artwork as well as any additional community processes that the artist would like to propose as part of the project (if applicable). 

  • Relevant Work Samples 

Up to 10 relevant work samples and a numbered, annotated image list with title, media, dimensions, location, brief description, date of the work, project budget, and project partners if applicable. Accepted file types: JPG, TIFF, PNG, AVI, WMV, or MP4. 

  • References

Please include contact information for up to three professional references for the artist. PDF, DOC, or DOCX file types only. 

  • Itemized Budget

Please provide an initial itemized budget of your project expenses using the template provided in Appendix A (see RFP linked here). If price proposal is based on time spent, please provide your hourly rate. PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS, or XLSX file types only. 


Please contact Sarah Rodrigo, Public Art Project Manager, with any questions: sarah.rodrigo@boston.gov

About the 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.