The Boston Globe, "Public art project to explore the nature of trust," August 23

Is your word really your bond?
The question lies at the heart of “Public Trust,” an interactive public art project that over the next three weeks will set up shop at various locations around Greater Boston. Conceived by Brooklyn-based artist Paul Ramírez Jonas, the collaborative project asks participants not merely to consider the meaning of their words, but also to ponder the use (and, let’s face it, during this singular election cycle, abuse) of that most essential social currency: the promise.

Boston Neighborhood Network News, "New Public Art Project Starts Aug. 27," August 23

Kate Gilbert of There + Now talks about a new public art project--"Public Trust"-- that will post a changing set of promises in Dudley Square, then at two other locations. Interview for BNN News.

WGBH Boston Public Radio, "A New Public Art Project Asks: What Does It Mean To Make A Promise?," August 30

At first glance, one of these things is not like the others: "Pope promises to visit Italian quake victims." "New Massachusetts Law Promises Gender Pay Equality." "I promise to listen more and eat better."
The first two are headlines that could be ripped from any newspaper in America over the last few days. The last one is a pledge made by an individual. But all three represent promises—and all could be found in artist Paul Ramirez Jonas's interactive public art project in Dudley Square, "Public Trust."

The Boston Sun, "An Interactive Public Artwork 'Words Matter' Travels through Boston," September 1

Standing out in Dudley Square, is a large 16 by 16 foot billboard with black lettering on a white backdrop reading the time, weather, and headlines including “Pope Pledges to visit Italian Quake Victims” and “New Mass Law Promises Gender Pay Equality” that has passerby’s curious.

Universal Hub, "Public Pledges in Dudley Square," September 1

Through tomorrow, Now and There is sponsoring Ramirez Jonas to compile pledges of all sorts on a sign board outside the BPL branch in Dudley Square.

Jewish Boston, "Vows for a New Year, On a Billboard," September 2

Cruise through Boston and you’ll see an enormous, slightly mysterious billboard in Kendall and Copley squares. No, it’s not a Herb Chambers ad: The billboard showcases public declarations of trust pulled from the day’s headlines, whether it’s Mick Jagger promising to support his eighth child or a company pledging equal pay for equal work. The billboard will stay in each neighborhood for a week at a time, with a twist.

WCVB 5 CityLine, "Fall into Art," September 4

Now + There and PUBLIC TRUST on view now through September 17 in Dudley, Kendall, and Copley Squares.

Bay State Banner, "Pinky Promise," September 6

In a world of 24-hour news cycles and questionable PR statements, it’s increasingly difficult to know who, and how, to trust. Paul Ramirez Jonas’ public art piece “Public Trust,” in collaboration with public art organization Now and There, examines what it means to make promises in contemporary society. The traveling installation features a 16-foot-high board that features daily promises from media sources. Individuals can come, speak with the artist, and make their own promise that is then temporarily displayed at the center of the board.

WBUR's The Artery, "New Interactive Public Art Installation Asks Us To Consider The Meaning Of A Promise," September 12

When Melania Trump stared straight into the camera and said, “My word is my bond,” and those words were stolen — whose bond was it? Were the words binding at all? Did that constitute a public promise? What value do any of our words have, and has that value wavered over time?

Hyperallergic, "Building Public Trust Through Individual Promises," September 12

BOSTON — Paul Ramirez Jonas has challenged the idea of public space — and how it is demarcated from the private — throughout his 25-year career of making highly formal participatory work. In his latest project, Public Trust, Jonas thrusts public spaces, and the populaces who inhabit them, into the form, function, and force of his work. Installed at three different public squares around Boston over a three-week period until September 17, Public Trust is heavily orchestrated and theatrical, relying on a troupe of artists to enact it and engage with the public in a kind of social contract.

Art New England, "Paul Ramirez Jonas: Public Trust," September 13

Internationally acclaimed artist Paul Ramirez Jonas has returned to Boston this summer following his 2005 Cambridge-based project, Taylor Square. Taylor Square operated through public participation; Ramirez Jonas mailed 5,000 gate keys to residents living near the minuscule, enclosed-yet-public Taylor Square park and encouraged them to copy and share those keys, thus creating a real sense of public ownership for the park. Likewise, Public Trust exists through public engagement.





Barbara Quiroga   T: 617.413.3888 

Kate Gilbert          T: 617.283.1841


Now + There presents

Paul Ramirez Jonas’ newest artwork, Public Trust

August 27 – September 17, 2016


Boston, MA -- (July 29, 2016) --- Bostonians will soon see a large billboard (16’x16’) installed in three Greater Boston neighborhoods: Dudley Square, Kendall Square, and Copley Square. The billboard is part of Paul Ramirez Jonas's newest artwork, Public Trust, an interactive sculpture of changing promises. Public Trust asks us to make a promise and to think about the value of our words. This temporary artwork gives voice to the community and was commissioned by Now + There, one of Boston’s most compelling new arts organizations.

