Cambridge Arts: A Look At 2023 In Photos


12/18/20232 months ago

Pictured clockwise from top: RootsUprising performs; Kit Collins paints Pemberton Street mural; Receita de Samba performs; Hancock Street block party; and Imani Deal dances.

Thank YOU For A Wonderful Year!

All of us at Cambridge Arts would like to thank you for joining us in bringing such creativity, joy, satisfaction and community engagement to Cambridge throughout 2023. Relive the highlights in the photos below. And we can't wait for you to see what we have in store for 2024, the 50th anniversary year for Cambridge Arts as the City’s leading arts agency!

"Cambridge Arts in 2023": List of arts funding and participation.

Artist Patricia Thaxton of Stoughton was celebrated at a Jan. 9 reception for her exhibition in Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344 highlighting her original designs for the monumental (printed) mural she debuted in Cambridge's Harvard Square in June 2021 as part of the City of Cambridge's renovation of the landmark Harvard Square Kiosk.

Artist Patricia Thaxton of Stoughton was celebrated at a Jan. 9 reception for her exhibition in Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344 highlighting her original designs for the monumental (printed) mural she debuted in Cambridge's Harvard Square in June 2021 as part of the City of Cambridge's renovation of the landmark Harvard Square Kiosk. Thaxton’s “The Beauty of Everyday Living” was printed on vinyl scrim to surround the worksite during construction. It highlights Harvard Square, Cambridge community festivals, Black Lives Matter protests, and her own patterns.





To make performing in public easier in Cambridge, Cambridge Arts moved its application for Street Performer Permits fully online at the start of 2023. 272 people received free Street Performer Permits, a 75 percent increase. How to apply: https://cambridgema.viewpointcloud.com/categories/1135/record-types/6855





Jerry Mendenhall, Greenhouse Manager at Mt. Auburn Cemetery, and Sean Halloran, Greenhouse Horticulturalist at Wellesley College Botanic Gardens, conducted a new round of grafting of cuttings from a beloved apple tree that was removed as part of the reconstruction of the City of Cambridge’s Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools complex. The "Community Grafting Project" from IKD of Boston and San Francisco, through a City of Cambridge public art commission, aims to use the traditional practice of plant grafting to give the original tree new life by creating genetic clones of the original to return to the school site when construction is completed. As the multi-year grafting process progresses, residents will have an opportunity to participate in caring for the grafted tree saplings.



The cities of Cambridge, Boston and Somerville joined together with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) throughout 2023 to better protect existing arts and cultural spaces and to identify opportunities and partnerships that lead to the creation of new ones

The cities of Cambridge, Boston and Somerville joined together with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) throughout 2023 to better protect existing arts and cultural spaces and to identify opportunities and partnerships that lead to the creation of new ones. Music venues, artists’ studios, rehearsal halls and other creative workspaces across the region have been closing at concerning rates due to rising rental and real estate prices — losses that only worsened amidst the health and financial problems of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Cambridge (represented by Cambridge Arts), Boston, and Somerville have been working to better help artists and organizations stay in their existing venues or find new, affordable ones. The three cities’ joint effort called “Making Space for Art,” conducted in partnership with and a $140,000 grant from MAPC, is surveying and interviewing artists, operators of arts spaces, and audiences to identify their most pressing needs and challenges.



Cambridge City Councilor E. Denise Simmons spoke at a February reception for the 2023 Black History Stroll from the Cambridge Museum of History and Culture.

Cambridge City Councilor E. Denise Simmons spoke at a February reception for the 2023 Black History Stroll from the Cambridge Museum of History and Culture. The exhibition of 15 posters recognized people of color who blazed trails in Cambridge—from CEOs and salon owners to pharmacists and philanthropists. The exhibition was on view at the Kendall Public Lobby, 355 to 325 Main St., Cambridge, in February in honor of Black History Month. (Photo by Mutsuko Ohnishi.)



"At the Foundry, 'Jukebox,' a permanent public art installation inside the building, visitors can press a few buttons to pick from a selection not of hit songs but of stories about life in Cambridge as told by Cantabrigians. 'Collectively, these all paint a portrait of Cambridge,' said Elisa H. Hamilton, the artist who built it,” The Boston Globe reported in February.

