Saturday, January 16, 2016

Youth Banner Project announces selections

Arlington Public Art announces 30 artworks created by local teens have been selected to be turned into banners and hung along Mass Ave this spring. The Arlington Public Art Youth Banner Initiative aims to promote and encourage development in the visual arts and foster a sense of community through public art. Funding for this project is generously provided by the family of Gracie James.

Taking the form of a temporary public art exhibit, the selected pieces will be digitized, printed as banners and hung  in Arlington Heights, Arlington Center and East Arlington. The exhibition addresses the theme of nature and the environment. Titled “Resplendent Nature,” it will be on view April and May 2016. This is the first year of the program, and we received ninety-three excellent submissions. The age of the Arlington teen-residents who presented art ranged from 12 to 18, and participating schools included Ottoson Middle School, Saint Agnes School, Arlington Catholic High School, Arlington High School, Medford High School, and Minuteman High School. The members of the jury included Board of Selectman Joseph Curro, Public Art Consultant Cecily Miller, and Arlington Public Art Co-Chair Jill Manca.

11 of the 30 designs chosen by our judges to be printed digitally onto vinyl banners.

Our judges, l to r, Jill Manca, APA co- chair, Joe Curro, Selectman, and Cecily Miller, public art consultant

Monday, November 2, 2015

Be the Public in Public Art! Share your ideas at a community forum featuring interactive theater

True Story Theater has held hundreds of shows in Arlington and Greater Boston on themes important to the community since 2001.  Arlington Public Art is thrilled to have their help collecting ideas about what matters in East Arlington.  Your stories about the joys and challenges of living in this neighborhood, and your hopes for the future will help shape a new public art initiative.

Please join us for a community meeting and theater performance to gather ideas and stories for a public art project we are planning for East Arlington along the Massachusetts Avenue Corridor! 

On this Wednesday, November 4 and next month -- Tuesday, December 8 -- we are collaborating with True Story Theater to offer a fun and interactive "talk back" theater experience. You are invited to share an experience about living or working in East Arlington and then these talented actors do a short improv work to capture the heart of your story! This Wednesday's meeting is from 7 to 9 at the Robbins Library Community Room.  It's FREE, and refreshments will be served!

Can't make this event? the second community meeting in collaboration with True Story Theater will be December  8 at the Fox Library from 7 to 9.  

Can't make either event? Cecily Miller, APA's project manager, will be at the Fox Library on Thursday, November 5 and on Thursday, December 10 from 11 to 2 -- for drop in "office hours".  Please stop by and hear how the meetings went, and share your own ideas in conversation.  Children welcome!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

East Arlington Public Art Initiative has begun!

East Arlington has been undergoing a face lift this past year. Sidewalks have been widened and improved, pedestrian bump outs have been added, bike lanes, new street "furniture" and plantings have been created. Although a contentious process, the upheaval has given way to a more pedestrian-friendly boulevard.

Four years ago, when the Mass Ave Corridor Project was in its planning stage, several members of our committee had the foresight to ask that it accommodate sites for public art. Thanks to Town Meeting members, they passed a warrant article proposed by Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine to fund an expert to lead Arlington through its first large scale, contemporary public art process.

In Arlington, the Robbins family commissioned nationally renowned, Arlington based sculptor Cyrus Dallin to create many bronze sculptures for the Town Hall and the Robbins Library in the early 20th century.

The Menotomy Hunter by Cyrus Dallin

Much contemporary public art grows out of a community-based process that draws upon public input for content. The new model often reflects the distinct character of a place and its residents. Public art is becoming more and more present in cities and towns of all sizes across the US as new materials and technology make it easier for artists to envision the city landscape as their canvas. Town planners see that unique, whimsical, powerful, or contemplative public art can bring visitors to a depressed area or can enliven a business district. Innovative public art, whether temporary or permanent, can distinguish a place and build community.

