Boston’s first public art triennial will take place in 2025

It will bring hundreds of free art and cultural experiences to Boston's neighborhoods.

Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
Pedestrians pass an art installation titled “Summer Sets,” by Juan Obando at Dock Square in Boston, on Aug. 10, 2022. The arts nonprofit Now + There, which commissioned the architectural rendering of the square and Faneuil Hall, is launching a public art triennial in 2025. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Boston will debut a city-wide public art triennial in 2025.

The triennial will bring hundreds of free art and cultural experiences to Boston’s 23 neighborhoods, as well as 15 commissioned works throughout the city.

The event, which will happen every three years, will attract visitors and join local and international artists, writers, curators, producers, nonprofits, and cultural organizations “in an exploration of Boston’s iconic sites, neighborhood hubs, and green spaces,” according to Now + There, the Boston arts nonprofit organization planning the event.

There are well-known triennial events in Europe, but few across the nation, according to Now + There.

“Only a handful of cities in the U.S. have the audacity, courage, and support to host a public art triennial, and we’re excited to steward this first for Boston,” Kate Gilbert, executive director of Now + There, said in a statement. “Boston is increasingly more inclusive and welcoming, with an international workforce, strong BIPOC leaders and organizations, and progressive shifts in civic administration, the time is right to highlight who we are and what we can become. The concentrated exhibition schedule creates a sense of urgency and leverages lasting change — racially, socially, and culturally — to transform Boston using compelling art.”


Now + There is currently reaching out to the city’s major art museums and cultural organizations to gauge their interest.

“I want to make sure it’s at least 50 percent local,” Gilbert told The Boston Globe. “We tend not to appreciate what’s here in Boston. We have parades for sports teams, we all know to go over to City Hall Plaza to watch something on the Jumbotron. But we don’t know how to come together to celebrate our cultural assets. My hope is the triennial can shift us in approaches to how we see ourselves, and value what’s here.”

Now + There has raised $1.5 million of its $8 million goal for the event, and each of the commissioned works will have a budget of at least $50,000, according to the Globe.

“The City of Boston is excited to support Now + There’s public art Triennial and to be a partner in planning and implementing this ambitious cultural vision,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Boston’s chief of arts and culture, in a statement. “A cultural experience at this scale will bring that sense of possibility, joy, and civic dialogue to the entire city.” 


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