"At the Foundry, 'Jukebox,' a permanent public art installation inside the building, visitors can press a few buttons to pick from a selection not of hit songs but of stories about life in Cambridge as told by Cantabrigians. 'Collectively, these all paint a portrait of Cambridge,' said Elisa H. Hamilton, the artist who built it,” The Boston Globe reported in February. WBZ also covered the public art project which restored a vintage jukebox and turned it into a public artwork filled it with 100 recordings of Cambridge people's stories. The public art project was overseen by Cambridge Arts and funded by the City of Cambridge's Percent-for-Art Ordinance, which requires that 1 percent of the construction costs on municipal capital investment projects be designated for use in developing art for the community. Hamilton debuted her final story recordings in December 2023.



To prepare for snow in March, Department of Public Works crews loaded spray trucks with a brine solution from storage tanks on Sherman Street upon which Monique Aimee painted murals during the summer of 2020.

To prepare for snow in March, Department of Public Works crews loaded spray trucks with a brine solution from storage tanks on Sherman Street upon which Monique Aimee painted murals during the summer of 2020. The City's brine program sprays streets with the salt and water mixture before snow falls, preventing snow and ice from sticking to roads, and reducing the environmental impact of winter snow removal by using approximately 30 percent less salt.



In March, NBC 10 Boston highlighted the annual call for submissions for the City’s Sidewalk Poetry Contest, which picks poems by Cambridge residents to be imprinted into the fresh concrete of new sidewalks around the city.

In March, NBC 10 Boston
highlighted the annual call for submissions for the City’s Sidewalk Poetry Contest, which picks poems by Cambridge residents to be imprinted into the fresh concrete of new sidewalks around the city.



Five winning poems were selected to be imprinted in sidewalks across Cambridge as part of the city’s annual Sidewalk Poetry Contest. The winners, announced in May, who will each receive a $250 prize, are (pictured clockwise from top center) Mary Baine Campbell, Christine Del Castillo, Missy Hartvigsen, Jan Shafer, and Allen Perez-Somarribas.

Five winning poems were selected to be imprinted in sidewalks across Cambridge as part of the city’s annual Sidewalk Poetry Contest. The winners, announced in May, who will each receive a $250 prize, are (pictured clockwise from top center) Mary Baine Campbell, Christine Del Castillo, Missy Hartvigsen, Jan Shafer, and Allen Perez-Somarribas. For the first time this year, applicants are allowed to submit poems in any language--and a Spanish-language poem was one of the winners. The chosen poems describe the thriving recovery of a mulberry tree, an immigrant finding a home in Cambridge, the delight of eating an orange, waiting with the Buddha, and reading a poem imprinted into a sidewalk. The Sidewalk Poetry Contest is a collaborative project of the Department of Public Works, Cambridge Arts, and the Cambridge Public Library.



Dominic Killiany, a prolific artist living with autism, whose visionary paintings were reproduced as murals in the Louis A. DePasquale Universal Design Playground at Danehy Park, was featured in the exhibition “What I See” at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344, from May 1 through the fall.

Dominic Killiany, a prolific artist living with autism, whose visionary paintings were reproduced as murals in the Louis A. DePasquale Universal Design Playground at Danehy Park, was featured in the exhibition “What I See” at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344, from May 1 through the fall. "Killiany's original paintings now veritably burst off the walls," Cate McQuaid wrote in The Boston Globe in August. The paint is "luscious." "He expresses so much here..."



RootsUprising, led by choreographer Nailah Randall-Bellinger, danced at Graffiti Alley in Cambridge’s Central Square Cultural District in May as part of the Cambridge Arts’ inaugural Artist Residency Program.

RootsUprising, led by choreographer Nailah Randall-Bellinger, danced at Graffiti Alley in Cambridge’s Central Square Cultural District in May as part of the Cambridge Arts’ inaugural Artist Residency Program. The project focused on citizenship, belonging, identity, and joy here in Cambridge through dance, movement, poetry, spoken word, music, and film.



