Esplanade Association Seeking Submissions for Four New Murals on Electrical Boxes Along the Park

The Esplanade Association (EA) has issued a call for artists to submit their proposals for four new murals on electrical boxes along the park.

Through this public art opportunity, which EA is sponsoring in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Volunteers Incorporating Black Excellence, Inc. (VIBE),  a self-described “nonprofit organization dedicated to creating volunteering experiences for volunteers who identify with the African Diaspora,”  four qualified artists are being sought to design and install murals on four electric boxes on multi-use pathways on the western end of the park, directly behind Boston University and located between the BU and Massachusetts Avenue bridges. The murals are expected to go up in May, and to remain in place for a period of up to three years. EA is accepting Statement of Interest from interested artists until Jan. 21, and the four winners will be notified by Feb. 4, with each receiving a $500 stipend “to recognize their time, artistry, and contribution to the Esplanade,” according to Alison McRae, the organization’s director of projects and planning.

A Fenway Community Benefits grant from the Boston Planning and Development Agency is making the project possible, said McRae, who describes the Electrical Box Murals as a “great addition to the Esplanade Association’s public art portfolio,” which also includes four murals, all painted by female artists.

“Patterned Behavior” by Silvia López Chavez, commissioned by EA and curated and produced by the Boston-based nonprofit arts organization, Now + There, was installed in 2017 in the area of the park just west of the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge, where it remains after receiving several permit extensions from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

The other murals were painted on three pump-houses in the park in 2019 and have three-year permits, which have yet to expire.

“They have been really successful at reducing graffiti and enlivening some great spaces in the park,” said McRae.

Between the murals and “Hatched: Breaking through the Silence” – an original multi-media performance to mark the Esplanade Association’s 20th anniversary that had multiple showings every night between Jan. 22 and Feb. 22 of last year at the DCR Hatch Shell – McRae said EA’s public-art initiative has “really highlighted local artist and sparked joy and inspiration.”

The Electrical Box Mural project also provides another opportunity for EA to partner with VIBE.

EA provided support to VIBE for the Electrical Box Murals project last year by sharing information with them, said McRae, and VIBE has also previously partnered with the EA’s programming and horticultural teams to paint benches on volunteer days in the park.

“We’re really excited to work with VIBE after they’ve done so much to support the Esplanade,” said McRae. “We’re so grateful to DCR and VIBE for this project.”

Artists can submit their Statements of Interest for the EA’s Electrical Box Mural project by Jan. 21 at https://esplanade.org/rfp.

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