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Celebrity Series of Boston Public Performance Projects Seeks Performers

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



Celebrity Series of Boston’s Public Performance Projects Initiative was established in 2013 as part of the organization’s 75th anniversary celebration. From its inception, the goal of each music/dance public art project has been to broaden awareness of the organization’s activities by taking the artistic experience outside of the traditional concert venues to public spaces throughout Boston.

BUDGET:  $130,000


DEADLINE:  Rolling (scheduling through the end of September)

Project Description

The initiative conceives of the entire city as a canvas for participatory arts activities to promote the Celebrity Series’ mission and brand. Projects traditionally celebrate the joy of live performance and take place outside, at the end of September, are temporary and free. The public’s participation is an important component of each project. Past examples can be found at and illustrate both the spirit of the work that has been most successful as well as the project goals listed below.

Public Performance Projects Initiative Goals

  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. Redefine and 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 Projects will reflect the cultural significance of the live performance experience. 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.
  3. Site Specificity. All Boston neighborhoods are potential sites for the project. The artist or artist team has 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).
  4. Community Collaboration. Projects should provide opportunities for collaboration and engage as many existing community partners as possible while encouraging the participation of new partners throughout metropolitan Boston. A range of experiences are possible and might consist of or include professionals, amateurs and/or students as well as the general public.
  5. Variety and Curation. Over time, the Celebrity Series seeks to establish a catalog of Public Performance Projects to reflect the variety and diversity of its programming.
  6. Brand Expansion. An important aspect of each Public Performance Project is as a marketing tool to help confirm to a broader audience the Celebrity Series’ cultural leadership in Boston.

Budget and Contract
The budget will be established on a yearly basis for each project. In general, project budgets should not exceed $130,000. This includes all artist fees, materials, installation costs (set up and break down), transportation costs, documentation and any other related expenses. The Celebrity Series has the institutional capacity to cover most standard insurance, marketing and public relations, as well as city permitting costs.

Finalist Proposal Development Fee
A $500 proposal development fee will be provided to the finalist artists or artist teams to develop the conceptual proposal to the next level.

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 for a second round, exact date is TBD at this time (please see update at top of this document.) If selected as a finalist, please note in-person interviews in Boston will be scheduled. Details, including travel stipend and guidelines will be provided at a later date.

Project Timeline
At the earliest, the selected project is scheduled to take place during the late summer or early fall of 2021. The exact dates will be determined in part by the nature of the project and 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, World, Jazz) and Dance. These genres 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. Past projects have typically involved large numbers of the public – from several hundred to thousands.
  • 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 Projects have been joyful experiences 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 to

QUESTIONS?  Contact Amanda Ice,


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