Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced a call for artists for temporary public artwork on the exterior of the Finland Building at 774 Albany Street. The call for artists is a joint effort between the Boston Public Health Commission, the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services, the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, and the Boston Art Commission.
"The City is working hard to improve the neighborhood around Melnea Cass and Massachusetts Avenue, and we see public art as an integral part of this initiative," said Mayor Walsh. "This call for artists offers our local creatives an opportunity to create art that embodies the values of resiliency and hope, offering encouragement and support for those who utilize recovery services."
The Finland building houses a number of the Boston Public Health Commission's addiction recovery services programs. Clients come to the Finland building for a broad range of services, including harm reduction services, which are a set of practical strategies aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use, and as an entry point for detox and other treatment programs. The building is adjacent to Boston Healthcare for the Homeless and across from Boston Medical Center, the city's safety-net hospital.
"Our team at the Finland have created an environment where everyone feels welcome, cared for, and connected," said BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH. "Adding a warm and inviting artistic element outside of the building will help us strengthen efforts to engage clients who might be otherwise intimidated by the idea of seeking services for the first time. It will also build on our work to be a good neighbor in our community."
The proposed space for public art is an outside wall next to the entrance of the Finland Building. The entire wall is available and measures 70' x 20'. A second, perpendicular wall is also available and artists may propose an artwork that spans both walls.
"We are excited about this opportunity to beautify a City building that is a central access point for addiction recovery supports," said Jen Tracey, Director of the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services. "Public art is one strategy the City is using to reflect the strength and resiliency of the people who access our services."
The call for artists is open to all professional artists, artisans or teams with experience in public art, site responsive design and project management. The initial amount budgeted for this project is $8,000, which includes artist fee, materials, and installation. The artist will be selected by the Artist Selection Committee, which is comprised of representatives from the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services and the Boston Public Health Commission as well as two local artists. The final artwork design will be approved by the Boston Art Commission. The call is available online and all submissions are due by noon on May 9, 2017.
"As we look to integrate public art across the city, it's important that each installation considers the uniqueness of the neighborhood," said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. "We know that art can be a powerful ally in the recovery process. We are looking forward to seeing how the artists can offering messages of hope and healing through their work."
In the span of only a few square miles, there are several opioid treatment clinics, two of the largest emergency shelters in the region, a detox facility, a long-term residential treatment program, a resource and referral center that places scores of individuals in treatment every day, a peer recovery center, the biggest harm reduction site in New England, and a world-class health-care organization whose mission it is to serve our city's most vulnerable residents.
More information and applications are available online.