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This is a Call to Artists for a mural to celebrate the life and legacy of Rita Hester in the Allston neighborhood.

The budget is $25,000-$75,000

The Call opened on Monday, November 8, 2021 at 9:00 am ET.

The Call closes on Friday, December 10, 2021 at 5:00 pm ET.

The Call is open to artists and artist teams with a strong preference for those who have a connection to the trans, non-binary, and gender expansive community in Boston

We welcome written questions until Thursday, December 2, at 5:00 pm ET. We will post the consolidated Q&A on Friday, December 3, at 5:00 pm ET on the project application page on Submittable. Please email BAC@Boston.gov with the subject “Mural to celebrate the life and legacy of Rita Hester ”.

Rita Hester and Transgender Day of Remembrance in Allston

This Call to Artists is part of the Transformative Public Art program and originated as a proposal by former Boston Artist-in-Residence Golden. In 2020, Golden proposed a mural to honor the life and legacy of Rita Hester, a Black trans woman and beloved Allston community member who lost her life as a result of transphobia and anti-trans violence. Rita Hester was known for her congeniality, boldness, and love of entertaining. Her passing was felt by countless individuals and sparked a movement in Boston and beyond.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started by trans activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil dedicated to Rita Hester and other trans individuals who died from anti-trans violence. It is observed annually across the world on November 20th. Despite her influential legacy in the LGBTQ community, Rita Hester has not been commemorated by the City as a whole. Nonetheless, community members have celebrated and honored her through vigils, events, and other community efforts demanding her story be told.

This will be the first public artwork in the City of Boston honoring Rita Hester and will be part of a greater memorial effort. We acknowledge that a mural alone does not meet all of the immediate needs of Boston's trans and non-binary community. There is more to be done within our work and programs to better serve trans and non-binary residents.

We are seeking artists interested in creating a mural for this call. The artist, or artist team, will be selected based on their initial written proposal, portfolio, and interests.

The artist will develop a full proposal after they are selected. Budgets will range from $25,000-$75,000 depending on the site.

Artist Commissioning Process

The Call is Open! (November 8, 2021 - December 10, 2021)

  • Call to Artists opens and online submissions are accepted
  • Question and Answer period
  • Call closes

Viewtime: Review, interview, review! (December 2021 - January 2022)

  • City staff review submissions for completion and alignment with the curatorial vision
  • Working group reviews submissions independently based on the criteria
  • Working group and City staff review submissions together and select finalists
  • Finalists may be interviewed
  • City staff present the working group’s recommended artist and any other finalists for public presentation and comment and review and vote by the Boston Art Commission (BAC) at their monthly public meeting

Let’s go! (January 2022 - March 2022)

  • Artists/teams are notified
  • Selected artist/team signs the City contract and commissioning agreement

Artist/team does their thing! (April 2022 - May 2022)

  • Artist develops design after discussions with stakeholders
  • City staff and artist presents design for public presentation and comment and review and vote by the BAC at their monthly public meeting
  • Painting begins

What You Need to Apply

Prepare the materials listed below and submit through our online application page, found HERE. You may also view the pdf version of the call HERE.

  • Artist Description
    • Tell us about yourself as an artist by describing your background and experience.
    • Upload your resume or bio (optional)
  • Statement of Interest and Initial Written Proposal (500 words maximum)
    • Tell us why you’re interested in this opportunity and share your initial written proposal including any specific or unique processes you might use for the project.
    • Please keep in mind that the review committee will take into consideration the applicant’s connection and relationship to Boston's diverse trans and non-binary community to ensure the artist can successfully work with all stakeholders on this project. Stakeholders include the trans and non-binary community in Boston, Rita Hester’s family and friends, and the Allston community.
  • Relevant Work Samples
    • Up to ten images of completed past work. One image per file; jpg or png.
  • Annotated Image List
    • An annotated image list with title, media, dimensions, location, date, brief description, and any other information that might be relevant. PDF, Doc, or DOCX.
  • Preliminary Budget (enter directly into application)
    • We’re looking for a narrative about your budget and how you think you would spend the funds for your project. For example, for a $25,000 commission or grant you might say: "I plan on using $5,000 for supplies. Based on my other work I think that will cover all of the costs of materials. I need to hire two or three other artists to help me plan and install the project, which will probably be another $10,000. I know that I want to do some interactive workshops with my community partner. I’m not sure what the costs will be yet, but I am allocating $5,000 to those engagements. The remaining $5,000 will pay for my administrative and design time." Please remember to allocate money for your time and work!
  • Diversity & Inclusion Plan (enter directly into application)
    • 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.
    • All responses 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.


Yes, please!

We want submissions from muralists that have a strong, original, artistic vision, and who demonstrate lived experience engaging their community through public art and/or culture.

Your submission should show interest in public art as part of a larger vision for cultural equity and public expression.

Your submission should also show consideration of the stakeholders in this project which include the trans and non-binary community in Boston, in particular BIPOC community members, Rita Hester’s family and friends, and the Allston community.

our experience and narrative proposal should align with the City of Boston's curatorial vision drafted by the BAC:

We seek to commission and approve innovative and transformational artworks that engage communities, enrich and enliven the urban environment, are driven by an artistically strong vision, enhance the diversity of the collection, respond directly to a specific environment, and possess durability appropriate to the lifespan of the work.

No, Thank You! (What we don't stand for)

We believe artists should be paid for their design work, and so are not requesting design proposals at this time.

We believe that artists should be credited for their work, and so we may reject submissions that contain images of other artists’ creative works without crediting them or clearly identifying the submitters’ role.

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.

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.