Newton Community Pride Invites Submissions for Sit & Let Your Spirit Soar Citywide Public Art Initiative

Newton Community Pride, in partnership with the City of Newton, is currently accepting design submissions for Sit & Let Your Spirit Soar, a public art initiative designed to create community, encourage conversation, and inspire feelings of connection.

Sit & Let Your Spirit Soar will involve the temporary outdoor installation of 19 church pews donated by Newtonville’s Boston Chinese Evangelical Church, which is in the process of renovating its sanctuary. A jury will select local and regional artists to transform the pews into three-dimensional functional art.

The decorated pews will be strategically located in public gathering places throughout Newton from June through October 2022. Through signage, passersby will be invited to sit on the pews and encouraged to use them for outdoor meetings, intimate conversation, or simply quiet contemplation.

Artists are invited to submit applications to participate in this juried initiative no later than April 22, 2022, and winners will be selected by May 15, 2022.

Selected artists will each be assigned a single pew (about 8’ long) to decorate on location over the course of one weekend, June 4-5 (or rain date). Selected artists will each be paid commissions of $500. 

In planning your submission, please consider the following:

  • Artists should read the project’s Official Rules prior to submitting a design.
  • Artists are asked to create designs that respond to this prompt: “______________ make/s my spirit soar.”
  • Designs should include the entire pew—the back, seat, armrests, etc.
  • Pews will be primed white by the project sponsor and installed in locations across Newton.
  • Each selected artist will be assigned one primed pew (approximately 8’ long).
  • Artists will have two days (June 4 and 5) to decorate their pews on location. Please be prepared to work outside, as all pews will be located in outdoor locations.
  • In the event of inclement weather, painting will take place on June 11 and 12.
  • Artists are responsible for providing their own supplies and must use approved acrylic or latex paints that are suitable for outdoors. Please see Official Rules for list of approved paints. Artists will receive a discount for supplies at Sherwin Williams in Newton Centre.
  • Artists will be responsible for protecting the area beneath and around the pews with drop cloths during the process of painting and decorating the pews.
  • Each pew will include QR code signage to enable viewers to “learn more” (i.e., information on the artist, sponsor, etc.).
  • In October, the pews will be auctioned, with proceeds going toward future public art initiatives.