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Copley Square Park Public Art Projects

We're commissioning artists to create poetry, light projections, ground plane interventions, and a small sculpture series that honor community solidarity, empathy, and acknowledgment of loss.

This project is currently in the artist selection phase. 

Project Details

Project Context

Copley Square Park is currently undergoing a major redesign effort. Many of the existing park program areas will be part of the new design which includes:

  • a revitalized fountain

  • new lawn areas

  • a spacious plaza

  • lush gardens, and

  • a new raised platform allowing people to gather among the existing trees and enjoy different views of the park.

The scope of this public art project includes:

  • poetry (a total budget of $5,000 each for up to three poets)

  • pavers and walkways (a total budget of $75,000)

  • light projections (a total budget of $100,000), and

  • a small sculpture series (a total budget of $150,000).

Project Theme

We're commissioning artworks that help create a welcoming space for communal gathering at Copley Square Park. The artworks will express communal solidarity in response to violence. They will also focus on the experience of people across all neighborhoods of Boston.

Community solidarity, empathy, and acknowledgement of loss from violence emerged as the themes for this project. The Call to Artists stemmed from the One Boston Resilience Project in 2018 and 2019.


This international Call to Artists was open to all practicing visual artists and poets who are at least 18 years old. There was a strong preference for artists and poets with experience working on projects related to the themes of anti-violence, resilience, and empathy. 

Copley Square revitalization rendering
Photo of Copley Square Park, courtesy of Sasaki.

Copley Square revitalization rendering
Copley Square revitalization renderings, courtesy of Sasaki


Copley Square revitalization rendering

One Boston Resilience Project

The One Boston Resilience Project (OBRP) was a citywide community engagement process to envision our collective strength after violence, as illuminated by the Boston Marathon bombings.

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture led OBRP with:

  • Archipelago Strategies Group

  • Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, and

  • a mayoral-appointed advisory committee of survivors, advocates, and healers of Boston.

This four-month-long community engagement process began in 2018 and included:

  • listening sessions in Back Bay, Jamaica Plain, East Boston, and Dorchester
  • open community meetings
  • digital outreach
  • creative and participatory activities in several languages, and
  • an online survey.
The Organizers

The Mayor's Office of Arts & Culture led the OBRP process with Archipelago Strategies Group. A mayoral-appointed Advisory Committee, which included members of the broad survivor community, advocates, and healers of Boston, informed the engagement process.

Tina Cherry, founder of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, facilitated meetings of the Advisory Committee. Cher Krause Knight, professor of Art History at Emerson College, served as public art research advisor for the project. 

The findings

Through the OBRP process, the City considered ways to recognize the impact of violence and loss in our lives. We examined how we build resilience, not just as individuals, but as a community. We learned that residents want an artwork to be a welcoming space for communal gathering and a space for individual reflection and contemplation. They want artwork that incorporates trees and green space. They also want artwork that evokes empathy, unity, and acknowledgement of loss. We concluded that we need artworks to humanize public space for welcoming gatherings and reflection.

Read the OBRP Report

Participant at community scrabble station during One Boston Resilience Project listening session.

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