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Celebrity Series of Boston Seeks Public Performance Art

Posted by Celebrity Series of Boston ; Posted on 
Performing; Public Art; Social Practice Art - DEADLINE :  
Celebrity Series of Boston Seeks Public Performance Art



Celebrity Series of Boston’s Public Performance Art Initiative was established in 2013 as part of the organization’s 75th anniversary celebration. From its inception, the goal of each public art project has been to broaden awareness of the organization’s activities by taking the artistic experience outside of traditional concert venues to public spaces throughout Boston. The initiative conceives of the entire city as a canvas for participatory arts activities to promote the Celebrity Series’ mission and brand.

Budget:  $130,000 (Celebrity Series will cover insurance and permitting; all other expenses to be covered by artist)

Eligibility: Artists and artist groups working in live performance genres

Deadline:  June 22, 2018 5:00 p.m. (The Celebrity Series of Boston seeks conceptual proposals ONLY at this time)

Celebrity Series of Boston Mission and Vision

Mission: To present performing artists who inspire and enrich the community.

Vision: The Celebrity Series believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experience, transform lives, and build better communities. The Celebrity Series envisions a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, life-long, shared experience – on stages, on streets, in neighborhoods – everywhere.

Further information can be found at: This is the general website for the Celebrity Series.  Applicants are encouraged to browse the entire website.

Public Performing Arts Initiative Goals

Public Performance Arts Projects should consider the following goals and characteristics:

  1. Quality. The Celebrity Series has a long tradition of adhering to the very highest artistic standards. Its public performing art events must meet these same high standards.
  2. Brand Expansion. An important aspect of each Public Performance Art Project is as a marketing tool to help confirm to a broader audience the Celebrity Series’ cultural leadership in Boston.
  3. Focus on Live Performance.  The live performance experience is at the heart of the Celebrity Series mission, from the concert stage to its community concerts. Public Performance Art Projects will reflect the cultural significance of the live performance experience.
  4. Site Specificity.  All Boston neighborhoods are potential sites for the project. This first project in the series gives the artist or artist team the option of identifying the most appropriate site. If selected, Celebrity Series will work with the winning artist or artist team to ensure the viability and appropriateness of the project’s chosen location(s).
  5. Redefine the Live Performance Experience. Public Performance Art Projects have the potential to re-examine the live performance experience and its cultural significance in the context of the built environment specifically and the urban fabric in general.
  6. Community Collaboration. Projects should provide opportunities for collaboration and engage as many existing community partners as possible while encouraging engagement with new partners throughout metropolitan Boston.
  7. Variety and Curation. Over time, the Celebrity Series seeks to establish a catalog of Public Performance Art Projects to reflect the variety and diversity of its programming.

Finalist Proposal Development

A $500 proposal development fee will be provided to the finalist artists or artist teams to develop the conceptual proposal to the next level. The development of the final proposal will be taken up only by the winning artist or artist team once under contract with the full help and collaboration of Celebrity Series staff.

Selection Process / Selection Committee

The selection of artists and projects will be based on the quality of the artist or artist team’s past work, the originality of the concept itself, and the proven ability of the participants to work on a large public scale. Concept proposals will be reviewed by Celebrity Series staff in conjunction with public art experts familiar with contemporary trends in public, participatory art projects. Three to four finalists will be selected in early July. If selected as a finalist, please note in-person interviews in Boston will be scheduled between July 24 and 26, 2018. Details, including travel stipend and guidelines will be provided later. The winning artist or artist team will be selected in early August, 2018.

Project Timeline

At the earliest, the selected project is scheduled to take place during the late summer or early fall of 2019. The exact dates will be determined in part by the nature of the project in consultation with Celebrity Series staff. The quality of the presentation is of paramount importance and later dates may be possible to ensure the integrity of the project.

Selection Criteria

  • Music (Classical and Jazz) and Dance. These are at the core of the Celebrity Series’ offerings.  Ideally projects will incorporate elements of these artistic disciplines in some way.
  • Participation. Incorporate opportunities for direct participation. Active engagement – as opposed to simple static observation – in the project is highly encouraged.
  • Scale. Projects should have a significant Boston-wide impact. The ambition and scope of the project is therefore important.
  • Experience. Artists and project leaders should have a proven track-record of success managing large, complex projects.
  • Inclusion. Projects should recognize the general diversity of the arts as well as the diversity of Boston’s population. Sensitivity to Boston’s many cultural and ethnic communities is required.
  • Joy. Past Public Performance Art Projects have been joyful experience for participants. Projects that have the capacity to imbue the experience with joy are encouraged. At the same time, the Celebrity Series recognizes the content of some worthy projects may be more provocative. The organization is open to such proposals as well.
  • Duration. While the quality of the project is of paramount importance, events that take place over a longer period of time may be preferable. All commissioned or contracted work will be temporary, lasting from one day to a maximum of one month. The nature of each project will determine the length, which will be negotiated with the selected artist or artist team.
  • Safety and Access.  Projects must be safe for all, the artists, participants and audience members. Projects must also conform to national ADA requirements as appropriate.
  • Compliance with City Ordinances. Projects must follow existing City regulations and ordinances for public events. Celebrity Series staff will secure all required permits and permissions.

What to Submit

The proposal should include the following:

  1. Artist résumé or artist team background with résumés of key members
  2. Artist or artist team website
  3. A list of major past projects most relevant to the proposed concept
  4. Concept proposal. No more than two double spaced pages. Text should use a standard font no smaller than 12.
  5. A summary draft budget. If selected to be a finalist, a more detailed budget will be required later.   Budget format:
  • Artist fee                                                                   $
  • Estimated installation/production costs                   $
  • Estimated material costs                                          $
  • Estimated travel and transportation costs               $
  • Miscellaneous expenses                                          $
  • TOTAL                                                                $130,000

Insurance, marketing and PR are important for the success of any Public Performing Art Project. As noted earlier, Celebrity Series has the internal capacity to cover most standard expenses in these categories.

How to Submit

Concept proposals should be submitted digitally in pdf format by 5:00pm, Friday, June 22, 2018 to

QUESTIONS?  Contact Ricardo Barreto, Public Art Project Coordinator, at  For general questions about the Celebrity Series please contact Riley Carbonneau at



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