Opportunity: Create Public Art Project With Teens


Teens gather in a group outdoors in front of a fence and work on art projects while seated around a table at the Community Art Center.

Are you an artist who would like to lead a collaborative public art project with teens?

Cambridge Arts and the Community Art Center are seeking an artist-in-residence who will lead youth through the process of designing a permanent public art project for The Port neighborhood of Cambridge, MA.

We are looking for local artists who have experience working with high school students and community members in a collaborative design and implementation process for public art. This opportunity is tied to the city’s Port Infrastructure Project that will reduce flooding and make improvements to the neighborhood’s streets, sidewalks, and open spaces.

DEADLINE to submit is June 6, 5:00 p.m. EST. Apply at https://cac.slideroom.com/#/permalink/program/66473 (additional details below). To be considered, submit your application (images of past work and an online form). We are not asking for proposals at this time.

The artist’s budget is $100,000. This budget includes all costs associated with the project, such as artist’s fee, design collaboration time with stakeholders and city staff, time spent in the classroom with the students, and managing fabrication and installation of the project. This project is funded through the City’s Percent-for-Art Ordinance.

This call is open to artists in the northeastern United States who can travel to Cambridge on a weekly basis. Preference will be given to local artists based in the Boston area.
Map of Cambridge, Massachusetts, identifying the Port neighborhood in the southwest area of the city.
Beginning in September 2022, the artist will work with students in the Teen Public Art Program at the Community Art Center to develop a public art concept responsive to The Port neighborhood. The artist will collaborate with students to develop the public art project. Together they will develop a design and select sites.. The artist will continue to engage with the students through the fabrication and implementation phases. The public art project will incorporate both the students’ ideas and the artist’s vision.

The students will learn about the steps in creating a project of appropriate scale to the neighborhood streetscape. We are seeking artists whose work is three-dimensional and meant to be integrated into the open space and neighborhood improvements. The Teen Public Art Manager at the Community Art Center will work closely with the artist and the students. Cambridge Arts will provide additional support in the design process and implementation and will facilitate city approvals and coordination with the overall construction.

From September – December 2022, the artist is expected to meet weekly in person with the students at the Community Art Center. From January 2023 until artwork installation, the artist is expected to meet on an occasional basis, in person at the Community Art Center, when there are important project developments. All classes/meetings will be coordinated to work with both the artist’s and Community Art Center schedules.

The Community Art Center at 119 Windsor Street, founded in 1937, is a neighborhood institution committed to a mission: to cultivate an engaged community of youth whose powerful artistic voices transform their lives, their neighborhoods, and their worlds.
Teens work on art projects while seated around a table at the Community Art Center.
The Art Center has established an excellent track record of providing creative and challenging learning opportunities to youth. It aims to develop the next generation of civically-engaged, community-minded leaders and problem-solvers.

The Community Art Center provides a supportive family-like environment with intensive social, emotional, and academic help structures built-in. Mental health and transportation services are available, and they serve up to three meals a day.

The Port is a dense residential neighborhood with approximately seven thousand residents. It is bounded by Hampshire Street to the north, Portland Street to the east, Prospect Street to the west, and Massachusetts Avenue to the south. The major commercial and transit center of The Port lies along the Massachusetts Avenue edge. Smaller commercial areas exist along Main Street, Prospect Street, Broadway, and Hampshire Street.

Diverse in composition and deep in history, The Port is a neighborhood with established organizations that serve as social and cultural anchors for the community. The Community Art Center is one of these organizations. The Port is also a neighborhood in flux. Today’s rapid development of Kendall Square to the east and in Central Square to the south exerts tremendous pressure on the area, threatening to break some of the roots that have sustained a strong community of people over many years.

For more information on the Port Infrastructure Project visit: https://www.cambridgema.gov/Departments/publicworks/cityprojects/2015/theportinfrasctructureimprovements

We are looking for artist candidates with the following qualifications:
· Experience creating successful art projects in public spaces
· Experience collaborating with communities to develop art projects
· Experience creating three dimensional, sculptural, or installation-based artworks
· Experience working with youth/teens
· Experience teaching art in a classroom environment
· Experience working with communities of color
· Experience developing clear methods for engaging communities towards a common creative goal.
· Culturally sensitive and forward-thinking.
· Willing to learn about the history and culture of the neighborhood, creating experiences and artwork sensitive to that history and culture.

June 6, 2022 Deadline to submit visuals of past work and application form

July 2022 Selection Committee interviews 4 finalists and selects one artist to be commissioned.

September 2022 Artist begins weekly workshops with students.

December 2022 Concept/proposal development is complete. Weekly workshops end.

2023-2024 Project development continues; artist continues to work with the Community Art Center and city staff; students are engaged during important aspects of the process.

Submit images of past work and complete an application form online: https://cac.slideroom.com/#/permalink/program/66473

Note: even if you are already in our general artist registry, you must still apply to The Port Public Artist-in-Residence program.

We are here to help you with your application! For technical support using Slideroom, please e-mail support@slideroom.com. For other questions, please contact Hilary Zelson at hzelson@cambridgema.gov or 617-349-4388.