Several weeks ago, I tossed an idea out there for a mural/mosaic of some sort to be created inside the tunnel at the train station. Cabot let me know that any public art at the station has to go through the MTA's Arts for Transit Program. They commission the art, and have a Call for Artists to submit their potential project. So, I contacted them to find out where Beacon stands on their list, and when we'd have a Call for Artists.
So, I had to email 4 times before I got a response saying they were looking into it. A week later, I got the brush-off email:
Thank you for your interest in MTA Arts for Transit permanent art program. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide you with an estimated time frame of when a Call to Artists will be issued for artwork at the MNR Beacon Station. Presently, there are no scheduled plans to undertake a rehabilitation of the station. Please feel free to check with us next year. In addition, you may visit our website to check on other available artist calls at www.mta/aft/mta/aft . Again, thank you for your interest.
MTA Arts for Transit
I emailed back again, asking if there's a chance that we may be able to do a more community-driven approach, and allow our local artists to take charge of the project and get it moving forward. To which she responded:
Thanks for your email and your interest in having artwork at the Beacon Station.
To explain a little about our process, the selection of artwork for stations throughout the MTA system is done through MTA Arts for Transit Permanent Art Program. Our program is funded through MTA's Capital Program for the rehabilitation or construction of new stations. When a station is renovated, a portion of the funds is used to provide permanent art. As previously indicated, there are no scheduled plans through the Capital Program for the rehabilitation of the Beacon Station since the station is in good condition. Once a station is scheduled to be rehabilitated and monies are allocated, we commence a selection process for permanent art.
When a station is scheduled for rehabilitation, Arts for Transit works closely with the architects and engineers during the design phase to determine the most appropriate art location as well as the medium. Depending upon the project, artists may be considered through an Open Call or Invitational process. Artwork is chosen through a competitive process using selection panels comprised of arts professionals and community representatives. During an Open Call process, we send a Call to Artists inviting them to submit images of previous works. We make sure to do special outreach to artists in the area where the station is being rehabilitated. During the first selection meeting, the panelists review the submissions and select approximately 4 finalists to submit site specific proposals. The artists are given a stipend and depending on the project about six weeks to submit their proposals. The panelists then reconvene and select one proposal for the station. Our selection process has proven very successful since the artwork is part of the redesign of the station. We currently have over 200 projects installed throughout the MTA system. Because these are government procurements and we must use a fair and equal process for selection, we do not generally undertake community driven or grass-roots approach for the selection of artwork. We are aware of the vibrant artist community in Beacon and look forward to reaching out to them once there are scheduled plans to rehabilitate the station.
Again, thank you for your interest and feel free to check with us next year.
MTA Arts for Transit
Shot down! I guess MTA doesn't want to play with us. If tenacity might make a difference in their response, you're welcome to contact them and give er a go. Here are the 2 people with whom I had corresponded:
Katherine Meehan KMEEHAN@mtahq.org
Amy Hausmann AHAUSMAN@mtahq.org