We are making Boston a public art city.
You’ve heard us declare this a few times, and you may be thinking, “Yes, I'm in! But, what does it take?”
We asked ourselves the same question last spring as we began crafting a plan to transform our young, determined non-profit into a sharp, nimble, sustainable organization that sits at the center of Boston’s public art landscape.
IT TAKES VISION:
What we’re after in building a public art city over the next five years is seeding every neighborhood and civic space of Boston with artworks that reflect the vibrant diversity of our city and challenge the status quo.
To do this, we hold artistic vision and a keen curatorial eye as the two tallest pillars of our work. We seek artists and artwork that sees the world, intuits our innermost desires and needs, and presents back to us the numerous challenges of our time in forms that are energizing, touching, tender, sometimes humorous and always engaging.
But it’s not just any public art that we’ll select and support. And it’s not always the work of the most in-demand, sought-after public artists. Sometimes it will be the work of local artists presented on a more intimate, neighborhood level. Other times it may be a showstopper of an artwork. But more than anything, we’re curating work by artists who make us think and question our biases.
IT TAKES STRATEGY:
For Now + There to live into our vision, meet the demand for more temporary public art, support artists in the development of their practice, and to share resources with communities looking to employ creative strategies for complex issues, we embarked on a comprehensive strategic planning process with Technical Development Corporation (TDC) with the generous, financial support of The Boston Foundation (TBF). (We are indebted to TBF for recognizing the need for technical assistance and strategic coaching at this pivotal point in our growth.)
In our five-year plan we commit to:
- Regularly producing at least two major projects to start, with an annual goal of four,
- Building a pipeline for more production of small/mid-sized projects through our Artist Accelerator for local artists and,
- Creating effective partnerships with other organizations interested in increasing the quality and quantity of public art in Boston.
IT TAKES RELATIONSHIPS:
Do we think we can do this alone? Certainly not! We're building a public art city together and we're riding on a rising tide. Together, we are all saying yes to a future that employs art and artists to widen our aperture and accept the unknown, to increasing our appetite for contemporary art, and to being more tolerant of views that are not our own.
We recognize and applaud other efforts throughout the city. We give accolades to the City of Boston, funders such as TDC and New England Foundation for the Arts, park stewards such as the Greenway Conservancy and the Esplanade Association, other cultural organizations, and developers, all of whom are investing in the arts as a driver of Boston’s cultural capacity.
IT TAKES COMMITMENT:
Today we can boldly declare that Now + There is filling a critical gap in Boston’s public art ecosystem. By curating public art that challenges our city’s cultural identity, by taking artistic risks, and by consistently producing compelling projects, we offer a one-of-a-kind commitment to the evolution of Boston as a public art city.
In a little over a month, we’ll announce our 2018 projects. These projects are sure to challenge our assumptions while still providing moments of joy and delight in our beloved, shared Boston public spaces. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to share news from our Accelerator Artists who'll deliver six exciting new artworks to Boston neighborhoods where we today don’t encounter contemporary public art.
It will be these eight projects, combined with the three from our 2017 Year of the Woman, Public Trust from 2016, and 2015’s Faces of Dudley that will eventually become part of a portfolio of projects that by 2021 have us wondering, "when was Boston ever not a public art city?"
Now + There is committed to making Boston a public art city. We are currently seeking a Director of Development and a summer intern. Email me at kate (at) nowandthere (dot) org if you want to help us realize this vision!