Boston Public Library and the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture launch a “Love Letter to a Library” public art collaboration today with a banner display at the Central Library and continuing throughout the BPL system. The text of the banners, "I Remember Everything You Taught Me Here," is intended to encourage viewers to engage with libraries as sites of learning, discourse, and memory. Steve Locke is the project creator and a City of Boston Artist-in-Residence.
“Libraries always evoke early, fond memories of reading and discovery, and we invite patrons and visitors to share their experiences, old or new, with us through this project. Libraries continue to remain a core civic and cultural resource with traditional and innovative programs, offerings, and services,” said David Leonard, Boston Public Library President.
“From the time I came to Boston back in 1980, the library, particularly the McKim Building, was a place of discovery, refuge, and solace. There, I learned about Sargent, met Andy Warhol, fell in love, and mourned loved ones. As I moved to various Boston neighborhoods, the branch libraries have allowed me to learn about my community and about myself as an artist and as a citizen. This project is my way of saying ‘thank you’ - to the library and its people for what they do for people like me every day,” said Steve Locke, City of Boston Artist-in-Residence.
Memory books will be available for patrons to record library memories at the main reference desk of each installation library and at the Information Desk in the McKim building at the Central Library. Postcards explaining the project will be made available to take and use, and patrons are also encouraged to share their memories via social media using the hashtags #bplMemories and #BostonAIR.
“This project, through the Boston AIR program, will shine a light on the formative role libraries can play in our lives as centers of learning and culture,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, interim Chief of Arts and Culture. “We’re excited to see how this project inspires people to reflect on those experiences and connect to their local branches.”
The schedule for the banner installations is as follows:
July – October – Central Library in Copley Square
August – Adams Street, Charlestown, South Boston, Hyde Park branches
September – Lower Mills, West Roxbury, Honan-Allston, West End branches
October – Codman Square, Egleston, Brighton, Fields Corner branches
Steve Locke is a Boston-based visual artist, raised in Detroit, Michigan. He received a B.S. in 1984 from Boston University, a B.F.A. in 1997, and an M.F.A. in 2001 from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2002. He has received grants from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, The Art Matters Foundation, and the LEF Foundation Contemporary Work Fund Grant. His solo exhibition, "there is no one left to blame," was curated by Helen Molesworth for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. His practice is rooted in portraiture, language, and the discursive power of nature. Currently a tenured professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Locke has been included in group shows all over the world, and his work is in the collections of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
About the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC)
The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture's mission is to support artists, the cultural sector, and to promote access to the arts for all. The office houses the Boston Cultural Council, the Boston Art Commission, and the Poet Laureate program. Responsibilities include implementing the City's cultural plan, Boston Creates; commissioning public art, managing the Boston Artist-in-Residence program; curating exhibitions in City Hall; and operating the historic Strand Theater in Dorchester. For more information go to: www.boston.gov/departments/arts-and-culture.
About Boston AIR
Boston AIR is the City of Boston’s first artist residency program. Through AIR, artists research the city policies, processes, and practices that impact our communities. Working with subject matter experts through the City and constituents through community centers and other partners, they each have one year to develop civic practice art projects. Together, the artists are exploring Boston's systems, applying a lens of resilience and racial equity, and investigating the question "Can artists change the city?" Visit www.boston.gov/boston-air to learn more.
About BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
Boston Public Library provides educational, cultural and civic enrichment, free to all, for the residents of Boston, Massachusetts and beyond, through its collections, services, programs, and spaces. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library is a pioneer of public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. As a City of Boston historic cultural institution, Boston Public Library today features a Central Library, twenty-five branches, a map center, business library, archival center; extensive special collections of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, and prints; and rich digital content and online services. The award-winning renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square, completed in 2016, together with new, renovated and historic branches, provide a transformed library system for the next generation of users. Boston Public Library enriches lives, hosting thousands of free educational programs and exhibitions, and provides free library services online and in-person to millions of people each year. To learn more, visit bpl.org.