Past Public Art Exhibits PDF Print E-mail

Chanel Thervil
Emergence: What does hope look like?
July 21–October 16, 2016
BCA Plaza

Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) is pleased to announce that Boston-based artist Chanel Thervil has been selected as the Public Artist Resident for BCA’s summer 2016 Public Art Residency, to realize her project Emergence: What does hope look like?—a participatory temporary public art project that explores notions of aspiration and optimism. The project includes several public conversations as well as the creation of a sculpture that will be located on the BCA’s public plaza from July 21 through October 16 2016. This is the fourth consecutive year of the BCA’s juried summer temporary public art residency, which gives artists the opportunity to engage the public on the BCA plaza through art during the summer and fall months.

Image credit: Chanel Thervil
Image credit: Chanel Thervil

Thervil’s project is envisioned as a communal tree of hope, built based on direct community input. Thervil is an educator as well as an artist, and her experience with engaging the public around art is a key component of this project. She will be creating a sculpture that takes the form of a tree, with a central core that will be embellished with colorful leaf and branch forms. The sculpture will grow and evolve over the course of the summer based on a series of community conversations. Starting in June 2016, Thervil will be inviting passersby on the BCA Plaza to reflect on the question, “What does hope look like to you?”, in order to contribute to the process of bringing Emergence to life and watch it grow on the plaza over the course of several months.

Follow Thervil's process on her blog about the project.

About the Artist:

Chanel Thervil is a Haitian American artist and educator obsessed with contemporary art, pop culture, and corny jokes. She creates mixed media artwork that explores the relationship between the multiplicity of individual identity while simultaneously existing as a part of a larger community. Overall, she is fueled to create by the need to generate positivity and uplift in spite of uncertainty. She has exhibited her work and taught art in public schools, galleries, and museum settings in New York City and Boston. In addition to her work with sparc! the ArtMobile at MassArt’s Center for Art and Community Partnerships, she currently serves as the Community Outreach Coordinator and Visual Arts Teaching Artist at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

Public Programs: Free and Open to the Public

All public programs take place on the BCA Plaza, outside the garden at 539 Tremont Street

SHARE SOME HOPE: Community Survey
What does hope look like to you? Come out to the BCA plaza to make written and visual responses to this question with BCA's public art resident Chanel Thervil. Your responses will be integrated into the design for a public art sculpture to be unveiled on July 21!

Friday June 10 | 5–8pm
Sunday June 12 | Noon–3pm
Additional dates to be announced

EMERGENCE: What does hope look like?
Opening Reception and Community Creativity

Thursday July 21 | 6–8pm

Read about Emergence: What does hope look like? in Boston Magazine, and read an interview with Thervil about her process in What's on Their Mind?, part of BCA's bimonthly newsletter.

BCA 2016–2017 Artist Residency Program: Focus on Public Engagement

The Artist Residency Program at the BCA provides studio space for three artists during the 2016–2017 season: a Public Artist Resident from June through August 2016, and Artist Residencies during September–December 2016 and January–May 2017. These process-oriented residencies are intended to provide an environment where artists can experiment with their craft, develop their focus or test new ideas and simultaneously engage in vital public dialogue. Artists are selected through an annual, juried Open Call process. Full details about our call for the 2017–2018 season will be posted on the BCA’s website and publicized throughout the area in early Fall 2016.

The BCA’s Artist Residency Program puts special emphasis on artist projects that engage the public in direct and innovative ways, through collaborative activities, participatory public installations, performance, intervention or other imaginative activation. Whether their practice is studio-, street-, or performance-based, artists are invited to use this opportunity to explore art that has public interaction and participation as significant elements.

Program Overview

The Public Art Residency at Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) provides an annual opportunity for an artist or artist team to activate the public BCA Plaza with interactive, temporary public art. It is a twelve-week, process-oriented residency, selected through a juried, open call process. The residency provides an environment for artists to experiment with their craft, develop their focus or test new ideas while simultaneously engaging in active public dialogue.

The residency is awarded to one artist (or artist team) per year to create a temporary public artwork for the BCA’s historic plaza that highlights the BCA as an artistic hub. The program encourages artists to connect to the public not only by way of the completed, temporary artwork, but also throughout the process of developing and realizing their residency project. It is an ideal opportunity for emerging or experienced artists who would like to further develop a piece that engages a variety of audiences and adds to the arts experience of the BCA campus.