Opening first in Dudley Square on August 27, Public Trust will remain in each community for one week. For 21 consecutive days, artist Paul Ramirez Jonas will ask us to consider the nature of promises, the potent speech acts that keep a society together. People of all ages are invited to make a promise that the artist will record in a contract, a drawing they can keep. The promise is then “published” on the large billboard in context with promises made by our politicians, scientists, economists, even weather forecasters, all chosen daily from headline news. Thirteen Boston artist-ambassadors, trained by Ramirez Jonas, will help facilitate the process. 

Public Trust was created specifically for Boston. It is free and open to everyone, eight hours a day. This public artwork is supported by The Lewis Family Foundation, which believes that our communities grow stronger through artistic expression.

Now + There Director Kate Gilbert states, “Public Trust prompts us to consider the impact of our words; how they define us, and how they can build community.” Ramirez Jonas adds, “Public Trust asks us to examine what we can make with our words; what is the nature of promises, what can be kept, what is legally binding, what is a fact, what will never come true, and what is the nature of our values.”


Public Trust - Locations and Dates:

  • August 27 – Sept 2: Dudley Square (Roxbury), the center of Roxbury’s black culture, at the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library, 65 Warren Street (Dudley Station, MBTA Silver Line).
  • September 3 – 9Kendall Square (Cambridge), in the nexus of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, 315 Main Street (Kendall/MIT, MBTA Red Line).
  • September 11 – 17: Copley Square (Boston), surrounded by iconic landmarks including Trinity Church and the Central Library in Copley Square, the nation’s first large, free municipal library, 560 Boylston Street (Boylston, MBTA Green Line). 


See or Now + There's events page for hours and cancellations in case of inclement weather.

Follow the progress of Public Trust here: ( and participate on Instagram and Twitter with #PublicTrustBOS.

Now + There is a non-profit organization dedicated to redefining public art by creating impactful, temporary, and site-specific public art projects in Greater Boston. Its mission is to advance new definitions of public art, acculturate Boston to the cultural, social and economic benefits of art, and help define Boston's essential public art identity.

The Lewis Family Foundation seeks to empower young people, develop courageous citizens and leaders, level the playing field for educational and job opportunities, and create strong strategic alliances. The Lewis Family Foundation believes that our communities grow stronger through artistic expression.

More about the artist: Public Trust is consistent with Ramirez Jonas’s interest in public spaces, and language as contract. Past projects include his popular 2010 “Key To The City,” developed for Creative Time in cooperation with the City of New York, where the artist distributed 20,000 keys that opened twenty private and public spaces that together formed a portrait of urban public space. Ramirez Jonas is no stranger to Boston. The artist has one permanent work in Cambridge, MA at Taylor Square, where neighbors have been bestowing the power of the key to a tiny park through Ramirez Jonas’s 2005 project, “Taylor Square.” Read more here.

Over the past 25 years, Paul Ramirez Jonas has sought to challenge the definitions of art and the public and to engineer active audience participation and exchange. He often asks participants to contribute something: spare change, a wish, their own version of history. This reciprocity is a manifestation of trust and a social contract through which the viewer and artist create meaning. He is represented by Nara Roesler Gallery (Sao Paulo) and Koenig & Clinton Gallery (NYC).


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Boston Properties (BP) has entered into the public art realm at the request of tenants in its 200 Clarendon Street Tower.


Gilbert said the portraits of locals and commuters at Back Bay Station were a contrast to the unrecognizable figure on the tower. 

"It was nice to add a local component to this otherwise international artist," she said.

Download the PDF version for the full story.

Frias, Jordan. "Boston Properties Finds Art Is Key" The Boston Courant [Boston] 13 Nov. 2015: A1. Print.

The new face OF PUBLIC ART

Cassandra Selmon watched from a bench at the Dudley branch of the Boston Public Library as volunteers dragged brushes slathered with a paste across an image of her face on the building’s wall.

Satisfied with the portrait’s position, the volunteers quickly moved on to the next picture: a candid shot of Selmon’s goddaughter, Kimberly Wade, her fist beneath her chin.

Then they pasted the next image, the face of a man whom Selmon thought she recognized from the neighborhood.

Read the rest on or download the PDF version.

Annear, Steve. "‘Inside Out’ Art Project Puts Murals of Residents’ Faces onto Public Buildings." Boston Globe [Boston] 06 Oct. 2015: B4. Print.

Artist Behind Mural On Former Hancock Building Wants To Take Your Photo

The secretive street artist behind the giant photo-mural that appeared high up on the side of the former Hancock Building in late September has another project coming to Boston.

