A civic partnership between socially-engaged artists and City departments

THE BASICS

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture invites artists, organizers, and cultural workers practicing in all disciplines to apply to a 15-month-long residency with the City of Boston.

Budget:

Artists receive $37,000 in artist stipends and up to $10,000 for project materials

Timeline:
The application opened on Monday, January 10, 9:00 am ET.

The application closes on Friday, February 18, 5:00 pm ET.

We will have a virtual Question and Answer webinar on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 12:00 pm ET.

We welcome written questions until Thursday, February 3, 2022, 5:00 pm ET. A consolidated Q&A will be posted on Friday, February 4, 2022 at Boston.gov/BostonAIR.

Eligibility:
This Call to Artists is open to all artists, organizers, and cultural workers, aged 18 and over with demonstrated experience working on civic issues whether through community organizing, cultural work, or social artistic practice. Individuals working in any and all media are encouraged to apply. Full-time City of Boston employees are not eligible to apply.

View and download the full Call to Artists HERE

Non-Discrimination
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.

Application and Questions

Please apply here after creating an account profile. Please Note: Artists should not submit ideas for their residency projects at this stage. Projects will be co-designed with City partners during the research and incubation period. This application is to assess qualifications of candidates.

We are only accepting electronic submissions. Artists may submit written responses to application questions within the Submittable platform, or upload video responses on questions where the option is given. Video responses to each question must be no longer than three minutes. Reviewers will not watch past three minutes so please keep responses clear and concise.

Please send questions to Karin Goodfellow, Director of Public Art, at BostonAIR@boston.gov. All questions must be submitted by email by February 3, 2022, 5:00 pm ET with subject line “BostonAIR questions.” Answers to questions will be posted at Boston.gov/BostonAIR by February 4, 2022, 5:00 pm


BRIEF PROGRAM HISTORY

Since 2015, Boston AIR has been dedicated to furthering the integration of the arts and culture into all aspects of civic life by supporting collaborations between artists and municipalities. The program has hosted four cohorts, invited 25 diverse artists into the City, and worked with over a dozen City departments and agencies. Artists and City partners have co-designed dynamic projects, working to support the efforts of City departments and better serve Boston’s communities. From a textile artist leading workshops with women in recovery, a documentarian addressing mass incarceration through fathers’ lullabies to a youth-led campaign for a mental health block at Boston Latin Academy, AIRs have used their residencies to examine how art can help reimagine a more equitable Boston.

The program has experienced several changes in its tenure. Each cohort year has provided unique challenges and learnings, with the 2020-2021 cohort being no exception. Since 2015, AIR has extended its residency length from a year to fifteen months, increased the artist stipend to $37,000, carried out two program evaluations, and further solidified a residency structure that better allows artists and City partners to engage in critical civic practice work.  As we enter the fifth round of Boston AIR, we’re proud to have a network of devoted artists and City colleagues eager to explore creative solutions to entrenched institutional problems. We look forward to ushering in another cohort, supporting more artists, connecting with residents and our colleagues, and breaking silos between communities and government. Thank you to all the artists, cultural workers, and organizers in advance for their applications.

To learn more about Boston AIR and past projects from each cohort, visit Boston.gov/BostonAIR.

Opportunity Fund 5.0 Guidelines (FY22)

Purpose

The Opportunity Fund provides grants that support meaningful one-time opportunities for artists of all artistic backgrounds and disciplines, teaching artists, creative workers, and cultural practitioners living in the city of Boston to further develop their career or help provide high-quality community art experiences throughout the city of Boston. The Opportunity Fund has two grant categories:

  1. Artist Career Development Grant: $5,000 for professional development opportunities and expenses related to projects that help the applicant further their artistic career in a meaningful way.
  2. Community Arts Experiences: $10,000 grant for individual artists and teaching artists across various artistic disciplines who want to bring arts experiences into Boston neighborhoods that have been identified as having a lower concentration of arts activities that are free, accessible, and open to the public.

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture will be prioritizing:

Application Cycle

In FY22 nearly $245,000 will be available for grant distribution and award sizes will depend on the grant category you apply for. The Opportunity Fund will reopen on December 13, 2021 with an application deadline of Friday, January 28 at 5PM. Our office anticipates being able to disburse payment to grantees throughout the month of March 2022. Grantees must use their award funding and complete grant activities between the date they receive their award and the end of 2022. If you are awarded the Opportunity Fund, you will not be able to receive it again until our next fiscal year (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023).

