Artist Sought for Dewitt Playground Renovation in Boston

Posted by City of Boston ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Artist Sought for Dewitt Playground Renovation in Boston



The City of Boston, via the Boston Arts Commission, invites artists or artist teams to apply to create permanent public artwork(s) to complement a renovation of Dewitt Playground, at the corner of
Ruggles Street and Dewitt Drive and adjacent to the Madison Park High School Athletic Field Complex in Roxbury, MA.

BUDGET:  $250,000

ELIGIBILITY:  Professional artists, designers, landscape architects, or other design professionals

DEADLINE:  May 30, 2019

Review full RFQ with site information and required forms here.

Project Context
The site is an existing public open space adjacent to Madison Park High School Athletic Complex. The community wants to maintain the current basketball programming in the form of two full courts and
two half courts but create additional activity areas and amenities for all ages. The site changes in elevation by ~9’ from north to south. This shift in height is incorporated in the design as an opportunity for a transition between the court types. This area is envisioned as a stage that can accommodate various activities like movie nights, farmers’ markets, and open-ended exploration, as well as an additional seating and activity area.

Two play areas have been added to the park as well as an exercise equipment zone. Additionally, there are passive seating zones, seat walls, cafe style tables and chairs, and a series of shade structures created by local students at the northeast entry to the park. Lighting and softscape elements will be updated and improved, especially lighting on the courts.

This is a very active site in a neighborhood undergoing a series of transformations, both immediately adjacent to the site and within the immediate neighborhood. Additionally, there is an existing iconic artwork within view of the park to the northeast.

Design Goals and Community Values
This project is part of a larger public works project called the Whittier Choice Neighborhood Transformation Plan. Original documents relating to this can be found here. 

There are three qualities of the Ruggles Corridor neighborhood that the artists may wish to take into consideration when applying:

  • Health and wellness: As a public open space adjacent to athletic fields and close to several residential developments, facilities that contribute to the health and wellness of all residents are a priority. Basketball courts, walking paths, playground equipment, interactive surfaces, a variety of seating options, and exercise equipment are all included, along with flexible space to accommodate group exercise, farmer’s markets, and other community wellness programming.
  • Intergenerational Engagement: The immediate neighborhood of Dewitt Park is largely made up of historic apartment buildings and family homes. The community strongly believes in Dewitt Park as an intergenerational space for both play and social activities. Any design should engage people in all stages of life.
  • Play: The community encourages park users to think more broadly about play and how that approach can be incorporated into the design. Engaging all kinds of play, from active, ie basketball, to passive, ie board games or movie nights, is important, as well as design that encourages exploration and discovery.

Project Site(s)
The City has identified several potential sites for the artwork. These sites are based on the preliminary site design; sites are subject to change as the design is further developed. Artists are welcome to identify other possible sites or opportunities for integrated artwork.

  1. Basketball courts: surface treatments for the basketball courts, provided the design does not impede their use.
  2. Barrier/fencing between full and half courts: the courts will be separated by a visually permeable barrier fence. Artists are welcome to propose either treatments to this fence or a design for the fence itself, provided it meet code standards for such fencing in the City of Boston.
  3. Fencing along Dewitt street: the east side of the park is separated from the sidewalk by a 4’ chain link fence. Artists may propose either treatments to this fence or a design for the fence itself, provided it meet code standards for such fencing in the City of Boston.
  4. Walkways and other surfaces, contours: Artists can propose surface treatments or integrated elements for the walkways and contoured areas throughout the park.

Artist Responsibilities
The selected artist/ team is responsible for:

  • Conducting site and community research as needed
  • Incorporating design feedback from the Boston Art Commission
  • Creating a detailed design of the proposed artwork and associated plans (such as engineering, lighting design, site details, electrical documents, or fabrication) to be presented for final approval from the Boston Art Commission
  • Ensuring the design adheres to City of Boston code requirements for parks and public spaces
  • Fabrication of the completed work, documentation, as well as the management and oversight of all implementation and installation in coordination with the City Working Group
  •  Creating a maintenance plan and appropriate documentation, including final recommendations for conservation


  • Monday, April 29, 2019: RFP available by noon EST
  • Wednesday, May 22, 2019: Deadline for questions (questions to
  • Friday, May 24, 2019: Answers posted to City of Boston website here:
  • Thursday, May 30, 2019:   Deadline to respond to the RFP, midnight EST
  • June 2019:  Interviews with artists/ teams; specific date and time TBD (Non-local artists may interview remotely via Google Hangouts)
  • July 2019: Artist/team contract executed
  • Fall 2019:  Artist/team design phase
  • Winter 2019/Spring 2020:  Artist fabrication
  • Summer 2020: Public art installation; facility opens to the public

Selection Criteria
Artist/ team will be chosen by an Artist Selection Committee comprised of representatives from the Boston Art Commission, representatives from stakeholder groups, community members, and local
arts professionals. The Artist Selection Committee will review proposals using the following criteria:

  • Does the artist/team respond to the goals and community values as described in this RFP?
  • Does the artist/team demonstrate knowledge of materials and their durability in similar sites and with similar lifespans?
  • Does the artist/team’s past work convey a sense of fun and an encouragement to discovery?
  • Does the artist/team have proven experience working with multiple stakeholders?

Artists whose proposal submissions are non-responsive will not be shared with the selection committee.

What to Submit

  1. Artist/Team Description: Please provide background on each member of your team, including bios, resumes/CVs, or other information that best highlights the strength of the applicant. This may include subcontractors. PDF, DOC, or DOCX file types only; maximum five files.
  2. Statement of Interest (500 words or fewer): Narrative describing the artist’s interest in this project, connecting this project to the artist’s past and future work.
  3. Initial Project Concept (500 words or fewer): Narrative describing an initial artistic concept for this artwork as well as any additional community processes that the artist/team would like to propose as part of the project (if applicable).
  4. Relevant Work Samples: Up to 10 relevant work samples. For photographs, please only include one image per file without identifying information or text. Accepted file types: JPG, TIFF, PNG, AVI, WMV, or MP4.
  5. Annotated Image List: Submit a numbered, annotated image list with title, media, dimensions, location, brief description, date of the work, project budget, and project partners if applicable. Accepted file types: DOCX, DOC, or PDF.
  6. References: Please include contact information for up to three references for the artist/team, including at least one that can speak to the artist/team’s ability to serve as project manager and the
    artist/team’s ability to manage the fabrication and the installation of artwork. PDF, DOC, or DOCX file types only.
  7. Itemized Budget: Please provide an initial itemized budget of your project expenses using the template provided. If your price proposal is based on time spent, please provide your hourly rate. PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS, or XLSX file types only.

How to Submit
To respond to this Call to Artists, please prepare your application materials and submit your written proposal through the online application via Submittable at: Only submit written proposals at this time. Submitting design proposals will result in disqualification.

QUESTIONS? All questions and answers, minus identifying information, will be posted on the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture website on Friday, May 24th, 2019. Please contact Sarah Rodrigo, Public Art Project Manager, with any questions:



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