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I commend Shirley Leung for her Nov. 14 commentary encouraging Mayor Michelle Wu to revitalize downtown Boston as the city moves forward from the pandemic (“Wu can boost downtown’s much-needed return to glory,” Page A1). Arts and culture are critical to that return to glory.

Driving foot traffic to free and open public art installations is a guaranteed draw. From sculptures to murals to performances, public art creates walkable, livable cities and places that invite conversation, introspection, and public discourse. When done in concert with the residents and priorities of a neighborhood, art can bring vibrancy and vigor to otherwise blank walls, utility boxes, and vacant lots. And at this turning point in Boston, public art offers critical thought-provoking opportunities for the city to examine its struggle with inequity and inaccessibility as we celebrate Wu’s election as the first woman, first person of color, and first Asian American to the office.

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Fittingly, Wu stopped by a temporary public art installation just days after winning the historic election. “Place of Assembly” was created by Now + There Accelerator artist Ang Li on Hudson Street in Chinatown. Using bricks, including reclaimed pavers from the City Hall Plaza renovation, the installation replicates reimagined versions of stoops as welcoming places for socializing and creating community.

We hope that moment on the stoop furthers Wu’s vision for the city that Leung describes: “an opportunity to reimagine downtown and help fulfill her agenda to create a more equitable city, one with more child care centers, businesses owned by Black and brown entrepreneurs, housing, and arts and culture.”

Kate Gilbert

Executive director

Now + There

Boston