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Public Art Sought for City Plaza

Posted by City of Lynn ; Posted on 
Public Art; Visual - DEADLINE :  
Public Art Sought for City Plaza



The City of Lynn, Massachusetts, the Downtown Lynn Cultural District (DTLCD), the Lynn Office of Community Development, and the Lynn Public Arts Commission (LPAC) are seeking an artistic concept for a signature work of art at Lynn’s Mt. Vernon and Exchange Street Plaza.

BUDGET:  $75,000

ELIGIBILITY:  Professional artists over 18 living in the United States

DEADLINE: April 30, 2020

In 2012, the Massachusetts Cultural Council designated a portion of Downtown Lynn as one of the Commonwealth’s inaugural Cultural Districts. Although appointed in 2012, the history of arts & culture activism in Downtown Lynn goes back decades. Countless individuals and organizations have contributed their time and energy to Downtown Lynn. The Downtown Lynn Cultural District (DTLCD) is a keeper of this movement and collaborates with cultural partners, both new and well-established, to foster a shared creative and cohesive vision for the city’s cultural community.

Lynn’s Cultural District has gained much positive momentum in recent years, and the City is interested and invested in building on the successes of all of the DTLCD cultural partners. Identifying the gateway and boundaries of the DTLCD through creative community placemaking and a unique signature work of art is a critical element of this investment. The signature work of public art, which is the subject of this Call for Artists, should identify the Cultural District and should represent the heart of the community by providing a meaningful display for all Lynn residents to connect to and enjoy. The work of art should act as a magnet, drawing in visitors from surrounding areas and beyond.

In order to progress toward the creation of this artwork and a visually compelling approach to marking district gateways, the City of Lynn Department of Community Development, the Downtown Lynn Cultural District, and the Lynn Public Art Commission has retained the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to develop a Call for Artists and a creative placemaking strategy. To develop the strategy, MAPC is engaging residents, businesses, local institutions, and artists to identify areas of strength, emerging challenges and a shared vision for a compelling work of art that has widespread community support.

The goal of this project is to install artwork that reflects the spirit of Lynn, enlivens the gateway to the DTLCD as a destination, and increases use of the Plaza as a gathering space.

Lynn Creative Placemaking Working Group
The Lynn Creative Placemaking Working Group includes representatives from businesses and organizations active in the cultural district and active in promoting arts and culture throughout Lynn. Organizations represented in the group include the Lynn Public Schools Fine Arts Department, Ironbound Marketplace, the New Lynn Coalition, The Brickyard Collaborative, the Food Project and Lynn Farmers Market, North Shore Community College, the Khmer Cultural Planning Committee and Lynn YMCA, as well as working artists.

What Makes Lynn Special?
In thinking about what makes Lynn a special place, this group identified its local pride, its authenticity, and its people, including immigrants, youth, and multi-generational families. The group emphasized the city’s strength and resilience in the face of hardship and challenge. It is important that public art practices in Lynn build on the strength of who is here and connect to the residents of Lynn in a meaningful way. Lynn is a city of hidden assets from its natural resources to its historic artifacts to its multi-ethnic cultural diversity.

The following values have been identified by the Lynn Creative Placemaking Working Group to guide artists in the development of their proposals and site-specific considerations that applicants may wish to understand as they develop their concepts.

  • Engagement and Interaction: The artwork should invite interaction from visitors and the process of developing the artwork should engage with local residents, artists and organizations. Ideally the work would also invite peer-to-peer interaction, and allow visitors to experience connection with something larger than themselves.
  • Multi-generational: Youth, seniors, families, young adults, past generations and future. An artwork that helps build connections across generations and across time would resonate with Lynn.
  • Education: The artwork should help educate the general public on the value and importance of public art as part of the city’s fabric.
  • Justice: Residents of Lynn are grappling with rising housing costs, environmental degradation, drug use, and other challenges with many local organizations bringing creative approaches with a focus on justice to generate opportunity from challenges. Installing artwork that can tap into that value of justice is important to the Lynn Creative Placemaking Advisory Group.
  • Support: Make sure the Lynn community and artists feel supported throughout this process.
  • Positivity and Joy: This work of art should be a source of positivity and joy.
  • Vivid/Colorful: Consider the bright vivid red along the viaduct. Adding more vivid color would enhance the site.

The following considerations should also be part of the artist’s concept:

  • Artists should propose concepts that can be installed without a crane to minimize potential risk and impact to the MBTA’s customer safety and railroad operations.
  • Design and fabrication of artwork and all component parts should be stable and resistant to tipping, falling, or detaching.
  • It is strongly recommended that artists adhere to the following size restrictions:
    • Artwork should not exceed 20’ in height.
    • Artwork should not include any elements that create a physical impediment to pedestrian, bicycle or motorized wheelchair movement more than 5’ beyond the Art Installation Site to preserve a 10’ wide pedestrian zone around the artwork.
    • Proposed elements that extend beyond the Art Installation Site should maintain a 10’ wide pedestrian zone through the plaza around existing obstacles.
  • Artwork should not impede ongoing maintenance and repair of sidewalk plaza surrounding the Art Installation Site.


Artists are encouraged to envision concepts for a circular patch of land reserved for public art in the sidewalk plaza at the corner of Mt. Vernon Street and Exchange Street.

