Our Roots

Now and There is the reinvigoration of UrbanArts Institute (UAI) a 501c(3) organization, which facilitated public art and design projects in Boston from 1980 to 2012. UrbanArts was founded in 1980 by Pamela Worden based on the belief that the cultural vitality of our communities depends on incorporating the arts in the public realm, and by engaging artists, and citizens. In 1983 UAI secured a contract to create the Orange Line Public Art Program. Dedicated in 1987, the artworks from this program recorded the lives of community members affected by the rapid transit line through an award-winning, community-based Urban Writers project and thus solidified the organization’s commitment to community-driven process.

In 1999 UrbanArts aligned with Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) under the then college President Kay Sloan and UAI director Ricardo Barreto to strengthen each institution’s commitment to the study and practice of public art and design. Barreto along with project manager Christina Lanzl provided expertise in the administration of public art projects; administered a public slide bank and engaged communities and youth in educational programs until 2012. UrbanArts' complete history and archives are currently be catalogued at the Boston Public Library. Click here for an abridged portfolio of UrbanArts Institute projects. 

In 2014 after disassociating from MassArt, UrbanArts elected Kate Gilbert their new director and embarked on a bold new road to curatorially-based work that is sensitive to community context and place.