Craig Uram (left) and Tatiana Shannon of Cambridge Art's Summer Conservation And Maintenance Program restored a missing quote from Washington Allston, part of John Powell's 2007 public artwork "Dana Park Quotes," to Cambridge's Dana Park in May.

Craig Uram (left) and Tatiana Shannon of Cambridge Art's Summer Conservation And Maintenance Program restored a missing quote from Washington Allston, part of John Powell's 2007 public artwork "Dana Park Quotes," to Cambridge's Dana Park in May.



Fabiola Mendez and her band performed a free midday concert of Puerto Rican cuatro music at Jill Brown-Rhone Park in Cambridge’s Central Square Cultural District in May, in a program organized by Cambridge Arts and the Central Square Business Improvement District.

Fabiola Mendez and her band performed a free midday concert of Puerto Rican cuatro music at Jill Brown-Rhone Park in Cambridge’s Central Square Cultural District in May, in a program organized by Cambridge Arts and the Central Square Business Improvement District.



Artists-in-Residence RootsUprising, led by choreographer Nailah Randall-Bellinger, presented a choreographic, multimedia workshop and live dance performance at St. Augustine African Orthodox Christian Church and Jose Mateo Ballet Theater on June 4.

Artists-in-Residence RootsUprising, led by choreographer Nailah Randall-Bellinger, presented a choreographic, multimedia workshop and live dance performance at St. Augustine African Orthodox Christian Church and Jose Mateo Ballet Theater on June 4.





Cambridge Arts’ Conservation and Maintenance Program inspected, treated and cleaned some 220 public artworks across the city this spring and summer—to preserve the City's landmark collection of contemporary public art for the future



Local artists sold their creations at Cambridge Arts' Art Market at Harvard University's Farmer's Market, located on the Science Center Plaza in Harvard Square on the last Tuesday of each month from June 27 to Oct. 24.

Local artists sold their creations at Cambridge Arts' Art Market at Harvard University's Farmer's Market, located on the Science Center Plaza in Harvard Square on the last Tuesday of each month from June 27 to Oct. 24.



Global Voices Live performed at the Swedenborg Chapel in Cambridge’s Harvard Square in June, supported by a Cambridge Arts Local Cultural Council grant.

Global Voices Live performed at the Swedenborg Chapel in Cambridge’s Harvard Square in June, supported by a Cambridge Arts Local Cultural Council grant. The group celebrates Cambridge’s diversity and heritage through public cross-cultural music performances and workshops. Led by BIPOC/ LGBTQIA+ artist-collaborators borne from the acclaimed Silkroad Global Musician Workshop and local partnering artists/ ensembles, the performance provided “a space for our community to explore and share our roots, and spark meaningful conversations through music.” Learn more about all our grantees: https://www.cambridgema.gov/arts/Programs/Grants/grantrecipients1



The City of Cambridge issued 2.5 times more block party permits in 2023, growing from 37 in 2022 to 92 this year, after the City launched a $200 grant to support bock parties,

The City of Cambridge issued 2.5 times more block party permits in 2023, growing from 37 in 2022 to 92 this year, after the City launched a $200 grant to support bock parties, with funding from Cambridge Arts, the City’s Art & Cultural Planning program, the Community Development Department, and the Cambridge Public Health Department. The program, with support and advocacy from the City Council, also eliminated block party fees, simplified the permitting process, and increased access to free Play Streets pop-up party kits.



Receita de Samba performed a free Cambridge Arts Summer In The City concert of Brazilian music at Cambridge's Jill Brown-Rhone Park in the Central Square Cultural District on July 6.

Receita de Samba performed a free Cambridge Arts Summer In The City concert of Brazilian music at Cambridge's Jill Brown-Rhone Park in the Central Square Cultural District on July 6.



Inside the Cambridge Housing Authority's Millers River Apartments in July, Craig Uram (from left) and Oussama Ouadani of Cambridge Arts and conservator Greg Curci reinstalled mosaics created by Lilli Ann Rosenberg for the residences in 1979.

