Cambridge is continuing forward with capital projects including those related to commissioned art projects, short of construction itself, because we have a moratorium at the moment on all non-essential construction activity on public and private property.  For projects in planning or design development stages, we can continue to do the work of coordination among artist, city staff, consultants, etc. as long as it does not involve gathering in person.  For artists whose projects are in mid-fabrication there may be delays, but hopefully it will not impact overall installation schedule. As with everyone, we are constantly updating our planning given the constantly changing environment.  One of our projects involves a small school as the "artist", and we are figuring out how to move forward there, given that the students cannot be in school.


For RFQs, we have one ready to go out but are pausing due to the consideration of a possible perception of significant money being spent when there are urgent critical survival needs elsewhere. We have also been interested in language other agencies are using in their calls to reference the impact the crisis may have on the schedule, i.e. whether there is mention of the COVID-19 crisis and the TBD status of projected time lines.  On the one hand, we feel that putting out the RFQ gives artists hope for continuation of public art and  future work, and on the other hand we want to be sensitive and realistic. At a certain point we will need to put it out since the overall construction project continues to move forward and we don’t want the art component to get behind.


We have a public art project in midstream for the 19th Amendment Centennial for which we had hoped to announce a winning proposal in August, along with the centennial celebration. The finalists are continuing to work on proposals, but we cannot do a proper public process for the final selection. Another TBD.


We have canceled one of our major annual festivals, and the city has put the funds previously dedicated to that event towards an artist relief fund set up by the Cambridge Community Foundation in coordination with the City and other partners – i.e. the city is maintaining the use of those funds to support artists.   We are exploring other ways to support visual and performing artists through online experiences, offerings on social media, and collaborating on regional relief fund efforts and information sharing.


Thanks for asking the question!




Lillian Hsu, Director of Public Art and Exhibitions

Cambridge Arts

344 Broadway, 2nd Floor

Cambridge, MA 02139

T 617-349-4389; F 617-349-4669

TTY 617-349-4621

Pronouns: she/her/hers

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From: <> on behalf of Jim Glenn <>
Sent: Friday, April 3, 2020 3:59 PM
To: <>
Subject: Re: What is the future of percent-for-art programs?


Dear Lynn:


Utah's program is also proceeding with projects in process as well as four open calls at the moment. Project Managers are indicating they too are proceeding with construction projects but advised we keep in close contact as things on the ground are changing daily.


Sending out wishes for health and safety!





Jim Glenn

Acquisitions, Design, Public & Visual Arts Manager

Utah Division of Arts & Museums

801.245.7271 or 801 808 4557


Please note: Our Public Art & Visual Arts offices and galleries are closed until further notice. The best way to reach staff is via email or mobile listed above. 



On Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 1:25 PM Lynn Basa <> wrote:

I realize this question might be too soon, but I'm about to teach a class to a bunch of anxious artists who are interested in hearing our best guess.  With respect to your own programs:


1)  Are funds that are already allocated for commissions going to stay in the pipeline or will they go away?


2)  Will you be issuing new RFQ's or are you getting signs that everything is on hold?


Thank you,





Lynn Basa, President

c: (773) 289-3616 

2912 N. Milwaukee Ave. (storefront)

Chicago, IL 60618

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