he City of Boston has commissioned a Boston art studio and two Boston-native artists to create interior and exterior artwork for the new Boston Arts Academy building currently under construction in Fenway.
MASARY Studios was commissioned for interior artwork at the new Boston Arts Academy building in Fenway and Simon Donovan and Ben Olmstead were commissioned for exterior artwork at the new school building.
Based in Boston, MASARY Studios is an interdisciplinary artist collective reconsidering environments through site-specific installations using sound, light, interactivity, and performance.The studio’s practice includes live performance, electronic music and production, facade projection-mapped video, artistic research, technology and materials fabrication, and the expansive use of animation. The studio is artist-owned and managed and was founded in 2015.
“It is an honor to be selected to create an artwork for the City of Boston, and Boston Arts Academy,” said Ryan Edwards, Principal of MASARY Studios. “We are thrilled to be working with the city, the BAA staff and students on this project and look forward to the months to come where the artwork and the school are brought to life. Much like the high school experience and the approach of adulthood, this artwork is to be a reflection of the moment, as well as an echo to the future.”
Simon Donovan and Ben Olmstead, both coincidentally Boston born and raised, are currently residents of Tucson, AZ. They are intimate with the Fenway neighborhood and relish the prospect of returning home and contributing artwork to this urban setting. They have worked together on public art commissions for 15 years. Each is a multimedia artist. They have over 25 past and current projects together. They combined forces when they realized the beneficial results of collaboration include strengthened ideas from an added perspective, thorough trouble-shooting and increased talents and additional familiarity with a variety of mediums. Their process is to distill the best solutions through discussion and debate. As collaborators they have prospered from an exchange of ideas and technical information and have developed a complimentary aesthetic sensibility and they work for a unified approach.
“The intent of our proposed artwork is to serve the site-specific and theme-specific
need of identifying and celebrating the Boston Arts Academy community,” said Simon Donovan and Ben Olmstead. “This project holds great personal meaning to us as artists and as native Bostonians.”
Funded by the City of Boston’s Percent for Art program, which sets aside one percent of the City’s annual capital borrowing as a budget for the commissioning of long-term public art, the artists were chosen because their proposals considered BAA’s four guiding principles when crafting their proposals. These principles included community with social responsibility, diversity with respect, passion with balance, and vision with integrity.
The City released an international Call to Artists for two separate opportunities at Boston Arts Academy–one for an interior artwork and one for an exterior artwork. The total project budget for the interior site is $300,000 and the budget for the exterior site is $200,000. BAA is Boston’s only public high school for the performing and visual arts, and is currently undergoing a $125 million reconstruction.
The new state-of-the-art facility will include dedicated rehearsal and performance spaces, gallery space, studios for music, visual arts, and fashion design, academic classrooms, recreation areas, kitchens, and student commons. The artworks are expected to be installed in 2022. “Boston Arts Academy being Boston’s only public high school for the performing and visual arts so the site is unique,” said Mayor Walsh. “Bringing public art into this space is a great way to highlight the interconnected roles art, education, and