Now + There announces Lot Lab, a public art pilot program that will transform underused lots with site-specific contemporary public art installations open to the public, for free, at any time.
The inaugural installation, in collaboration with the National Park Service and Boston Harbor Now, will be created at the entrance to the Charlestown Navy Yard and will feature three large-scale art installations reflecting a theme of “mending” by international artist Ghada Amer, Boston-area artist Massiel Grullon, and Boston artist Sam Fields, whose artwork will be installed later in the summer. Lot Lab will be on display from June 7 to October 31, 2023, located at 115 Constitution Road in Charlestown.
Lot Lab will offer signature artworks, free community-responsive events in partnership with Charlestown youth organizations, Turn It Around and Charlestown Boys and Girls Club, and performances by Boston nonprofits that center the project’s overall goals of transformation, connection, and welcoming along Boston’s waterfront. Lot Lab in the Charlestown Navy Yard will add dimension to the complicated history of the site, acknowledging the untold stories of its inhabitants, from pre-colonial times to industrial and wartime workers. Lot Lab will model equitable public space development while uplifting place-based histories.
“We’re immensely proud to announce the opening of Lot Lab, a key strategy in deepening our commitment to a more vibrant and equitable Boston through the power of public art,” said Kate Gilbert, Executive Director of Now + There. “For our young organization, this 3-year location co-created with the community to honor both place and people provides a consistent platform for artistic risk-taking and community engagement. Lot Lab creates a new destination that promotes access to contemporary art, sparks transformation, and will leave behind tactics for a more vibrant and inclusive Charlestown Navy Yard.”
Two of the inaugural artists will open their projects at the start of the summer. These will include: internationally renowned multimedia artist Ghada Amer with an adaptation of her artwork “Women’s Qualities,” which questions notions of femininity and womanhood; and Boston-area artist Massiel Grullon’s, “Knotical Waves,” a large ground mural of undulating geometric lines used to represent water in historic plans of the Hoosac Tunnel Dock. Opening later on in the summer, Now + There Accelerator artist and alumnus Sam Fields will install “Stay,” a large-scale, wall-hanging weaving created from colorful nautical rope that examines the power of togetherness and community opening later in the summer. Additionally, Boston artist Kyle Browne will lead the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club and Turn it Around in creating a rotating series of flag artworks inspired by nautical and maritime flags to be displayed on a flagpole at Lot Lab.
The National Park Service is committed to a visitor-centered approach to activating Charlestown Navy Yard. By temporarily transforming the underutilized lot into an imaginative, experiential, and interstitial place, Lot Lab will actively incorporate physical site elements, transforming the lot space into a community hub. The removal of fencing from the perimeter of the site will foster a more welcoming and inclusive environment as Grullon’s winding ground mural installation encourages visitors to explore new pathways of exploration throughout the site.
“Lot Lab affords us an incredible opportunity to celebrate the complex histories of the Charlestown Navy Yard and offers new ways of engaging with the waterfront for both visitors and residents,” said Michael Creasey, General Superintendent of National Parks of Boston. “We deeply appreciate the opportunity to integrate the arts into Boston’s national parks and are looking forward to seeing the community engage in this space.”
“We are excited to bring transformative public art to the Charlestown Harborwalk, reimagining the city’s underutilized open spaces to better connect our communities,” said Kathy Abbott, President and CEO of Boston Harbor Now. “We are so proud to support this project’s unique use of storytelling and artistic creativity to activate and revitalize this portion of the waterfront for all to enjoy.”
The community can support the launch of Lot Lab by helping Now + There meet MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places $50,000 challenge grant — follow the Kickstarter campaign here. All are welcome to the June 7, 2023 opening celebration from 5 to 7 pm.