About this Project

About the Neighborhood Public Art in Boston Project

Neighborhood Public Art in Boston is a project led by staff and researchers from the Boston Research Center, based in the Northeastern University Library’s Digital Scholarship Group, and in partnership with the Boston Public Library. Through this project, we aim to collect and share information on artwork that is publicly displayed in Boston’s neighborhoods, initially focusing on Roxbury, South End, Chinatown, and East Boston. Organizations and agencies across the city, including the Boston Arts Commission and the City of Boston Office of Arts and Culture, have collected information on public artworks in Boston. Our project aims to consolidate the information from these different sources into a single shared dataset. That way, artists, researchers, and community members can easily access, navigate, and add information to this dataset about all types of public art in Boston, which will continue to grow over time. We want to particularly emphasize artwork in Boston’s historically underserved communities and highlight Boston’s rich and diverse history of public art. 

Cooper Community Center mural by John Ewing. Learn more at the mural's Wikidata entry page here.


"Tiger Style" mural by Genaro "GoFive" Ortega, Rob "Problak" Gibbs, Brandalizm, Sneha "IMAGINE" Shrestha, and Luis "Take1" Taforo at the O'Bryant School in Roxbury. Learn more at the mural's Wikidata entry page here.


This project has two main components. One is the Neighborhood Public Art in Boston WikiProject hosted on Wikidata, which we use to organize the data and is open for all to collaborate on and add to. The other component is the public art map, hosted on this website, which displays the artworks on an interactive map of Boston. 

Our WikiProject is where we have consolidated the public art data that has been collected from various sources. In addition to being easily accessible to the public, it allows for the organization of multiple attributes for each artwork and artist. These include images, location, dates founded and/or demolished, funding schemes, material of the artwork, the biographical information of the artists, and others. More detailed documentation on data collection and organization methods and the WikiProject can be found here.

The public art map was created using Leaflet.js, an open-source JavaScript library for interactive maps. Using the data stored in the WikiProject, the map displays various public artwork in Boston neighborhoods. The facets and search bar allow users to filter and search for different artwork.


About the Boston Research Center

The Boston Research Center (BRC), based in the Northeastern University Library, is a digital community history and archives lab. The BRC’s mission is to help bring Boston’s deep neighborhood and community histories to light through the creation and use of new technologies. Through these technologies, Boston residents can share the underrepresented stories from their community’s past, as well as a deeper understanding of how this past shapes our present. 

The BRC is hosted at Northeastern, but is designed to be a collaborative effort among many organizations in Boston—civic, research, teaching, and cultural heritage—devoted to developing institutional partnerships and fostering community engagement.

The historical materials used here are developed in partnership with various organizations in Boston, including the Boston Public Library and Massachusetts Historical Society.

Step on Board / Harriet Tubman Memorial sculpture created by Fern Cunningham in 1999 in Boston's South End. Learn more at the mural's Wikidata entry page here.

About the Boston Public Library

Partnering with Northeastern University Library on the Boston Research Center, the Boston Public Library (BPL) has served as a convening space, supported BRC’s research, provided digitization services, and connected community members to BRC projects through educational programming and outreach. Digitized materials represented in BRC projects will be made publicly accessible via the Digital Commonwealth, a robust digitization program based at the BPL. This collaborative work advances the BPL’s missions of expanding access to its historical collections and research resources and supporting patrons in the unearthing, telling, and sharing of local and community histories.

Funded in part by generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.