Application Requirements

  • To submit a complete application, applicants must register with the City of Boston as vendors
  • Grantees must keep all receipts in case the City of Boston requests them
  • All grantees will be required to:
    • Submit a short one page report summarizing your experience and/or artist career development opportunity that describes outcomes and how the funds were used OR participate in a Q&A style interview with staff in the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture a week after your community arts experience and/or artist career development opportunity
    • Invite members of the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture to attend your art experience (mandatory for all Community Arts Experiences, and when applicable for Artist Career Development grantees).

Please continue reading for specific guidelines for each grant category:

Artist Career Development Grant ($5,000 grant)

Who can apply?

Individual artists of all artistic backgrounds and disciplines, teaching artists, creative workers, and cultural practitioners living in the city of Boston who want to pursue meaningful one-time artistic opportunities to further their career can apply. An individual artist can also apply on behalf of an artist collective, artist group, band, etc. You can apply for funding to support:

  • Professional development opportunities
  • An artistic project, or projects, and
  • Materials and artistic career expenses. 

Who is eligible?

Artists residing within the city of Boston are eligible to apply for the Artist Career Development Grant if their annual individual income is less than $50,000. Over 70% of artists surveyed through our office’s Artist Housing Survey make an income of under $50,000 and our office aims to prioritize supporting these artists in Boston. Artists are welcome to use the grant to support more than one opportunity (e.g. an artist could apply for funds to support professional development opportunities and artistic project expenses). Artists, teaching artists, culture workers, and creative practitioners of all artistic disciplines are eligible to apply.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Cost of materials
  • Cost of travel, conference, residency fees, professional development workshop fees, funding for meals on your trip (if you're going on one), and,
  • Costs related to an artistic project within your artistic discipline. Examples include but are not limited to: help framing paintings before an exhibition, producing an album, making a film, choreographing a dance performance and hiring dancers to perform with you, etc.

Community Arts Experiences ($10,000)

Who can apply?

Individual artists, teaching artists, creative workers, and cultural practitioners living in Boston who would like to bring free public arts experiences into a neighborhood located in Boston. An individual artist can also apply on behalf of an artist collective, artist group, band, etc.

  • The Community Arts Experiences category 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, and were hit hardest by COVID-19. Priority communities include Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, and Mattapan.
  • Experiences do not have to happen in these geographic areas, but these geographic areas will be prioritized. Artists who live in these neighborhoods will also be prioritized. Whether applicants' arts experiences occur in one of these neighborhoods or not, applicants are encouraged to explain how the community they will serve is underserved by arts activities in the City of Boston.
  • Experiences can be recurring, first-time, or stand-alone experiences.
  • Experiences can also be in libraries, schools, or less traditional arts-learning spaces such as senior centers, health centers, or community centers, as long as they are free, safe, accessible, and open to the public.
  • Applicants will be asked to submit a plan for keeping audience members, event staff, and attendees safe due to COVID-19. Here is guidance for organizing COVID-19 safe events from the CDC.
  • If an experience includes showing a film, the film must be the applicant's own work and/or the applicant must be able to prove permission to show this work.

Who is eligible?

This grant is open to individual artists, teaching artists, creative workers, cultural practitioners, and art collectives (groups, bands, etc.) who live within the city of Boston. The arts experience offered must occur in the city of Boston (experiences in Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, and Mattapan will be prioritized). Arts organizations, Main Streets organizations, and schools cannot apply for this grant but an artist can apply with them as a partner. Applicants can work with a fiscal sponsor to accept the award on their behalf if they so choose.

What expenses are eligible?

  • Materials and supplies for the arts experience (this can include refreshments)
  • Costs associated with marketing the experience
  • Costs associated with renting a space for the experience
  • Costs associated with a COVID plan, which includes PPE, testing, and/or other materials
  • Compensation for artist(s) facilitating experience, or artists hired as part of the experience. This can include the applicant.

Still have questions? Submit a question here and read our FAQ here.

Artist Housing Certification Guidelines

What is an Artist Certificate? 

An Artist Housing Certificate is a letter from Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. The letter confirms that the artist has been active in their artistic practice in the past three years. An Artist Housing Certificate qualifies an artist as eligible for artist live/work housing and some work space in Boston. The Artist Housing Certification is valid for a period of eight years. Upon expiration, the artist will need to reapply to receive a new Artist Housing Certification. The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture keeps a list of all spaces for artists in the City of Boston, whether they require the Artist Certification or not. Review those spaces here. The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture does not maintain a waitlist for these spaces and is not able to confirm when these spaces will become available.


Who is eligible for an Artist Housing Certification?

