Calls for Art

Current Calls for Public Art:

Harvard Square, 1983.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: June 15, 2020, 5 p.m. EST

GET PAID: $9,000

Would you like to create a monumental (printed) mural for Cambridge’s Harvard Square? We invite you to submit images of past work and biographical information to be considered. See details below. (No proposals at this time.)

Cambridge Arts is looking for an artist (or artist team) to create a design for several hundred feet of vinyl construction scrim that will surround Harvard Square’s Out of Town News Plaza as it is reconstructed over the next couple of years.

The plaza is a highly visible triangular open space bordered on two sides by Massachusetts Avenue and on the south side by a sidewalk connecting JFK Street and Brattle Street with Dunster Street.

To protect pedestrians and workers, the work zones of the construction site will be marked by chain link fencing. To beautify the site, the City of Cambridge will cover the fencing with a series of vinyl scrim panels, printed with the commissioned artwork. The City is looking for an artist to create a mural that is responsive to the vibrant character of Harvard Square and provides an uplifting moment in the heart of the City for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers passing by.

The design will need to be visually impactful for pedestrians viewing it up close as well as for those viewing it from a distance. The fencing system will be modular and will be arranged in different configurations over the course of construction, so the design will also need to be modular. The selected artist will need to convert their design into digital files suitable for scrim fabrication.

BUDGET: The artist fee for this public art project is $9,000. This is a design fee only. The City will pay for fabrication and installation.

TIMELINE: One artist will be selected in June 2020. Preference will be given for artists based in Cambridge or the surrounding region. The selected artist will develop a design in partnership with City staff and stakeholders and will provide design files that will be used to integrate the final imagery into the fabrication of the scrims. Subject to COVID-19 guidelines, the scrim will be installed early fall of 2020.


Submit images of past work and biographical information at

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 the Harvard Square Plaza scrim project as well as for future public art commissions administered by the City of Cambridge.

If you are already in the registry, you must send an email noting your interest in this project to Hilary Zelson, Public Art Administrator:

For technical support using Slideroom, please e-mail For other questions, please contact Hilary Zelson at or 617-349-4388.

Closed Calls for Public Art:

Button saying "Votes for Women"

CALL TO ARTISTS: Request for Qualifications

City of Cambridge Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Public Art Project

The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

The City of Cambridge invites artists to submit qualifications for a $300,000 public art commission to commemorate the passage, in August 1920, of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which granted women the right to vote and resulted in the largest one-time addition to the American electorate, yet also left most women of color without access to the ballot box. A successful project will acknowledge the amendment’s complex history, its ongoing work in the shaping of American democracy, and the role of Cambridge women in the women’s suffrage movement.

Cambridge Arts, the official arts agency for the city, is managing the artist selection process. To be considered for this commission, submit your qualifications online to the Cambridge Arts artist registry by 5:00 p.m., September 30, 2019. Details below.

The Cambridge Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Committee, under the direction of the Cambridge City Council, was established in spring of 2019 with the purpose of guiding the process for this important project.

From the Request for Qualifications (RFQ), three or four finalists will be selected by the Art Jury and paid to develop concept proposals for a permanent installation based on criteria and guidelines established by the Committee and in consultation with city staff. All finalists’ proposals will be displayed for a period of public feedback. Final selection of one proposal will be made by a selection committee of stakeholders based on the finalists’ in-person presentations and interviews. The City will announce the selected proposal at a centennial celebration in August 2020, after which implementation of the selected proposal will begin.

The City is seeking qualifications from artists with demonstrated public art experience. The $300,000 commission must cover all services from detailed design development through final installation/implementation, including but not limited to artist fee, travel, community meetings, research, engineering, fabrication, insurance, transportation, installation, and coordination with consultants and City staff.

Massachusetts was at the forefront of the fight for women’s suffrage, with the first National Women’s Rights Convention held in Worcester in 1850. Cambridge women of all backgrounds petitioned, organized, marched, campaigned, and persisted throughout the decades of the movement. Their efforts over three generations were animated by high passions and embedded with paradoxes which have carried forward to this day. The passage of the Nineteenth Amendment did not end the national struggle for full and equitable enfranchisement, due to racist citizenship laws as well as organized disenfranchisement laws and activities, but it was an important step along the way.

The City of Cambridge seeks qualifications from artists who not only can speak to the importance of this complicated history as it played out in the lives of Cambridge women, but who also can create a public artwork that acknowledges the unfinished business of voting rights and engages the visitor in the ideas propelling the movement forward. We encourage artists who are interested in creating an innovative and socially engaged interpretation of history through a contemporary lens.

The site for the project will be determined by the Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Committee and will be confirmed for the 3-4 finalists selected from the RFQ process. Potential sites are all outdoor public open spaces and include:

1. Tubman Square (bounded by Kinnaird, River, and Pleasant Streets)
2. Joan Lorentz Park (an area in front of the Main Cambridge Public Library at 449 Broadway)
3. Cambridge Common (bounded by Massachusetts Avenue, Garden Street, and Waterhouse Street)
1. Artists submit qualifications in the form of images of previous work and biographical information through the Slideroom online platform (see below).
2. The Art Jury selects 3-4 finalists.
3. Finalists meet in Cambridge for a site visit and community meeting.
4. Finalists develop proposals, including meetings with city staff and stakeholders; each finalist is paid $2,000 for their proposal.
5. All proposals are displayed for viewing and gathering feedback from the public.
6. Finalists present proposals in person to the Selection Committee, which will select one artist/team to be awarded the commission.
September 30, 2019...Deadline for submissions of qualifications
Early November 2019...Finalists selected
November 2019 - March 2020...Proposal Development
March 2020...Final proposals due
April - May 2020...Proposals displayed; public feedback
June 2020...Final Selection of one proposal
August 2020...Public announcement of proposal
Submit images of past work and biographical information at 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 the Nineteenth Amendment Centennial project as well as for future public art commissions administered by the City of Cambridge. If you are already in the registry, we recommend that you update your images and information. If you would like to submit updates, please email Lillian Hsu, Director of Public Art and Exhibitions, to access your profile: For technical support using Slideroom, please e-mail For other questions, please contact Lillian Hsu, at or 617-349-4389.
More information about the Nineteenth Amendment Centennial project can be found on the website:

Cambridge Arts is a city agency that funds, promotes, and presents high-quality, communitybased arts programs for the benefit of artists, residents, and visitors in Cambridge. Active since 1974, Cambridge Arts is one of the most dynamic local arts agencies in the country. As a public nonprofit, Cambridge Arts receives funding from local government, private foundations, corporate sponsors and individual donors. Cambridge Arts exists to ensure that the arts remain vital for all people living, working and visiting in Cambridge.

Cambridge Arts embraces a vision that welcomes and supports everyone. Believing that a multiplicity of perspectives is essential to a strong society, we are committed, both in our policies and practices, to building participation in and awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the arts and all cultures. In our ongoing work to address cultural and historical inequities, we strive to be a community anchor that reflects the entire Cambridge community and expands access, opportunities, and inclusion in every form of creative expression. We value diverse voices and people of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, abilities, gender identities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic situations, religions, citizenship statuses, and family configurations.

Connect with Cambridge Arts -
617-349-4380 or TTY/617-349-4621