Inside the Cambridge Housing Authority's Millers River Apartments in July, Craig Uram (from left) and Oussama Ouadani of Cambridge Arts and conservator Greg Curci reinstalled mosaics created by Lilli Ann Rosenberg for the residences in 1979. After more than a year of restoration work, we finished reinstalling the refurbished public artworks inside and outside the apartment complex over the summer.



Mark Reigelman's “Edge of the Forest"--a 12-foot-tall steel sculpture of a deer, funded by the City's Percent-for-Art ordinance as part of improvements to Inman Square—was installed in Inman Square on July 18, adding a new landmark to the neighborhood.

Mark Reigelman's “Edge of the Forest"--a 12-foot-tall steel sculpture of a deer, funded by the City's Percent-for-Art ordinance as part of improvements to Inman Square—was installed in Inman Square on July 18, adding a new landmark to the neighborhood. The Brooklyn-based artist’s idea for the 3,500-pound deer—and its title—were inspired by the history of this recently reconstructed and improved intersection where Cambridge, Antrim and Hampshire (which becomes Beacon in Somerville) streets come together. Reigelman notes that before 1876 this area was largely referred to as Atwood’s Corner for James Atwood, who had a house at the intersection and ran Atwood Stand, a grocery store. “Atwood, a traditional surname for someone who lives ‘at the wood,’ marked an on-the-nose rendition for what would become a region that lay on the proverbial edge,” Reigelman says. “In the 1950’s, when local streetcar service was shut down leaving Inman Square ‘just a little bit out of the way,’ the community developed its roots as a hub for fringe movements, artists, and activists.”



Oussama Ouadani (left) and Craig Uram of Cambridge Arts restored and reinstalled Jay Coogan's dogs and cats sculptures at Cambridge’s King Open and Cambridge Street Upper School, Valente Branch Library, and Community Complex on July 24 and 25.

Oussama Ouadani (left) and Craig Uram of Cambridge Arts restored and reinstalled Jay Coogan's dogs and cats sculptures at Cambridge’s King Open and Cambridge Street Upper School, Valente Branch Library, and Community Complex on July 24 and 25. Find the painted aluminum sculptures at the playground outside the complex’s Frisoli Youth Center. The sculptures are part of a suite of five artworks created in 2005 that were restored and reinstalled at the King Open Complex when the redesigned and expanded facility opened in 2019. Play—especially skateboarding upon the sculptures—damaged the artworks and created sharp edges. So four of the five sculptures were removed to be restored. Broken welds were fixed, gouges repaired, and the sculptures were repainted. New sites were selected for the sculptures around the playground to better protect them, new concrete footings were poured, and the refurbished sculptures were anchored back in place.



Six design teams were selected in August to create innovative shade structures around Cambridge to address our warming world.

Past projects by (clockwise from top left) Carolina Aragon; DCVL+Maswood team; Gabriel Cira and Matthew Okazaki; Alejandro Saldarriaga; the MIRROR team; and Calvin Zhong and Justin Brazier.


Six design teams were selected in August to create innovative shade structures around Cambridge to address our warming world. The City of Cambridge’s “Shade Is Social Justice” program, overseen by Arts and Cultural Planning Director Claudia Zarazua and Cambridge Arts, will provide cooling and use the power of design to prompt imagination, community-building, and action to help the community adapt to global warming. Cambridge has budgeted $162,000 for six projects that are scheduled to be installed in 2024 and 2025 at Jill Brown-Rhone Park, Donnelly Field, Russell Field, and three additional locations across the city. Each approved project will receive a budget of approximately $27,000.



Artists-in-Residence RootsUprising, led by choreographer Nailah Randall-Bellinger, presented a choreographic, multimedia workshop and live dance performance at the Multicultural Arts Center on Aug. 12.

Artists-in-Residence RootsUprising, led by choreographer Nailah Randall-Bellinger, presented a choreographic, multimedia workshop and live dance performance at the Multicultural Arts Center on Aug. 12.



