For over two decades the residents of East Boston have awaited the construction of a new police station at the City Yards across from American Legion Playground. The new police station will eventually include an ambulance bay and community soccer field and funds for the project were officially earmarked in Mayor Martin Walsh’s Five Year Capital Budget.
A sign that the new police station is quickly becoming a reality is the Mayor’s recent call to artists to create a permanent piece of public art that complements a new police station in Eastie.
Mayor Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Art Commission and Boston Police Department, made the announcement last week and the installation will be funded through Walsh’s Imagine Boston 2030 Capital Plan.
“Incorporating public art into the construction of this new police station is exciting because it gives us the opportunity to make the building more welcoming, approachable, and reflective of the rich culture in East Boston,” said Walsh. “Through the Percent for Art program, we will continue to make more public art available for people to enjoy all across the City of Boston.”
Over the next five years the city will spend $29 million to design and construct the long-awaited new police station at the City Yards.
The building’s design will work to create a more efficient and better station for police and replace the aging District A-7 station on Meridian Street near Maverick Square. The station will be roughly 27,000 sq. ft. with an entrance on the corner of Condor and Trenton Streets. There will be parking in the rear of the station for 50 vehicles and the building will be LEAD Silver Certified.
According to city officials, the public art will be placed on the future new Area A-7 Police Station in East Boston with the aim of creating a new public building that is welcoming to the community, while having a civic presence through public art.
“Any opportunity, be it through police work or art work, that allows the men and women of the BPD to expand their capacity to protect and serve our community members while drawing attention to and highlighting the accessibility of our neighborhood police stations, as well as the approachability of our hard-working police officers is most certainly a project that we want to participate in and fully support,” said Police Commissioner William Gross.
Artists are encouraged to consider three key qualities of the Eastie neighborhood in their applications: its deep history within a wide variety of immigrant communities, its geographic location and how that has put it on the front lines of climate change, and its strong neighborhood identity and close-knit community.
“In a changing, diverse, and growing neighborhood like Eastie, public art can bring people together by communicating at several levels to several folks,” said Kannan Thiruvengadam, director of Eastie Farm and an East Boston resident. “It can beautify space, make people stop, see, and wonder, and provoke thought and conversation.”
The City has identified several potential sites for the artwork, including the entrance lobby, the community room, and three locations outside of the station. The project is expected to take approximately two years to complete.
A rendering indicating the locations identified as potential sites for the artwork.
Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston Kara Elliott-Ortega said this call to artists is open to all artists, artisans, architects, landscape architects, or teams with experience in public art, site responsive design, project management, and construction administration.
“This project is the perfect opportunity to showcase the power public art can have on uniting communities and fostering cross-cultural exchange,” said Elliott-Ortega,. “I look forward to seeing how this project helps us reach a new level of creative problem solving and bridge the gap between law enforcement and local residents.”
An Artist Selection Committee comprised of representatives from the Boston Art Commission and local arts professionals representing East Boston will review applications using criteria including experience, past work, knowledge of materials and their durability, experience working with multiple stakeholders, and how well the artist/team responds to the goals and community values outlined in the call.
The deadline to apply for the project is Thursday, April 25. To apply for the project, visit www.cityofbostonartsandculture.submittable.com/submit/15a500d1-a969-4c74-a50b-2379e2ac21e9/percent-for-art-east-boston-police-station.