  • Think About How People Use the Space. A majority of people pass through the site on their way to the train station and surveys have indicated that many people do not find the Plaza to be a comfortable place to spend time. Users would welcome art that integrates seating, lighting or plant life to enhance the space. Your artwork may address these issues by creating space for people to pause and relax, or enhance the site’s role as a gateway.
  • Consider the Edges and Organizations. The site is used by its immediate neighbors and they will continue to transform its identity. This summer it will host weekly farmer’s markets and events run by the Ironbound Marketplace. The LynnArts building opens onto the sidewalk across from the site on Exchange Street, and Beyond Walls is moving into a building along Mt. Vernon Street. RAW Artworks is located on the other side of the Viaduct, and North Shore Community College is just at the intersection of Spring Street and Broad Street. Think about how your project might relate to or how your process might integrate these organizations at the edges of the site.
  • Capitalize on the Existing Aesthetic. With its combination of murals and raw architectural features around the Plaza, this site provides an urban oasis within Lynn. The Plaza itself however is dominated by concrete and is periodically occupied by loud buses with diesel exhaust. Artwork here can provide a brief respite from the hardscape and pollution while enhancing connections to the urban fabric that surrounds the site.
  • Remember that this Space is a Commuter Zone. The site provides access to the Commuter Rail station above and a major bus stop on Mount Vernon Street. Additionally there is parking on Mount Vernon Street and other parking lots that empty onto the street, making this one-way street an area of high volumes of vehicular traffic. A signature work can provide a visual cue to alert drivers to slow down.

The call is open to any resident of the United States of America aged 18 years or older; however, individuals located outside of Massachusetts must partner with or subcontract an individual or organization in Massachusetts. Current residents of Lynn, Massachusetts, and the North Shore are strongly encouraged to apply. Artists lacking experience in either community engagement or the design and fabrication of sculptural artwork must subcontract or partner with another individual or entity that can demonstrate the relevant experience. Any subcontractor must be identified as part of the team submitting for artist pre-qualification.


  • Call for Artists Release: March 2, 2020
  • Call for Artists Information Session: March 12, 2020
  • Question Submission Deadline: March 26, 2020
  • Amendments to Call for Artists Posted: April 2, 2020
  • Artist Pre-qualifications Submission Deadline: April 30, 2020 12:00 noon Eastern Daylight Time
  • Invitation to Submit Public Art Concepts to Qualified Artist Teams: May 14, 2020
  • Commission extended to final artist:  November 19, 2020
  • Approved final design:  March 14, 2021
  • Installation of final artwork:  by August 1, 2021


  • Application: Qualifying applications must be complete and include all required documents.
  • Alignment with Values: Preliminary concepts will be evaluated for alignment with project values. Concepts that do not reflect the values articulated in the Call for Artists will not be evaluated further.
  • Expertise: Artist and/or team must demonstrate experience through completed projects in the following areas: design of public art, fabrication of public art, and community engagement for art projects.
  • Engagement: Any qualifying artist or artist team must include an approach to community engagement and recommendations for engagement strategies that align with artistic concept.
  • References: Any qualifying artist team must supply a minimum of three references for completed work or at least one reference per team member.
  • Qualifying references must have had a supervisory role related to the project or have held commissioning or approval authority over the project.
  • Quality: Qualifying project experience must represent a standard of quality such that references do not report concerns with project completion timeline or budget or with the durability, maintenance, or safety of the delivered product.


Artists and artist teams will submit applications for pre-qualification. Artist or artist team qualifications will be reviewed by the City of Lynn and subject matter experts. This review will determine which artists and artist teams meet the minimum required qualifications. All artists or artist teams that meet the required qualifications will be considered Qualified Artist Teams and will be invited to submit artistic concepts.

Qualified Artist Teams will be invited to submit concept proposals. Qualified Artist Teams will be required to enter into a Grant Agreement in order to receive a maximum of $1,000 per team (not to exceed $9,000 distributed equally across all teams) for concept development. The City of Lynn and subject matter experts will review concepts submitted by Qualified Artist Teams to confirm they meet the minimum concept submission requirements. Concepts that meet the requirements will be forwarded to a public review and selection process. The selected artist or artist team will enter into a Public Art Grant Agreement with the City of Lynn.

The City of Lynn reserves the right to withdraw the Call for Artists at any time and without penalty.


  1. Application Form: available here
  2. Contact information for Team Lead (full name, email, phone number)
  3. Bios (for you and/or your team)
  4. Letter of Intent (max. 250 words) describing preliminary artistic concept and media
  5. Documentation of past work: 3-20 images, audio clips, or videos
  6. List of relevant project experiences including public art design and fabrication, and community engagement (please identify which team members are associated with each project). Also include links to information about or images of project work listed above
  7. Three references for project work listed in (d) above. If team has not worked together previously, at least one project reference per team member is required.
  8. Insurance Information (insurance company, policy holder, coverage, amount)
  9. Partnerships and Engagement Statement: a.) Please describe your approach to community engagement and partnerships in the design and fabrication of public art.  Include your understanding of the value and benefit of community engagement and the challenges associated with community engagement within your public art practice. b.) Please recommend strategies that would enable you or your team to connect with and incorporate the context and community identity of Lynn into your concept development. These recommendations will be taken into consideration by the City of Lynn in the concept development phase.

Submissions will be received online via the CaFE system until April 30, 2020 at noon. If you would prefer to submit a physical copy, please deliver your materials to Carolyn Cole, Director of the DTLCD; Community Development, Lynn City Hall, 3 City Hall Square, Room 305.

QUESTIONS? Contact Marjorie Weinberger at


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