BOSTON – Monday, September 23, 2019 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined residents, community advocates, business owners and city officials for a ribbon cutting celebrating the reconstruction of North Square in the North End. A partnership between Boston’s Public Works Department and the Boston Art Commission, the project includes a new piece of permanent public art entitled ‘North Square Stories’, by A+J Art+Design.
“The renovation of North Square showcases our commitment to making upgrades to Boston’s infrastructure, while still preserving the history and culture of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Walsh. “By working hand-in-hand with the community and incorporating their ideas into the design, we have built a better, more accessible space for residents and visitors to gather and enjoy the North End, and these new works of art, designed for all.”
The community design process for the reconstruction of North Square began in 2014, and priorities resulting from those discussions led to the final design. The $2.5 million dollar reconstruction included enhanced lighting to improve functionality, new ADA compliant paver pedestrian paths throughout the square, and reset granite blocks in the roadway and center plaza.
The City of Boston’s Public Works Department allocated $200,000 from the North Square budget towards a public art project that was incorporated into the Square. In April 2017, Mayor Walsh announced that A+J Art+Design was selected as the artist team for the project. A+J Art+Design, which is made up of Ann Hirsch and Jeremy Angier, worked with the Boston Art Commission, the Public Works Department and the North End community to develop their initial proposal for North Square Stories.
“This investment highlights the beauty of the North End and our city’s role as a cradle of democracy and liberty,” said Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards. “The renovated North Square is a wonderful reminder that in Boston we welcome people from across the world as well as those of differing physical abilities.”
“In North Square and in the North End, one is surrounded by details that point to stories of personal, local, and national significance hiding in plain sight, and these stories are encapsulated in the talks we’ve had with community members who were always ready to share who they are and how they came to be here,” said artist Ann Hirsch of A+J Art+Design. “These diverse stories and their level of detail became a guiding principle that led us to make four intricately detailed, unique sculptures. We hope the research and level of detail that went into North Square Stories leads to a deeper experience of North Square for the local and visitor alike, and we hope that there is always something more to see.”
The artwork honors the historical legacy of North Square and enhances its functionality as a community gathering place and tourist destination. A+J Art+Design built strong ties with community members as a basis for creating the artwork, and worked with students from Eliot School and St. John School to incorporate students’ artwork into the sculptures.
“The recent reconstruction of North Square successfully blends old and new in this deeply historic gathering space. The new, wonderfully evocative bronze sculptures capture moments in North End history and offer a moving and educational treat for visitors and locals alike,” said Nina Zanierri, Executive Director of the Paul Revere House.
Under Mayor Walsh, the Public Works Department is repairing critical roads and bridges, such as the North Washington Street Bridge, and the Dana Avenue Bridge. PWD is also reconstructing 14 miles of sidewalks, resurfacing over 52 miles of roadway, and continuing to make Boston’s streets safe, equitable and efficient for all cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers.
Mayor Walsh’s $2.78 billion five-year capital plan allocates significant investments in infrastructure across Boston’s neighborhoods, including:
10 percent of its budget to projects that make Boston more resilient;
$30 million into improving affordable housing;
Investments in Franklin Park, Moakley Park, branch libraries and firehouses;
Investments of over $1 billion in sidewalks, roads and bridges citywide.
Over the next five years, Mayor Walsh will commit $13.4 million to the Percent for Art program, which allocates one percent of the City’s capital borrowing for the commission of permanent public artwork. This, combined with $80,000 for temporary public art projects in the next year and several new City staff positions, is the most funding the City has ever dedicated to public art.
To learn more about ongoing and upcoming public art projects, visit here.
About the Public Works Department
The Boston Public Works Department (PWD) provides core services essential to neighborhood quality of life. We direct general construction, maintenance, and cleaning of approximately 802 miles of roadways throughout the City. PWD operates two major drawbridges, maintain 68,055 street lights, and supervise contracts for the removal and disposal of approximately 190.000 tons of solid waste. We also operate Boston’s recycling program with an annual diversion of approximately 45,000 tons. Follow them on Twitter @BostonPWD.
About the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture
The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture‘s mission is to support artists, the cultural sector, and to promote access to the arts for all. The office houses the Boston Cultural Council, the Boston Art Commission, and the Poet Laureate program. Responsibilities include implementing the City’s cultural plan, Boston Creates; commissioning public art, managing the Boston Artist-in-Residence program; curating exhibitions in City Hall; and operating the historic Strand Theater in Dorchester. For more information go to: www.boston.gov/departments/arts-and-culture