Deadline for submission for proposals for Summer 2016 Residency closed on February 21, 2016. Summer 2016 jurors: Camilø Álvårez, Owner/Director/Curator/ Preparator, Samsøñ, Boston, MA; Maggie Cavallo, Curator, Educator and Co-Founder of Alter Projects; and Meg Rotzel, Arts Program Manager at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. View our recently closed call for submissions here.

Project support:

Eastern Bank

inmotion banner

Boston Center for the Arts is pleased to announce that artist Amy Archambault has been selected as the BCA Summer 2015 Public Art Resident.  During her ten-week residency, Archambault will create inMotion: Memories of Invented Play, a large-scale, interactive structure that invites participants to uncommonly explore one of the most ubiquitous learned activities – riding a bicycle.

Featuring a four-section interactive structure fabricated from construction materials, athletic equipment, bicycles and additional accessories, inMotion fuses together the ideas and visual dialogues rooted in childhood play, group exercise, constructed place/landscape, and the body as an extension of space.

Each section of the artwork is designed to promote a diverse offering of activities and experiences from pedaling apparatus, cycling stations, resting areas, and wheel turning mechanisms that generate natural sounds reminiscent of the classic playing cards laced into rear wheels and spokes beads. In creating a safe, interactive, vibrant and visually complex installation that encourages multiple levels of engagement, Archambault aims to enliven the BCA’s thriving plaza while exploring imagination, memory and the relationship between functionality, design and play.


Related Public Programs:

Opening Reception
Thursday, July 23 | 6-8 pm

Zen and the Art of Fixing Your Bike: Youth Version
All Ages Bike Mechanic's Workshop (especially recommended for ages 7-12)
Wednesday, September 9 | 4:30-5:30 pm
BCA Plaza

Bicycle Jam
Closing celebration with games and a hands-on bike workshop
Saturday, October 17 | 1-3 pm
Mills Gallery and BCA Plaza

About the Artist:

Amy Archambault received her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, PA and BA from the College of the Holy Cross, MA. Archambault's large-scale installations, sculptures and inspective mixed media drawings uncover playful and unconventional activations of sites and structures that are seemingly void of human intervention. Her complex and energetic installations incorporate both the material and the visual languages of athletic culture, childhood play and the "home improvement" / constructive domain. Recipient of the 2013 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship Grant (Sculpture / Installation), and member of the Boston Sculptors Gallery, MA, Archambault has exhibited her work throughout the Northeast.

Archambault will participate in the "Isles Arts Initiative" (Summer 2015) on Georges Island (Boston Harbor Islands), Boston, MA. Her installation “Futile Ascent” was recently featured in a group exhibition at the GRIN Providence. Archambault was featured in Pulse Magazine for its “Up & Coming Local Artists” outlook in Central Massachusetts, 2012. She is currently Studio Supervisor and Lecturer at the College of the Holy Cross, MA.
Special thanks to New England Foundation for the Arts and to Landry's Bicycles, Galen Mook (Marketing & Advocacy, Landry's Bicycles), Elias Moe (Fabrication, Slaughterhouse Bikes) and Shrewsbury Lumber for their collaboration and efforts towards building a strong foundation and making the wheels turn.


Image credit: Amy Archambault


Project support:

nefa logoeastern bank logo

Funded in part by the Fund for the Arts, a public art program of the New England Foundation for the Arts.

We are grateful to the Joan Mitchell Foundation for their support.

bounce horizontal

Bounce by Liz Nofziger

Boston Center for the Arts Plaza

July 24 – October 15, 2014

BCA Artist Resident Liz Nofziger brings free community ping pong to the BCA Plaza this summer with Bounce, a colorful, interactive outdoor installation made up of three conjoined, regulation-sized ping pong tables, custom-engineered to form an oversized Community Ping Pong Court. This unique configuration, which opens to the public on July 24th and remains active on the Plaza through October 15th, encourages participants - from the proficient to the amateur - to try their skills, make new friends and make up their own rules. All are encouraged to stop and play - paddles and balls will be available at no charge around the clock. Each bounce of the ball will be captured by microphone and amplified, processed and played back in real time, adding another element of recreation to the work.

