Charlestown Artist Receives City Art Grant

This week the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture awards grants to artists and organizations to create short-term public art projects and activations through the Transformative Public Art program.

In Charlestown, artist Jasmine Lee will receive grant money to create handmade masks and donate them to various communities as part of her Just Fly Project.

Last year Lee was one of 12 artists to create public works of art on the city’s utility boxes as part of an effort to revitalize Boston’s business district during COVID. Her art incorporated regional culinary history for the city’s “Tasteful Boston” project and her mural was completed in October 2020 in Chinatown.

Lee grew up with a single mother and brother in the Charlestown projects and Boston’s Chinatown. She graduated from Tufts University with a double major in American Studies and Community Health and double minor in Chinese and Asian American Studies and also was a visual arts major at Boston Arts Academy.

According to Lee’s website she is also Art Director of R Visions for Chinatown and lead artist. There she has worked with local stakeholders and artists to raise awareness around the affordable housing crisis in Boston Chinatown.

The city has allocated a total of  $750,000 in funding for mural projects at 10 sites across nine Boston neighborhoods as well as another $323,950 for 27 short-term projects.

“(Art) brings joy and inspiration to communities, and helps revitalize our neighborhoods,” said Acting Mayor Kim Janey. “I hope Boston residents and visitors enjoy these beautiful works of art, and that these projects encourage those who pass by them to find creative ways to brighten where they live.”

Last year, Janey said 24 public art projects were awarded grants totaling $35,000. The program relaunched as a key part of Janey’s Joy Agenda, which is a citywide invitation, opportunity, and investment in the City’s collective well-being.

In the spring Janey put out a call to artists and after an exhaustive application process Lee was chosen by the city to create art around the city. 

“Paying artists to integrate bold, new artwork throughout our neighborhoods is a step in the right direction as we focus on reopening our city and coming back together around the notion of joy and renewal,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston.

Lee will also work with consultant Liza Quiñonez, a creative entrepreneur and founder of the award winning urban contemporary art and design agency Street Theory.

Quiñonez will provide project administration services and provide Lee with proposal development guidance, community engagement strategy and support, technical assistance, and logistical production and support.

“It’s an exciting time for Boston and I look forward to working with the selected artists on bringing their vision to life in big and bold ways,” said Quiñonez.

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