(Boston, MA - NEFA Website) The New England Foundation for the Arts is pleased to announce the two 2021 recipients of the Newell Flather Award for Leadership in Public Art: artist, educator and mentor Ekua Holmes of Roxbury, MA; and gallery owner, consultant, and curator Rosemary Tracy Woods of Springfield, MA.
Founded in 2020, the Newell Flather Award for Leadership in Public Art annually honors two Massachusetts artists/curators/arts administrators in public art who have demonstrated leadership in contributing to the evolving field of public art and inspiring more just, vibrant, and welcoming public spaces and public life. Each recipient is awarded $5,000 of unrestricted funds in celebration of their leadership and impact in the field.
“From the Roxbury Sunflower Project to her leadership with the sparc! ArtMobile within MassArt’s Center for Art and Community Partnerships, to the support for the Boston Art Commission in examining equity and representation in the City’s public art collection through public dialogue, we celebrate Ekua Holmes’ commitment to community in public artmaking. Ekua is literally and figuratively planting seeds of beauty and resilience throughout our city and inviting community into the process,” said NEFA program director, public art, Kim Szeto.
“We celebrate Rosemary Tracy Woods’ tireless efforts over 25 years in bringing art to communities in Springfield, MA. From the co-designed fiberglass sneaker installation throughout Springfield, to the annual partnership with Springfield Public School’s senior class mural project, to the most recent “Say Their Names” mural created in partnership with Common Wealth Murals, Rosemary is not only making public art happen but doing it in deep collaboration with community. She champions artists and uplifts the artwork of people of color, and continually shows up and advocate for institutional representation whenever possible,” shared Kim Szeto.
Nearly 60 individuals were nominated through 139 submissions during the public process; through a panel review process, this year’s awardees were selected based on the ways in which they exemplify NEFA’s public art values and selection criteria. The Newell Flather Award celebrates the ways in which Rosemary and Ekua:
Help us to see, feel, experience, and imagine more just futures for our public spaces and public culture.
Address the intersectionality of spatial justice and racial justice as critical to cultivating a more vibrant public art ecosystem.
Recognize the importance of context in public artmaking.
Inspire more just, vibrant, and welcoming public spaces and public life in Massachusetts.