When you think about public art in Boston, what comes to mind? For me, it’s always the statues in the Public Garden: George Washington, the ducks, and a bunch of random old guys I don’t know. Walking around there recently, I also came across a monument commemorating the discovery of ether as an anesthetic. (No, seriously. It exists.)
Despite the varied motivation for each of the sculptures, they are all big, bronze, monumental examples of public art, and they really just scratch the surface of this type of art in Boston. There are dozens of similar statues throughout the city.
But there is a group of people in Boston working to change the perception of public art in Boston.
Photo Nights Boston is a non-profit start-up based here in Boston. The primary purpose of the organization is to bring a recurring photography festival to Boston, the centerpiece of which would be projecting photographs onto buildings in the Copley Square area.
Beyond that specific event, the organization also hopes to reinvigorate the public art scene in Boston. As the examples above show, a lot of public art in Boston is of a very specific type (sculpture) and style (bronze statue on top of a huge granite base). Photo Nights Boston wants to change that idea and bring more varied styles to the public art scene and move away from the idea that public art needs to be immobile and permanent.
This organization and this type of event are exactly what we need more of in this city. Boston has a lot of great history, but we can sometimes get stuck looking to the past for inspiration when we ought to be looking to the future to see what’s possible.
For more information about Photo Nights Boston, check out their website and Facebook page, find them on Twitter, and check back with us regularly as we’ll have more information about all their upcoming events.
– Nick Downing, Future Boston Program Manager