The appointment of George Fifield, the JP resident who founded Boston Cyberarts, to the Boston Art Commission is a great move—and we don’t say that solely out of local pride.
Starting over 15 years ago with the now-defunct Boston Cyberarts Festival, Fifield has been a local visionary of digital and interdisciplinary art. As a curator and promoter, he has championed everything from video games to massive LED installations in exploring what it means to be human in this high-tech age. While Boston Cyberarts has always had a strong local presence, most recent at its Green Street T Station gallery, it also has taken the entire city as its domain. Its collaborations consistently hop institutional and neighborhood boundaries.
Fifield’s appointment is just part of Mayor Martin Walsh’s outstanding reforms of a public art system mired for decades in apathy and too often living down to Boston’s puritanical stereotype. Walsh smartly decoupled the arts and tourism departments, and he recently named a top-notch “arts czar,” Julie Burros—the City’s first cabinet-level arts chief in a generation. That search, naturally, was led by Walsh’s policy chief, Joyce Linehan, the well-known arts publicist and rock-music record label owner.
Most importantly, Walsh just plainly enjoys the arts and music scenes like—well, like a real person. He gets it. The Fifield appointment is one more brushstroke on what is emerging as a very bright picture of Boston’s artistic future.