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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.


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. 

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.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.