Now + There planning Boston art triennial for 2025 debut

Imagine a Boston art triennial. Hundreds of public art installations, cultural experiences, and interdisciplinary programs and performances taking place in all neighborhoods of Boston from May to October, entertaining and challenging residents and visitors to see the city from new perspectives. That is the vision of Now + There, Boston’s public art curating organization, for the first city-wide public art Triennial, an event that will happen every three years and bring in hundreds of thousands of tourists and cultural enthusiasts, beginning in 2025.

“Only a handful of cities in the US have the audacity, courage, and support to host a public art triennial, and we’re excited to steward this first for Boston. Boston is increasingly more inclusive and welcoming, with an international workforce, strong BIPOC leaders and organizations, and progressive shifts in civic administration, the time is right to highlight who we are and what we can become,” Kate Gilbert, Now + There’s Executive Director, said. “The concentrated exhibition schedule creates a sense of urgency and leverages lasting change – racially, socially, and culturally – to transform Boston using compelling art.”

Boston’s Chief of Arts and Culture Kara Elliott-Ortega says public art is necessary for bringing people into the city, instilling civic pride, and stimulating the economic engine of the city.

“A Triennial will be a message to ourselves and the world beyond that public art matters,” Elliott-Ortega said. “Public art motivates deeper understanding, greater connection, and creates a sense of possibility. The Triennial will accelerate our efforts to activate our public spaces, making it clear that civic dialog and culture are available to everyone and a part of our identity as a city.

“The City of Boston is excited to support Now + There’s public art Triennial and to be a partner in planning and implementing this ambitious cultural vision. A cultural experience at this scale will bring that sense of possibility, joy, and civic dialog to the entire city.” 

The Boston art Triennial’s hundreds of compelling, life-affirming free public art and cultural experiences would be anchored around 15 bold new artworks commissioned by a team of curators under a cohesive theme rooted in timely issues such as climate change, social movements, and economic justice. The goal: spark imagination, foster inclusivity, and amplify overlooked stories in Boston’s colonial narrative.

Across the United States, there are only a handful of Triennial events with more well-known in Europe so Boston’s Triennial will attract scores of visitors across the region while bringing together local and international artists, curators, writers, producers, and many nonprofits and cultural organizations in an exploration of Boston’s iconic sites, neighborhood hubs, and green spaces.

Now + There has already raised more than $1 million from the Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation and $500,000 from an anonymous donor to create the Boston art Triennial. Their support builds on long-committed Now + There donors to the Accelerator Program including Joyce Linde and Jim and Audrey Foster, and contributors to Now +There’s general operations including the Barr Foundation, Wagner Foundation, and Klarman Foundation.

Dedicated advisory boards will help guide and consult for the Triennial. Locations for the art will be as diverse as Boston’s 23 neighborhoods. Now + There has begun conversations with the major art museums, galleries, and cultural organizations to gauge their interest.

Artists will be selected for the Boston art Triennial based on artistic merit with a commitment to increasing equitable opportunities for artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC). All will be paid a living wage to participate in the events.

ABOUT NOW + THERE

Now + There (N+T) is a non-profit public art curator changing the landscape with temporary and site-specific public artworks. Through its curatorial efforts, N+T is transforming Boston into a public art city by creating a portfolio of projects that supports artistic risk-taking, community dialogue, and cultural change. Fostering artists of many diverse backgrounds and inspiring the public to create bold art experiences that open minds, conversations, and spaces across Boston is the organization’s goal, resulting in a more open, equitable, and vibrant city. (www.nowandthere.org).

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