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, a delivery truck with a photobooth inside will be at the Dudley branch of the Boston Public Library to take photos of visitors from about 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The “Inside Out Photobooth” is one of a number of photo trucks stationed around the globe that the French street artist JR...

Read the rest on WBUR's ARTery.

Cook, Greg. "Artist Behind Mural On Former Hancock Building Wants To Take Your Photo." The ARTery. WBUR, 05 Oct. 2015. Web. 

News Releases

April 7, 2015

Where’s the Art? Exploring the spectrum of public art practices

Free public art panel co-sponsored by New England Foundation for the Arts, Now and There, and Boston Center for the Arts during ArtWeek Boston

(Boston, MA) New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), Now and There and Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) are pleased to present Where’s the Art?, a panel on May 6 that brings together artists with designers for a healthy discussion about the many definitions of public art and what we can do to support more public art in our communities.

“We are delighted to support this conversation and join forces with organizations that nurture artists and artistic practice in Boston,” said Cathy Edwards, Executive Director, NEFA.  

Featured panelists include Cedric Douglas, artist and creator of the mobile art lab Up Truck; Megan McMillan educator, writer, sculptor who with her partner Murray recently completed a project for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche; Liz Nofziger, creator of “Bounce,” the community-sized ping pong table at the BCA; and Rob Trumbour, a principal at the public art and architecture collective Artforming.

The panel is coordinated and moderated by Kate Gilbert of the recently launched Now and There, a non-profit dedicated to creating temporary and site specific projects for, and with, the community of Boston. Says Gilbert, “In the discussion of place-making and art-in-the-public-realm it often seems like the philosophies and interests of artists are left in the shadows.”

Veronique Le Melle, President and CEO Boston Center for the Arts noted, “The BCA represents the intersection of artist and audience, what better setting for a conversation on place-making. We are pleased to partner with Now and There and NEFA to bring this conversation to the community.” 

WHAT: Where’s the Art? exploring the spectrum of public art practices
DATE: May 6, 2015
TIME: 5:30­–7pm
LOCATION: Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St Boston, MA, 02116

Where’s the Art? is a free event but registration is required. Visit to register and for more information.


NEFA builds connections among artists, arts organizations, and funders, powering the arts to energize communities in New England, the nation, and the world. NEFA is a nonprofit that operates in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the New England state arts agencies, with additional funding from foundations, corporations, individuals and other government agencies. Part of NEFA’s Public Art program, the Fund for the Arts supports nonprofits for artist selection and implementation of new site specific works.

Now and There is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating impactful public art projects in Greater Boston. Formerly UrbanArts, Now and There delivers thought-provoking, public art projects that advance new definitions of public art, acculturate Boston to the cultural, social and economic benefits of art, and help define Boston's essential public art identity.

Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) is a not-for profit performing and visual arts complex that supports working artists to create, perform and exhibit new works; builds new audiences; and connects art to community. The BCA serves arts audiences through exhibitions, live performances and community events, and supports artists through affordable studio, rehearsal and performance space on the historic South End site. The BCA’s two-acre campus is home to hundreds of working artists, as well as several nonprofit arts and educational groups that provide a wide spectrum of services.


Cedric Douglas is an artist and designer, who combines the use of idea, graffiti ideology and raw creativity to connect, inspire, and interact with the community. Douglas is inspired by public art because of its accessibility. His latest project, The UpTruck is a mobile arts lab that was created to engage residents in a co-visioned, co-created process leading to a final design and implementation of a permanent art structure for the Uphams Corner Community.

Megan McMillan, artist, writer and SMFA faculty member together with her partner Murray McMillan create a blend of installation, video, performance and photography. The McMillans recently created “The Shifting Space Around Us” for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche and “What We Loved and Forgot: Installation” for Boston's Lawn on D inaugural season.

Liz Nofziger brought “Bounce”, a colorful, interactive outdoor installation to the BCA plaza last summer as part of the BCA's Temporary Public Art Residency program. Made up of three conjoined, regulation-sized ping pong tables, custom-engineered to form an oversized Community Ping Pong Court the project added a sculpture presence to the plaza as well as sheer delight to all who played on it.

Rob Trumbour is an architect, educator at Wentworth Institute of Technology and Design Principal at Artforming. Artforming is a Boston-based collective of artists, educators and design professionals whose mission is rooted in the conception, fabrication, and installation of multi-sensory public art and architecture intended to foster individual contemplation and open public dialog.

Artists’ images furnished upon request.


ArtWeek Boston is an initiative of the Citi Performing Arts Center, whose mission is to be a champion for nonprofit innovation in Boston and provide arts and entertainment to the greater community. ArtWeek Boston is a twice-annual 10-day collection of events throughout the city that features unexpected and creative experiences that are interactive or offer behind-the-scenes access to artists or the creative process. Spring ArtWeek will be May 1–10.


Contact: Kate Gilbert, 617.283.1841