When Mayor Walsh released the Boston Creates Cultural Plan in the summer of 2016, he announced Boston’s first municipal Percent for Art program. This initiative leverages the City’s five year capital plan to invest in public art as part of major City construction and infrastructure projects. The Percent for Art program devotes funding to public art equal to 1% of the City’s annual capital borrowing budget. In the current fiscal year, that translates into $1.7 million in funding for public art.
In the last year, we created a comprehensive set of guidelines and procedures for this program, and now we are beginning to implement the first of these projects. In the last year we’ve also tested these guidelines on initial projects with the Public Works Department to bring public art to Hyde Square and North Square, and collaborated with the Public Facilities Department to add public art to the renovation of the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library. With Percent for Art, not only are we bringing more artwork to each corner of the City, we’re also enhancing the design of our public places.
Next up, the BCYF Vine Street Community Center will receive a multimillion dollar renovation, and this week Mayor Walsh announced a call for artists to submit proposals for a public art project that will complement the renovation. This first artwork is envisioned for the exterior of the center on Dudley Street. Early next year, we’ll release another call for artists for additional art for the interior of the center.
With a budget of $150,000, the hope is that this work will bring vibrancy to an iconic community space in Roxbury while also helping to fulfill a goal of the Boston Creates Cultural 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.
What’s next for this program? Soon, we’ll be releasing a call for artists to submit proposals for public art that will complement the $14.7 million renovation of the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library. And we are going to continue to identify construction and renovation projects across the city that can benefit from the inclusion of public art.
So, share your thoughts and ideas. Help us to ensure everyone across the city has access to public art.