Public Arts & Culture

Public Arts & Culture planning in Watertown is intentionally broad in scope and encompasses Art in Public Places, Cultural and Community Life, and creative placemaking in many forms. On this web page you will find local resources for artists and organizations across disciplines, as well as for arts and culture supporters.


Three governing bodies:

  • Public Arts & Culture Committee
    The Public Arts & Culture Planner works with the Public Arts & Culture Committee to implement the Public Arts Master Plan (PDF), adopted through a resolution in 2020. City Council's RESOLUTION TO ESTABLISH A PUBLIC ARTS AND CULTURE COMMITTEE (PDF) signed April 13, 2021. The Public Arts & Culture Committee meets every 4th Monday of the month at 6 PM virtually or in the 3rd Floor Conference Room in the Watertown Administration Building. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend the Public Arts & Culture Committee (PACC) meetings, please see the Visitor Guidelines (PDF).
  • Watertown Cultural Council
    The Watertown Cultural Council (WCC) is one of 355 Local Cultural Council programs statewide. The LCC program is one of the largest grassroots cultural funding networks in the nation annually supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences funded in large part through the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Watertown individuals, schools, and cultural organizations are eligible to apply for project support from WCC. Since its establishment in 1982, the WCC has distributed over $200,000 and funded over 500 programs that have enriched the lives of tens of thousands of community residents. 
  • Watertown Square Cultural District Partnership
    The partnership is the public-private governing body of the Watertown Square Cultural District and is subject to all Federal, State, and local regulations for public bodies. The Partnership Handbook (PDF) provides details of governance structure. Anyone interested in joining the Cultural District Partnership should review the Partnership Handbook and Partnership Agreement (PDF).


Current Public Arts Initiatives:
The Public Arts & Culture Committee develops public art opportunities and arts policy. The Watertown Public Arts and Culture Kit (WPACK), was created by the preceding committee in 2018, and is still a guide for developers and the city for public art creation. Physical copies are available at the Watertown Free Public Library.

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  • Watertown Arts Market - 2024 registration open now! 
    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. Applications open to individual artists, cultural organizations, and arts businesses.
  • Call for Artists: 100 Years of Arshile Gorky - Application open until September 15, 2024, at 11:59pm!
    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 Watertown, Mosesian Center for the Arts, and the Historical Society of Watertown. Read the full call (PDF).
  • Call for Artists and Scientists: Expert Pairings - Application open until September 15, 2024, at 11:59pm!
    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. Read the full call (PDF).
  • Edible Watertown - Workshop with Jennifer Tucker on June 27, 2024 at the Mosesian Center for the Arts!
    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.
  • Community Sculpture Walk See and listen to the full tour!
    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.



Artist Resources
See opportunities for connecting with local arts organizations, exhibitions, funding, art education, supplies, and space.

The Summer Concert Series
Learn more about upcoming and past performances at the Summer Concert Series at Saltonstall Park, overseen by the Public Arts & Culture Planner. Interested performers may complete the Saltonstall Park Performer Application.

Film Permit Application
For film projects that use public space: streets, parks, buildings, and other sites that are not privately owned.

Notifications
The Public Arts & Culture Committee puts out a periodic email newsletter called the "PACC Arts Bulletin" that contains upcoming exhibits, events, calls for art, and grant deadlines. Subscribe and learn more.

Contact Us

Liz
Helfer

Arts & Culture Self-Guided Tours


Public Art
Explore contemporary public art around Watertown.

Public Art at Arsenal Yards
Explore work by nationally renowned artists working in two and three-dimensions.

Historical Markers
Explore historical markers around Watertown. Created by Jamie Kallestad at the Watertown Free Public Library.


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