Hundreds watched as Bread & Puppet Theater gave a free performance of its “Heart of the Matter Circus” on Cambridge Common on Sept. 2, as part of the Cambridge Arts Summer In the City performance series.

Hundreds watched as Bread & Puppet Theater gave a free performance of its “Heart of the Matter Circus” on Cambridge Common on Sept. 2, as part of the Cambridge Arts Summer In the City performance series. The show, says Bread & Puppet co-founder Peter Schumann, is “in response to our totally unresurrected capitalist situation, not only the hundreds of thousands of unnecessarily sacrificed pandemic victims but our culture’s unwillingness to recognize Mother Earth’s revolt against our civilization. Since we earthlings do not live up to our earthling obligations, we need resurrection circuses to yell against our own stupidity.”



Cambridge Arts celebrated 50 years of hip-hop with “Hip-Hop After Work” at Jill Brown-Rhone Park in Central Square on Sept. 7. Imani Deal lead a dance cypher, DJ Nomadik spun (pictured), and The Bridgeside Cypher hosted a rap cypher.

Cambridge Arts celebrated 50 years of hip-hop with “Hip-Hop After Work” at Jill Brown-Rhone Park in Central Square on Sept. 7. Imani Deal lead a dance cypher, DJ Nomadik spun (pictured), and The Bridgeside Cypher hosted a rap cypher. The event was presented by CambridgeArts | Summer In The City in collaboration with the Central Square Business Improvement District.



More than 70 Cambridge artists showcased their creations at the annual Cambridge Arts Open Studios, which returned from its covid hiatus on Sept. 9 and 10.

More than 70 Cambridge artists showcased their creations at the annual Cambridge Arts Open Studios, which returned from its covid hiatus on Sept. 9 and 10.



Funded through the City of Cambridge’s Participatory Budgeting Process, three artists—Whitney Van Praagh, Alex Adamo and Kit Collins—created a new, community-inspired mural this fall on the retaining wall at Rindge Field along Pemberton Street between Haskell Street and Yerxa Road.

Funded through the City of Cambridge’s Participatory Budgeting Process, three artists—Whitney Van Praagh, Alex Adamo and Kit Collins—created a new, community-inspired mural this fall on the retaining wall at Rindge Field along Pemberton Street between Haskell Street and Yerxa Road. Work began during Labor Day weekend, with support from Cambridge Arts. Local schools, libraries, youth centers, after-school programs, and area residents helped paint the swirling green and blue composition. The effort concluded with a community celebration at the mural on Oct. 19.



More than 50 people participated in “How To Start Your Art Career” workshops from Cambridge Arts and the city's Community Development Department in October and November

More than 50 people participated in “How To Start Your Art Career” workshops from Cambridge Arts and the city's Community Development Department in October and November. The free, online workshops helped emerging artists with financial literacy, artistic identity, grant writing, marketing, advocacy, and wellness. Sign up for our upcoming professional development workshops that will be held in February 2024.



Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui (front row right) joined us at the Cambridge Arts Holiday Art Market at 650 East Kendall St., Cambridge, from Dec. 1 to 3.

Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui (front row right) joined us at the Cambridge Arts Holiday Art Market at 650 East Kendall St., Cambridge, from Dec. 1 to 3. Presented in partnership with BioMed Realty, more than two dozen artists showcased their paintings, soap, notecards, ornaments, jewelry, ceramics, stained glass and other creations.



Cambridge's Central Square Cultural District Wins $15,000 Investment Grant From Mass Cultural Council.

Cambridge's Central Square Cultural District Wins $15,000 Investment Grant From Mass Cultural Council. The grant is part of $810,000 in new funding from the state agency to 54 state-designated cultural districts located all across the Commonwealth. The grants encourage the development and success of the cultural districts and foster local cultural preservation.



Explore public art in Cambridge with our new, online Public Art Map

Explore Public Art In Cambridge Via Our Online Map

Explore public art in Cambridge with our new, online Public Art Map. Find more than 280 contemporary artworks in every neighborhood of the city by location, artist, theme or media via your computer or your phone: cambridgema.gov/publicartmap.