Temporary sculpture by Michael Dewberry at Art Rocks Spy Pond, May 2015, a project of Arlington Public Art
The process of deciding what to commission can be a powerful catalyst for conversation about where we live, raise families, and work, and can reflect our aspirations and our hopes for the future.

We are very pleased to welcome Cecily Miller as our public art manager for the East Arlington initiative. As the first Executive Director of the Somerville Arts Council, Cecily created the hugely popular Artbeat Festival in Davis Square, among many other ground breaking projects in Boston and surrounds. Cecily conceived and led a highly successful and innovative project at the Forest Lawn cemetery in Jamaica Plain, MA, where she commissioned artists to respond to the subject of remembrance in poetic, contemplative ways.

Cecily Miller, Arlington's new public art manager

APA will work closely with Cecily as she engages with the neighborhoods and business community of East Arlington. As she has done so successfully before, she hopes to listen to the stories and history of East Arlington residents in order to help APA commission art works that reflect this community.

The parameter of this project is the stretch of the renovations on Mass Ave. from Pond Lane to the intersection of Rt. 16 at the Cambridge border.

There are no designated spots for a single piece of art. Instead, we are hoping that a selection of visual artists suggested by Cecily will respond to the information collected in our public meetings and create a work that reflects East Arlington. Rather than fitting into a pre-determined spot, the piece could hang above the street, could be a series of objects, or could use the road asphalt as a canvas.  At this point, we don't want to rule anything out, though our budget is the main limitation. All funds will be raised from private donors and  Arlington Public Art. From proposals by individual artists we hope to identify at least one that we will commission for sometime in late 2016.

The process is laid out here roughly:

Phase 1 Introduction (Sept. to November 2015)
1. Meet with the community to gather ideas and input from the public
2. Identify a Public Advisory Group
4. Start outreach to artists

Phase 2 Assessment (November to April 2016)
1. Public presentations
2. Three to five meetings with Project Advisory Group to develop goals
3. Finalize project design and budget

Phase 3 Fundraising (April to May 2016)
1. Write a fundraising plan with input and participation form the Project Advisory Group, stakeholders, the local business community, and the Town Manager
2. Support these groups in securing funds

Phase 4: Mini Projects (April to September of 2016)
Plan and implement 2 to 5 small scale public art events in East Arlington to raise visibility for the project and celebrate completion of the street scape.

Phase 5: Artist Selection (May to Sept. 2016)

Phase 6: Contract with Artist (September 2016)
Work with the artist and Town Manager to finalize the scope of service and plan for community outreach and participation.

Phase 7: Implementation of project (timeline to be determined by selected artist's proposal

Phase 8: Conclusion
Project evalutation
Develop plan for future initiatives

We welcome your input and we invite the public to attend our community meetings to share your stories.

Our first public meeting is scheduled for November 4, 7 pm, at the Robbins Library Community Room. True Story Theater will be facilitating this session as part of their "Living Brochure" project in collaboration with Arlington Vision 2020. Please join us to listen, learn, and share.

Our second public meeting is scheduled for December 8 at 7 pm at the Fox Library Community Room, also facilitated by True Story Theater.

Questions??? Contact, or

More to come!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Transformer Boxes!

In our second year of our Transformer Box Mural Project, seven new designs are now complete.
Here is the map with the newly painted boxes.

Adria Arch 
Adria is an Arlington-based painter whose work is represented in public and private collections.

Donna Hamilton is an Arlington-based artist.

Colleen Feeney-Keyes

Maria and Kathy Lobo are a mother-daughter team of artists living in Arlington, MA.

Mary Kandaras and Isabel Aluia are recently graduated from Arlington High School. This box is located in front of the high school on Mass. Ave.

Sarinne Ghazarian 
Sarinne is an Arlington-based designer.

Suzanne McLeod is an Arlington-based artist and art therapist.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Chairful Where You Sit 2015 is coming July 10 - 12! 

View the great video made about last year's Chairful exhibit by Arlington Cable Media.