IMPORTANT! Due to the response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) events on this site may be postponed or canceled.CLICK HERE for More Details.

City of Boston Seeks Artist for North Square Project

Posted by City of Boston ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
City of Boston Seeks Artist for North Square Project


The City of Boston has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a public art project for the reconstruction of North Square, a public space located in the North End of Boston.

Working closely with the Public Works Department and the Boston Art Commission, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture invites artists to submit their proposals for public art to be incorporated in the reconstruction of NorthSquare.

Note:  this project requires artists to submit conceptual designs as part of the application process.

BUDGET:  $200,000

ELIGIBILITY:  The RFP is open to all professional artists or teams with experience in public art. Artists from the North End neighborhood are encouraged to apply.


  • Artist selected: Early February 2017
  • Artist further develops concept and designs:  February 2017
  • Presentation made at the Boston Art Commission Monthly Public Meeting:  March 2017
  • Design and Development 50% completed; any substantial changes to Public Works design finalized at this time:  March 2017
  • Boston Art Commission votes on project approval. Design submitted to Public Works’ final project plan:  April 2017
  • Public Works project construction begins: Beginning Spring/Summer 2017
  • Artwork is installed: Spring/Summer 2017



Settled in the early 1600’s, the North End is one of Boston’s oldest occupied neighborhoods and has a vibrant community fabric. North Square was the center of community life, and continued to be a site of commerce and gathering place through the 1800’s as waves of immigrants settled in the neighborhood. In the 20th century the neighborhood was mainly comprised of Italian and Jewish immigrants. The prevalence of Italian immigrants cemented the area as a landmark for its Italian American community, cuisine, and businesses.

Today, the neighborhood is a tourist destination both for its place in American history as well as its contemporary Italian American culture, such as summer festivals honoring patron saints of Italian cities. North Square is a much-loved open space nestled amongst tight cobble-stoned streets and three/four-story brick buildings. Closely adjacent to the Mariner’s House, an inn reserved exclusively for the men and women who worked at sea, the Paul Revere House, Rachel Revere Park, and the Sacred Heart Church, the Square’s boundaries are marked by heavy black maritime chains.

In 2017, North Square will undergo a revitalization project by the Boston Public Works Department. Designed to build on its identity as a cultural destination and making the space accessible to all, the completed project will be a livable, walkable, green and sustainable square.


The community would be open to proposals that include a central object, artistic street furniture, or the incorporation of artistic elements into other aspect of the square, such as paving, benches, planters, lighting, a pergola, or other infrastructure. Although history is integral to the site, proposals that balance historic references and context with a more contemporary perspective are also encouraged. These proposals may choose to respond to the urban design character of the space or the neighborhood’s dynamic identity.


Does the Artist state a compelling proposal for the project?

  • A compelling proposal will connect their proposal to the project’s vision and community’s values provided in this RFP.
  • A compelling proposal will provide a clear connection between the Artist’s past and future work with the goals of this project.
  • An uncompelling proposal will speak to the Artist’s achievements without connection to the project vision, community values, or the proposed environment.

Does the Artist’s vision for the project respond to the community’s values and project context?

  • A compelling project vision will respond to the community values and project context.
  • A compelling project vision will be an original artistic concept.
  • A compelling project vision will include information on the materials proposed with respect to the environment and the expected lifespan of the project.
  • An uncompelling vision for the project will not respond to the project context, or community values.

Does the Artist’s vision for the project respond to the Boston Art Commission’s Criteria for Excellence?

The Boston Art Commission’s Criteria for Excellence promotes innovative and transformative artworks that:

  • Engage the community,
  • Enrich and enliven the urban environment,
  • Are driven by a clear artistic vision,
  • Enhance the diversity of the existing collection,
  • Respond directly to their specific environment,
  • And possess durability appropriate to the lifespan of the work.

Qualifications of the Artist

  • Does the Artist’s work show a strong, clear artistic vision such that the proposed project is clearly communicated and actionable?
  • Does the Artist present unique or innovative methods in their work and/or vision?
  • Does the Artist demonstrate a history of professional competency in project management and construction administration?
  • Does the Artist demonstrate a history of ability to complete projects of similar scope and scale within a defined budget in a timely manner?
  • Does the Artist have organizational experience in proactive organizing and partnering with multiple, and possibly disparate, stakeholders?


Download full RFP details and application instructions here.