Boston Transit Backtracks On Public Art Cuts

First, Boston’s public transit agency (MBTA) told eight contracted artists that their planned station artwork was cut.

Days later, the agency said that the artists have been asked to keep working.

Typically, the T doesn’t run fast enough to give that kind of whiplash. Ba dum tss.

The installations were commissioned as part of the Green Line Extension, which will bring the T (Boston’s subway/trolley system) farther out into the greater Boston area.

According to reports, the MBTA initially decided to scrap the public art in their effort to cut costs for the extension project, which is $1 billion over budget. The artists received a letter from MBTA director of design and architecture Marggie Lackner saying that their work “cannot continue,” and MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo told, “it would be fair to call it a cut at this point in time.”

However, by the time a Fiscal Management and Control Board meeting rolled around on Monday, the agency had switched tracks.

Board Chair Joseph Aiello said that the MBTA told artists there are “no final decisions” on their projects and asked them to continue working.

Of course, these comments may only be delaying the inevitable. As the MBTA examines its budget shortfall, it is considering how to retrieve savings from a number of arenas, and is even contemplating scrapping the project itself.

“I’d like to apologize for any distress this has caused the particular artists,” Aiello added.

As notes, the FMCB will hold another meeting on Nov. 30, apparently “to hear about what went wrong with the Green Line extension’s bloated budget.”

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