Public Arts Initiatives

Call for Artists: 100 Years of Arshile Gorky
The Watertown Public Arts and Culture Committee (PACC) is collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to commission a mural along the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway that commemorates the life and work of Arshile Gorky, who, notably, forged the birth of Abstract Expressionism in the United States. The mural is an extension of a larger project by a Watertown working group to memorialize Gorky’s time in Watertown, MA, and his contribution to modern art, led jointly by resident Jack Dargon and the Public Arts and Culture Committee with support from The Armenian Museum of America, Mosesian Center for the Arts, and the Historical Society of Watertown. Application closes September 15, 2024, at 11:59pm. Read the full call (PDF).

Call for Artists and Scientists: Expert Pairings
Expert Pairings invites artists and scientists to explore the ecology of Watertown and collaborate on temporary public artwork. Artists and scientists can submit qualifications individually or as a pair. Individuals will be paired up so that each Expert Pairing features one artist and one scientist as lead collaborators. Together, this interdisciplinary team will create an educational, temporary, outdoor installation in Watertown, MA focused on edible plants, local ecology, or other topics of environmental resiliency that may be found in the Resilient Watertown Climate and Energy Plan. Application closes September 15, 2024, at 11:59pm. Read the full call (PDF).

Community Sculpture Walk
The Community Sculpture Walk exhibits public sculptures in Watertown, to enhance the use of green space, encourage public interaction with contemporary art, and create an annual exhibition opportunity for artists at all stages of career working in a variety of mediums. The Community Sculpture Walk follows the Community Path, from the library parking lot at Saltonstall Park to the Howard Street extension. Sculptures will be selected annually through an open call to artists and on view for two years.

Edible Watertown 
The Watertown Public Arts & Culture Committee is pleased to launch Edible Watertown, a long-term interdisciplinary project that promotes awareness of our local environment through community engagement and the artistic and scientific exploration of plants around Watertown. Edible Watertown aims to uplift the importance of local flora and their ecosystems to connect people with the environment right outside their door. The community connections created by this local movement, in response to the global issue of climate change, will encourage us all to be better stewards of the environment and increase recognition of the known natural gifts in our community.

Watertown Porchfest
On May 18, 2024, Watertown's first Porchfest was a hit, thanks to the work of an ad hoc committee with support from the Public Arts & Culture Committee! Over 130 performance groups and over 70 locations participated. 

Call for Bike Rack Design and Fabrication
Four locations are available for artists, designers, or artist teams to design up to four bike racks. Artists may submit up to four designs and indicate which sites they are most interested in. For example, you may design one bike rack that you would like used across all four sites or four site specific bike racks, or one bike rack for one location, etc. Selected artist(s) will be paid $5000 per bike rack. The selection committee may select one artist to complete all four bike racks, one artist per bike rack, or any combination. Application closed April 17, 2024. Read the full call (PDF).

Artist Workspace Survey (PDF)
The Community Development & Planning Office collected feedback from individual artists who live or work in Watertown to understand their workspace needs. Artists working across all genres and mediums were invited to give their input. Additionally, artists who are interested in commuting to Watertown were invited to contribute. The feedback was anonymous, unless artists were contacted for a follow-up interview. The survey report provides recommendations to developers, nonprofits, and the city for the development of future workspace.

Watertown Arts Market (external link)
The Watertown Arts Market, an event hosted by the Watertown Business Coalition in partnership with the City of Watertown, introduces the public to Watertown’s working artists, cultural organizations, and the wide variety of unique products they produce that enrich our lives. The Watertown Arts Market provides a safe, free, and fun environment to showcase their work, purchase one-of-a-kind items, enjoy live performances, and make art. In an atmosphere of celebration, peppered with artist demonstrations and delicious food, visitors to the market can immerse themselves in their art community.

YardArt Watertown (external link)
YardArt is a community-wide celebration of creativity and fun in front yards, porches and windows all over Watertown. It's easy, free and fun to participate! Create, register and install during the month of April. All residents, families, organizations, clubs, classes, artists, and businesses are invited to create something to be viewed from the street or sidewalk. It can be an assemblage, a sculpture, an art project, a lighting arrangement—let your imagination run free! Installations are on display the entire month of April. Created by an ad hoc committee with support from the city.