Read the full press release


bounce ping pong tableAre you up for a little friendly competition? Do you have a killer serve? Do you want to break out of your cubicle for some fun with your colleagues?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then sign up for the Bounce Company Tournament!

Friday, September 12
5:30-7:30 pm

The Company Tournament will pit teams of three against one another in a knockout tournament using standard table tennis rules.

Companies are invited to register in teams of three, with up to three teams per company.

Cheering sections are encouraged, as are displays of team spirit such as T-shirts, sweatbands, mascots and signs!


Two final Bounce tournaments announced:

Tuesday, September 16 | 6pm
BCA Plaza
Free and Open to the Public
Please come by for our Grand Finale Tournament, on Thursday, Oct 9, 7-8:30 pm, to enjoy this installation before it comes down on Oct 15.


Thursday, October 9 | 7pm
BCA Plaza
Free and Open to the Public


Informal ping pong tournaments on the BCA Plaza in conjunction with BCA summer 2014 Public Art Resident Liz Nofziger’s Bounce, a public art installation on view through October 15. All skill levels welcome!

IMAGE: Melissa Blackall Photography


We are grateful to the Joan Mitchell Foundation for its support.

nefa logoFunded by Fund for the Arts, a public art program of the New England Foundation for the Arts

eastern bank logo

kettler logoThis project is made possible in part by the generous support of KETTLER® International, Inc.



Culture Tap

by New American Public Art

August 30 - October 18, 2013

Culture Tap is a pair of interactive kiosks that celebrate the South End’s culture and history, activated by a Charlie Card (no charge required). Created by Dan Sternof Beyer and Bevan Weissman, members of the artist collective New American Public Art, the kiosks integrate audio clips of oral tradition, data collection and environmental lighting for a holistic approach to placemaking, quantitative metrics and local Boston pride. Since each Charlie Card has a unique RFID number (radio-frequency identification), different cards play different stories and activate different lighting combinations at each kiosk.

public art residency

Stories by Day: Swiping a Charlie Card during daylight hours plays an audio story relevant to the locality—a historical anecdote, a tale of a man who met his wife at the nearby bus stop, or any number of diverse community-based oral histories depending on the specific RFID number.

Lights By Night: After sunset a Charlie Card swipe activates environmental lighting near the kiosk, which may illuminate the surrounding architecture, foliage, or sidewalk. Swipes with different cards change the target or the color of the lights, depending on the specific RFID number.

Culture Tap is made possible through the generous support of Eastern Bank, Brewery Ommegang, the Boston Cultural Council and the Joan Mitchell Foundation, with special thanks to the Boston Art Commission.

Read about Culture Tap in this Boston Magazine feature

Watch a video of Culture Tap in action

Listen to audio interviews collected by Dan Sternof Beyer and Bevan Weissman for Culture Tap.


jeanne williamson fence curtainFence/Curtain 2.0

by Jeanne Williamson

July 13 - October 14, 2012


Massachusetts-based artist Jeanne Williamson combines the spontaneous energy of yarnbombing with a painter's eye for detail in her large-scale fabric installations. Using the BCA Plaza Garden as a backdrop, Jeanne's Fence/Curtain 2.0 will be on view through October.


Image: Jeanne Williamson, Fence/Curtain 2.0 digital model



Occupy 539

by artist Philippe Lejeune and
architects Tim Severo and Andrew Adamopolous, in collaboration with artist Matthew Cleary

Summer 2011

occupy539-23 web     occupy539-7 web

Architects Tim Severo and Andrew Adamopolous collaborated with artist Matthew Cleary to create a large-scale painting visitors walk into. The wooden arched structure comprised of painted Plexiglas panels invites passersby to step inside. The translucent artwork transforms depending on various angles and perspectives of the viewer.

Artist Philippe Lejeune designed a sculpture to be used as a stage for public performance. A wooden platform supporting a frame with double-sided mirrors and safety-glass alters the viewer's perception. Visitors' reflections become equally blended with the reflection on the opposite side of the glass. The stage's illusion provides a mesmerizing and contemplative effect for the general public. Other artists, including dancers and street performers, can manipulate this public art in many ways.



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