Public Art Public Places

Public Trust, 2016 by Paul Ramirez Jonas at Copley Square commissioned by Now + There. Photo: Ryan C. McMahon
Public Trust, 2016 by Paul Ramirez Jonas at Copley Square commissioned by Now + There. Photo: Ryan C. McMahon
Public Art Public Places


Arts & Culture Discussion Series

Cross-sector convenings and communities of practice for planners, artists, culture bearers, and community leaders.

Since 2017, MAPC’s Arts & Culture Department has partnered with the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) to organize a series of discussions designed to broaden the understanding of how art can contribute to planning work, and provide new entry points for planners, artists, and cultural practitioners to work together on planning and community development projects. The series aims to:

    • Share key concepts and practices that are used in public art initiatives to improve arts and culture literacy and bridge the gaps between funders, artists, and planners.
    • Facilitate connections between planners and creative practitioners who have the skills to contribute to municipal planning and community development projects.
    • Build cohesion among artists, arts administrators, and municipal planners, and seed cross-sector relationships that can advance creative community development in Metropolitan Boston.

The series launched in 2017 under the direction of Carolyn Lewenberg, MAPC’s first Artist-In-Residence, with a focus on innovative approaches to planning challenges that emerge from artist leadership. The series is continuing under the direction of Emma Boast, MAPC Arts and Culture Fellow, with a focus on public art and public history as vehicles for social change.

Sign up for our Arts and Culture mailing list to receive announcements about future events in the series.

El Anatsui, Sculpture (Detail), Jack Shainman Gallery/The Armory Show, 2010. Photo: See-ming Lee via Flickr Creative Commons.

2020 | No Longer Normal: Reimagining public life in a pandemic

Michael Najjar, The Invisible City, Still from video of four cities (New York, Hong Kong, Dubai, and Mexico City) projected on a music venue in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 2009. Photo: cea+ via Flickr Creative Commons.

How are people creating and sustaining spaces for gathering and public-making in these times? What lessons can we learn from this moment as we consider the future of public spaces and civic infrastructure? And how might we foster values and practices that can sustain more inclusive, equitable, and vibrant public life, both physical and virtual?

In the wake of COVID-19, the physical distancing measures that are needed to keep people safe have upended the cultural sector and public life. Across the country, parks, sidewalks, concert halls, and museums lie empty as hospitals and homeless shelters fill up. While the long-term consequences remain uncertain, it is clear that the pandemic has transformed our lives.

This spring, the Arts & Culture Department will be launching a new series of virtual convenings and digital content for local, state and regional government staff, artists, culture bearers, and community leaders to reflect on the shifting meaning and nature of public life. These discussions will offer an imaginative space for participants to share knowledge and shape new ideas about public-making as our region looks toward recovery, reentry, rebuilding, and remembering.

Through these discussions, we hope to foster new ideas that can inform cultural policy and planning, and create the conditions for a stronger, more collaborative arts and cultural sector grounded in principles of racial, social, and cultural equity. Join us in reimagining.

Past Events

The inaugural 2017-2018 series was curated and facilitated by MAPC’s first Artist-In-Residence, Carolyn Lewenberg, and highlighted the role that artists can play in generating solutions to complex challenges in planning and community development.

New England Foundation for the Arts

The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation. NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to networks and knowledge-building opportunities; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Learn more at

Stay Tuned

Sign up for our Arts & Culture mailing list to receive announcements about future events in the series.


For more information, please contact Emma Boast, Arts & Culture Fellow, at