Design Mosaic-Murals For Cambridge Fire Department Headquarters And Tobin Montessori/Vassal Lane Upper Schools Complex

11/22/20236 months ago

Left: Cambridge Fire Department Headquarters. Right: Design of Tobin Montessori/Vassal Lane School.

Left: Cambridge Fire Department Headquarters. Right: Design of Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Schools.

Design Mosaic-Murals For Cambridge Fire Department Headquarters And Tobin Montessori/Vassal Lane Upper Schools Complex

Pay: Approximately $40,000 per artist; Four artists to be selected.
Apply by Dec. 18, 2023.

Cambridge Arts, the City of Cambridge's arts agency, is looking for artists to design mosaic-murals for the Fire Department Headquarters, which is being renovated, and a new Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools Complex. Four artists will be selected to collaborate with a custom mosaic fabricator to turn their designs into custom mosaic-murals. One artist will design two mosaic-murals for the Fire Department Headquarters, and three artists will design three mosaic-murals for the Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools complex. Each artist will be paid approximately $40,000. Apply by Dec. 18, 2023, 5:00p.m.:

Cambridge Arts seeks applicants who work in any two-dimensional medium; experience with mosaics is not required. The final mosaic-murals will be translations of the artists’ work in glass smalti and custom-cut ceramic tile mosaics. Cambridge Arts Public Art staff will support each artist through the process of community engagement, design development, and collaboration with the mosaic fabricator.

To be considered for these projects, submit images of past work and biographical information. No proposals needed at this time. See details below.

Cambridge Fire Department Headquarters: The City of Cambridge has eight firehouses. The current public art project is for the headquarters at 491 Broadway, a brick colonial revival building built in 1933. The triangular site on which it stands is bordered by Broadway, Cambridge Street, and Quincy Street just north of Harvard Yard.,-71.1154319,18z?entry=ttu
One artist will design two mosaic-murals to be located at two interior locations – in the first-floor entryway and in the second-floor gathering area. The total wall area for both mosaics will be approximately 300 square feet.

Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools Complex: This is a new construction project of a combined school and community complex located in west Cambridge, near Fresh Pond. The site is bordered by Concord Avenue, Fresh Pond Parkway, and Vassal Lane. The school will serve preschool, grades K-5, and grade 6-8 students. The mosaic-murals will be located in three different interior spaces, with the square footage for each mosaic-mural varying from 300-700 square feet.

The anticipated artist’s budget will be approximately $40,000 for each artist. The final budget will be determined during the selection process. The artist’s budget will include the artist’s design fee, community engagement, close collaboration with the custom mosaic fabricator throughout the design process, communication with city staff, review meetings as needed. Artist’s budget will not need to include fabrication or installation of the mosaics.

• Cambridge Arts is interested in artists working in any two-dimensional medium.
• An Artist Selection Committee will choose five finalists for the Tobin Montessori/Vassal Lane Upper School Complex and three finalists for the Fire Department Headquarters.
• Two Interview Committees, one for each site, comprising city staff, the design team, and stakeholders, will interview finalists. The respective Interview Committees will then select three artists for the school site and one artist for the Fire Department Headquarters.

An artisan mosaic fabricator with extensive experience collaborating with artists will be identified by the city. This fabricator will translate each artist’s two-dimensional work into glass and ceramic mosaics. The mosaic pieces will be custom cut, not uniform in shape and size. The commissioned artists will work closely with the mosaic fabricator, starting with ideas based on the artist portfolio, followed by a concept proposal, and moving towards a detailed design. The collaboration between artist and mosaic fabricator will aim to interpret the artist’s graphic elements, color palette, shading, and composition to result in a mutually satisfactory mosaic.

• Experience creating art for public and community spaces.
• Ability to create artwork that aligns with the scale of a large site.
• Strong interest in collaborating with an artisan mosaic fabricator.
• Experience managing time and budget for public art projects.
• Experience communicating with project stakeholders (city staff, members of the community of site users, project team)
• Availability over the course of a two-year project.
• Preference will be given to local artists based in the Boston region.

Nov 20, 2023: Call-for-artists launched
Dec 18, 5PM EST: Final date to submit visuals and biographical information
Early Jan 2024: Finalists selected by Artist Selection Committee
Late Jan to early Feb 2024: Interview Committees interview finalists and select three artists to be commissioned for the Tobin/Vassal Lane site and one artist to be commissioned for the Fire Headquarters

Interested artists apply through our Public Art Registry on SlideRoom:

If you are not in our artist registry, registration is free and easy – upload digital files of work samples and complete the form for artist information. Once you are in our registry you will be considered for this project as well as for future public art commissions administered by the City of Cambridge.

If you are already in the registry, we encourage you to update your portfolio on SlideRoom. To make updates, you must send an email to request access to your portfolio. Email Hilary Zelson, Public Art Administrator at

For technical support using SlideRoom, please email For other questions, please contact Hilary Zelson at or 617-349-4388.