Applicants must able to demonstrate that they have a recent body (last three years) of artwork 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

If you are a commercial artist who has an office space to do your work, and/or works for a company instead of for yourself (sole proprietor) we require examples of your personal fine art to ensure that you need an artist space for your artistic work. This is also the case for artists who are employed full-time in other industries.

Who reviews the applications?

The Artist Resource Manager in the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture reviews applications.

The decision of the Artist Resource Manager is final. If an applicant is not certified during this round, it is because they were not able to convey that they have been actively making art in the past three years through their application.

Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria.

  • Evidence of a recent body of work (last three years), demonstrated by an artistic resume or CV that lists dates and locations of exhibitions, publications, performances, press, awards, artist residencies, jobs held in arts discipline field, and formal training if you have it.
  • Documentation of artwork (or "work samples) including image files, video clips, and writing samples. Files must be dated or they will not be considered. 
  • One reference letter of support from peers and professionals in the arts who can confirm you have been active in your artistic practice over the past three years.

When are applications accepted?

Applications for the Artist Certification are reviewed every other month. Please check out website to see when we will be reviewing applications.

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

You will hear back about your application the week after we review applications. Use the link above to check when we will be reviewing applications.

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 Housing Certification application and upload your fellowship letter in the Work Samples section. Letter must prove reception of award in the past three years.

Public Art Curator Roster Guidelines

The City of Boston is creating a list of qualified curators interested in leading in the creation of municipal, private, and public-private public art projects. The Public Art Curator Roster is a response to an increase in requests for qualified curators experienced in the public realm from stakeholders in the field. In order to provide interested parties introduction to experienced public art curators, this list will be made publicly available on Boston.gov/arts. 

The Public Art Curator Roster is valid for a period of eight years. Upon expiration, the curator will need to reapply to renew their inclusion on the roster.

Who is eligible for a Public Art Curator Roster?
Applicants must able to demonstrate that they have a recent body (last three years) of curatorial experience and must be at least 18 years of age. Additionally, curators and other professionals with experience and interest in the following categories are considered:

  • Public art planning
  • Public art project management

Curators with experience and interest in the following categories of projects are considered:

  • Private property projects
  • Public property projects
  • Interior projects
  • Exterior projects
  • Temporary installations
  • Long-term installations
  • Two-dimensional projects
  • Three-dimensional projects
  • Participatory activations working with multiple stakeholders 

Curators may work as a sole proprietor or may be a member of a larger organization or company but must apply individually. 

The City of Boston is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment. Qualified applicants will be considered regardless of their sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, military, and veteran status, or other protected category.

Why create this roster?

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. In order to integrate art into Boston's landscape, the City created a Percent for Art Program demonstrating 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. 

In order to fulfill this shared vision of a robust arts and culture ecosystem, the City's efforts must be met with private endeavors and public-private partnerships. Urban visionaries across the world invite curators and artists to join their design teams; we encourage all leaders working in Boston to celebrate the unique cultural vibrancy of the city of Boston through the creation of innovative and transformative artworks in our built environment. 

Who reviews the applications?

The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture reviews applications and decisions are final. If an applicant is not accepted during this round, it is because they were not able to convey that they have been actively curating public art projects in the past three years through their application.

Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria.

  • Evidence of a recent body of work (last three years), demonstrated by a resume or CV that lists dates and locations of exhibitions, installations, publications, performances, press, awards, residencies, jobs held in arts discipline field, and formal training if relevant.
  • Documentation of installations and exhibitions including image files, video clips, and writing samples. Files must be dated or they will not be considered. 
  • Recommendations and letters of support from peers and professionals in the arts.

When are applications accepted?
Applications for the Public Art Curator Roster are reviewed on a rolling basis. Applications are reviewed the last week of every month. If you submit your application by close of business on the last Tuesday of the month, your application will be reviewed that month.

When will I hear back about the status of my application?
You should expect to wait no more than 6 weeks to hear back.

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


City of Boston logo 


Applications must be submitted three weeks before a Boston Art Commission meeting and six weeks before the proposed installation start date. The BAC meets on the second Tuesday of every month. 


COVID-19

The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture is following the City of Boston's phased re-opening plan. We encourage you to monitor the City's re-opening page, where we continue to update exhibit and performance guidelines. As you consider applying, keep in mind that these phases may impact approval and installation timelines. 

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. 

This form is for BAC review on whether to allow artwork to be sited on City property; this is not an application for funding. 

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 may be reviewed by the Boston Art Commission at our monthly meeting, generally scheduled for the second Tuesday of the month. Applications must be submitted three weeks before a BAC meeting and six weeks before the proposed installation start date.

City of Boston Arts and Culture