Mayor Kim Janey and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, in conjunction with the Boston Art Commission, Boston Public Library and Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) yesterday celebrated a new piece of public art that was installed at the Jamaica Regular Branch of the Boston Public Library and BCYF Curtis Hall. The City of Boston commissioned Matthew Hinçman to create Wythe & Web, and he was funded by the Percentage for art program.
“This new addition to the Jamaica Plain branch and BCYF Curtis Hall is a great way to honor the strong community bonds that are present in this neighborhood,” said Mayor Janey. “I can’t wait to see people interact with the artwork and use it as a way to start more conversations with each other. “
The public art project completed the renovation of the Jamaica Plain branch, which included a 700 square foot addition facing South Street that serves as a community reading lounge, a patio along Sedgwick Street where residents can read and mingle, an updated 30,000-book collection, lift for full ADA accessibility, parking for over 20 bikes and new landscaping.
The total budget for the public art project was $ 205,000. The artwork is located on the lawn in front of the library and BCYF Curtis Hall facing South Street. It is a sculptural intervention that consists of a series of low brick walls that zigzag across the lawn. Some walls are capped with brightly colored glazed bricks and others are capped with granite slabs. In addition to the walls, there are five bronze chairs that take the form of the vinyl strap folding chairs found in millions of gardens and lawns.
The city of Boston highlighted several themes identified by the community that Hinçman must consider throughout his process, including the diversity and intergenerational character of the neighborhood, a community of artists and creators, a desire for works of art. functional or interactive in one way or another, and the need to maintain a sense of neighborhood identity.
Matthew Hinçman is a sculptor and educator living in Jamaica Plain, and is professor of sculpture at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt). He is also president of the MassArt 3D Fine Arts program. He currently sits on the board of directors of the Boston nonprofit Now + There. He is best known for “Jamaica Pond Bench, 2006” and “STILL, 2014”, both located in Jamaica Plain.
“I hope it will be a bit of a destination,” said Matthew Hinçman. “I could never have imagined that the bench I made at Jamaica Pond would be so comfortable, and yet people will sit on it with their legs dangling and actually say ‘let’s meet on the bench’. I don’t think the lawn here before installation had that kind of charm to people, and I hope it will now. Hope this could be something to check out, and a space to be in a way it really wasn’t before.
“Investing in local artists and bringing new public art to Boston are two goals we prioritize as we work to make Boston a more culturally vibrant city,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Head of Arts and Development. Culture. “We were thrilled to support an artist with such a strong connection to the Jamaica Plain neighborhood and we appreciate all of his hard work in making this project happen. “
The FY22-26 investment plan allocates $ 15 million to the Percent for Art program. Another long-term work by artist Joe Wardwell in collaboration with poet Nakia Hill and youth from 826 Boston’s Youth Literary Advisory Board will be fully installed at the Roxbury branch of the Boston Public Library later this month. In addition to long-term public art projects, the City has also allocated more than $ 1 million for murals and other short-term public art projects and activations this year as part of the Transformative Public Art Program. You can find out more about current public art projects at boston.gov/public-art.