Local Artists and Organizations Receive City Grants to Increase Public Art in JP

This week the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture awards grants to artists and organizations to create short-term public art projects and activations of public spaces through the Transformative Public Art program.

In Jamaica Plain artist Roberto Chao wil create a mural at Mozart Park. Chao, an artist who received his Masters of Fine Arts in 1982 from the National School of Fine Arts. University of Mexico with a concentration in mural painting, is no stranger to creating community art in Jamaica Plain and Greater Boston.

Since 1986 Chao has led or been engaged in dozens of community-based art projects here.

In the summer of 1987 Chao was commissioned for the “Fresh Walls on Egleston Square”  community mural project through a Heritage Grant from the Mass. Council on the Arts and Humanities.

Then in the winter of 1992-93 he hosted the “Rice & Beans/Raza & Bravura” art workshops and shows in Jamaica Plain.

From there Chao created the “Peace Throughout History” mural with High School students from Jamaica Plain, the “Wake Up the Earth Celebration” Mural in Jamaica Plain, and, again with the help of Jamaica Plain high school students, created murals on the columns and walls at the Jackson Square Station Orange Line MBTA stop.

The city grants will also go towards funding Daniel Callahan’s MassQ Ball 2022 at the Arnold Arboretum.

Callahan is a transmedia artist and designer living in Roxbury MA. His work has been featured in the Museum of Fine Arts, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Art and has been featured in such publications as Believer Magazine, The Bay State Banner, and Words Beats & Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture.

A graduate of UPenn School of Design Callahan received the Fine Arts Chair Award for outstanding work in a senior thesis exhibit, a current Graduate MFA Fellow in the Visual Media Art Program at Emerson College, and co-founder of the artist collective Fear & Fancy out of Oakland CA.

“Imagine an art event where instead of looking at objects on walls we look at each other; where instead of going to see art, we become it; where people can convene, converge and celebrate what makes us both unique and unified,” said Callahan in a statement about the ball.

Finally, these art grants will also fund Dunamis’ Jamaica Plain Porchfest 2021.

The city has allocated a total of  $750,000 in funding for mural projects at 10 sites across nine Boston neighborhoods as well as another $323,950 for 27 short-term projects.

“(Art) brings joy and inspiration to communities, and helps revitalize our neighborhoods,” said Acting Mayor Kim Janey. “I hope Boston residents and visitors enjoy these beautiful works of art, and that these projects encourage those who pass by them to find creative ways to brighten where they live.”

Last year, Janey said 24 public art projects were awarded grants totaling $35,000. The program relaunched as a key part of Janey’s Joy Agenda, which is a citywide invitation, opportunity, and investment in the City’s collective well-being.

In the spring Janey put out a call to artists and after an exhaustive application process the local artists were chosen by the city to create art around the city.

“Paying artists to integrate bold, new artwork throughout our neighborhoods is a step in the right direction as we focus on reopening our city and coming back together around the notion of joy and renewal,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston.

The selected artists will also work with consultant Liza Quiñonez, a creative entrepreneur and founder of the award winning urban contemporary art and design agency Street Theory.

Quiñonez will provide project administration services and provide the artists with proposal development guidance, community engagement strategy and support, technical assistance, and logistical production and support.

“It’s an exciting time for Boston and I look forward to working with the selected artists on bringing their vision to life in big and bold ways,” said Quiñonez.

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