mural of charles river

Dynamic Public Art Program Creates Record of Cambridge Life

Cambridge is home to the largest collection of contemporary public art in New England, with more than 250 artworks in locations throughout the City.

With a dynamic Public Art Program and an ongoing commissioning process, the City adds more artwork every year. “I told my family I don’t need a tombstone anymore. This is much more important,” Cambridge poet Molly Lynn Watt said on a warm August morning as her poem was imprinted into the wet concrete of a new City sidewalk on Prospect Street as part of the Cambridge Sidewalk Poetry program.

Ms. Watt’s concrete poetry was just one of many new public artworks added to the City’s collection this summer.

Sidewalk Poetry

Art At The Core

“Forty years ago, the City of Cambridge took a bold and visionary step to include artists and art-making as a core part of how the City develops and grows.” – Jason Weeks


Cambridge Arts Executive Director Jason Weeks explains that “Through the establishment of a formal Public Art Program, Cambridge designates a percentage of capital construction costs to commission artists to develop site-responsive public artwork. The resulting artwork can be found throughout the natural and built environment of the City and each reveals a sense of place and highlights the unique character of the City.”

In May, Cambridge photographer Richard Hackel kayaked 5 miles of the Cambridge shore along the Charles River and transformed that experience into a 500-foot-long photo mural.For the next two years, Cambridge Riverfront Panalateral will adorn the construction site along Cambridge Street between Berkshire and Willow Streets where Cambridge’s new King Open and Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex is being built.

Beat the Belt MuralWhether telling the story of neighborhood engagement, encouraging exercise, play, use of alternate forms of transportation, or celebrating the history of the City, the work that artists accomplish through the City’s Public Art Program provides a living record of life in Cambridge.

So the next time you are walking along a City sidewalk or enjoying one of Cambridge’s many parks and open spaces, remember to look up, look down, and look all around and you will likely encounter public art.

View the public art collection on Cambridge using out interactive public art map.

Published by

Lee Gianetti

Director of Communications and Community Relations

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