From colorful sculptures along Seaport Boulevard to striking murals and a twinkling light installation, the art at Boston Seaport promises visitors an inspiring stroll
Boston’s Fort Point and the nearby Seaport was once the well-kept secret of painters, ceramicists, and other loft-dwelling creative types. But what has changed stroke by stroke over the last 30 years is almost revolutionary when you look at the buzzworthy creative hub that Boston Seaport has become. Today, visitors to Seaport will be dazzled by public art installations and colorful murals that greet you at every turn.
“The city is growing so much and expanding that there’s this great hunger for more public art,” says Suzi Hlavacek, Senior Art Consultant at consulting firm Boston Art. According to Hlavacek, social media has allowed people from all backgrounds to interact with art in new ways — no art degree necessary.
Even the Institute of Contemporary Art ditched its former digs by Newbury Street in favor of a waterside view, shifting Boston’s epicenter of art to Seaport. Hosting rotating exhibitions by both established and emerging artists, the ICA encourages visitors to interact and have fun with art. A can’t-miss exhibition on display through February 21, 2019 is William Forsythe’s “Choreographic Objects.” While Forsythe rose to international acclaim by redefining classical ballet with innovative choreography, visitors to this incredible exhibit do not need advanced dance moves to enjoy interacting with these site-responsive kinetic sculptures and video projections.
Murals, Vintage Neon, and LED Stars
Start near South Station and you can’t miss the giant colorful mural on the building at Dewey Square Park. “Carving Out Fresh Options” invites viewers to plunge into a vivid dreamy world that artist Shara Hughes imagined as an alternative natural landscape. This is the sixth mural to be displayed at Dewey Square Park.
Make your way to the Rose Kennedy Greenway (dusk is best) and you’ll find “GLOW,” a collection of vintage neon signs that mark a specific time in Boston’s history. A blue and red General Electric Radio sign from Roxbury in the 1920s and the perfectly kitschy 1950s Siesta Motel sign from Route 1 in Saugus are just two of the eight on view.
Head to the Society of Arts & Crafts on Pier 4, where you’ll find unique exhibitions and events honoring all things handmade. Here, the Seaport Gallery features rotating exhibitions of craft artists, with interesting jewelry and ceramic works currently on display.
Meanwhile, over at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, check out the largest urban screen in New England: a unique digital canvas displaying larger-than-life artwork to more than 100,000 people every day—visible for up to half a mile! A partnership between the Boston Cyberarts and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, the marquee promises to inject creativity in one of Boston’s most rapidly developing public spaces.
Stroll down A Street and under the Summer Street bridge to experience Starry Night, a semi-permanent light installation of LED stars created by local Fort Point artists Lisa Greenfield and Daniel J. Van Akere. Then there’s the mural at One Seaport Courtyard, a typographical motto cum battle cry for residents and visitors alike that reads “Boston is the new Boston.” Created in collaboration with Half Studio and Justkids, the street-art-inspired mural perfectly captures the essence of the city – a place of both deep history and cutting-edge innovation – in just a few words.
Musical Seesaws and Vibrant Sculptures
Over in Seaport Common, kids and adults alike were charmed earlier this year by Impulse: more widely known as the Seaport Seesaws, an installation of 12 LED seesaws that emitted sound and light when used. If you missed the fun, don’t worry—version 2 of Seaport Seesaw is coming to Boston in early 2019.
The crown jewel of the Seaport art renaissance is a series of bright, bold sculptures by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel that punctuate Seaport Boulevard like exclamation marks. Titled “Air Sea Land,” the seven pop-surrealist structures—the largest works to date from this celebrated international artist— command attention with their larger-than-life presence and happy hues that explore the interplay between humans, animals, and the environment. These kaleidoscopic beauties are putting Boston on the map as one of the best cities for public art installations.
At every step, down every street, the art of Boston Seaport is an invitation to linger amidst some of the city’s most inspiring artwork. It doesn’t hurt that they look great on your Instagram feed, either. Explore upcoming installations and artwork by visiting Boston Seaport today.