Official websites use

A website belongs to an official government organization in the City of Boston.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Last updated:

Jamaica Plain Branch / BCYF Curtis Hall public art project

This project was completed in November 2021.

This public art project complements renovations made to the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library.

Project details

Project Context

The $10 million renovation of the Jamaica Plain Branch included:

  • a 700-square foot addition facing South Street that will serve as a community reading lounge
  • a terrace along Sedgwick Street where residents can read and mingle
  • a refreshed collection of 30,000 books
  • an elevator for full ADA accessibility
  • parking for over 20 bikes, and
  • new exterior landscaping.

The budget for this public art project was $200,000. The lawn in front of the library and BCYF Curtis Hall (facing South Street) and the elevated planter in front of the new entrance outside were identified as the two potential sites for the project.

Community Values

The City of Boston’s cultural plan, Boston Creates, calls for public art that embraces a neighborhood's identity and adds to a strong sense of place. We identified important themes for the artist to consider after based on community feedback:

  • the ethnic and racial diversity of the neighborhood, and its intergenerational character, the presence of small businesses, and access to green open space
  • a strong sense of civic and social engagement
  • a community of artists and creators
  • the balance between old and new
  • the need to retain a sense of neighborhood identity and celebrate the many communities that have contributed to the area
  • artwork that is functional in some way, or interactive in a way that complements current community functions, and
  • artwork that responds to the campus-like context of the space.

About the artist

Matthew Hinçman was selected as the artist for the Jamaica Plain library public art project. He is a professor of sculpture at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Hinçman is also chair of the Fine Arts 3D Program. He currently serves on the board of the Boston-based nonprofit Now+There. 

Hinçman is a sculptor and educator living in Jamaica Plain. He's best known for "Jamaica Pond Bench, 2006," and "STILL, 2014," both located in Jamaica Plain. His pieces are generally found in public places.

Image for matthew hinçman

Project Summary

This narrative was written by artist Matthew Hinçman.

The lawn at the municipal campus that includes the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library and the BCYF Curtis Hall Community Center has been altered with a sculptural intervention. A series of low brick walls now zig-zag across the lawn on an approximate north-south axis. Some of the walls are capped with brightly colored glazed bricks, while others are more conventionally capped with slabs of granite. Separate from the walls, five chairs inhabit the lawn. The chairs take their form from ubiquitous aluminum tube, vinyl webbed folding chairs found in millions of backyards and lawns. Yet these chairs are constructed of bronze - sculptures of chairs - immortalizing this very familiar, close-to-home piece of furniture. 

Passersby are welcomed into the site via the newly created gate off the South Street sidewalk, where a section of the 150’ iron fence and granite curb has been removed. 

This sculptural intervention provides audiences with a myriad of ways to engage with the work, and resists a didactic and/or singular interpretation. A refined level of craft and material use coupled with the ubiquity of the forms afford viewers multiple vantage points with which to enter into dialogue with the work, and to construct meaning and or narratives. Themes of history, community, and monuments may inform a viewer's interpretation. 

  • Wythe: A wythe is a continuous vertical section of masonry one unit in thickness. A wythe may be independent of, or interlocked with, the adjoining wythe(s). 
  • Web: A web is something formed by or as if by weaving or interweaving; an intricate set or pattern of circumstances, facts, etc.
Watch: Matthew Hinçman Artist Talk
Back to top