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2021 Public Space Invitational: Community Compost

Since 2014, we have sought ideas on how to make Boston’s public spaces more delightful and beautiful through the Public Space Invitational, our annual civic design competition. In 2021, we focused on the expansion of community compost in Boston.

For several years, the City of Boston has been running Project Oscar. The program allows residents to drop off their food scraps for compost at fives sites. We worked with Boston's Public Works Department on a significant expansion of the program by adding a dozen new community compost sites throughout Boston.

In 2021, we sought six teams of artists and designers to customize our standard compost bins and help us solve a number of challenges we have faced with community compost. We piloted six unique bins that aimed to address the following issues:

Visual Identity:

How do we make our compost bins distinct from other recycling or trash bins? Are there visual elements (such as paint) that can make them unique?


How do we make our bins easier to use, particularly for those with disabilities?


Frequently, our compost bins are filled with trash or food scraps that are not compostable. How do we ensure that residents compost the correct items?

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See a map of all Project Oscar sites:

View the map

'Compost, Not Trash'

In addition to creating new designs for our compost bins, we collaborated with local artists, Dr. Wonder (a.k.a Cliff Notez) and Will Dailey, to create a song that teaches people what they can and can't compost with Project Oscar.

Learn more about the artists

The Artists

Yenny Hernández, also known as Yennycreate, is a Latinx award winning graphic designer and muralist based in Boston. When not designing Yenny specializes in murals, lettering, and illustration. Her work combines messages of positivity and inclusion with vibrant color palettes inspired by her Caribbean upbringing. Through potent messaging and precise lettering, Yenny strives to leave an impression by beautifying spaces and connecting with communities.

You can see more of Yenny's work on Instagram @yennycreate.

Design for Mission Hill Project Oscar compost bin by Yenny Hernández
Design concept for Project Oscar compost bins by Yenny Hernández

Grace has a BFA and MA degree in Graphic Design. Her work is influenced by pop art. As an illustrator and painter, she draws inspiration from comics and uses black outlines in all of her work. This art is a journey of happiness that uses a visual language of humor, nostalgia, color, shape and everyday objects to illustrate that you can find joy in the simple things in life. She believes that art exists all around us and all it takes to be appreciated is a closer look.

You can see more of Grace's work on her website.

Design for South Boston Project Oscar compost bin by Grace Julian-Murthy
Design concept for Project Oscar compost bins by Grace Julian-Murthy

Sierra Rothberg is the CEO of Lusterity Design + Events, a Dorchester-based business that provides clients with remarkable design and memorable experiences, guidance in creative direction, event services and design solutions. At the heart of Lusterity’s endeavors is a commitment to supporting women, LGBTQ+, BIPOC-owned enterprises, strengthening community organizations, cultivating a network of innovative makers, and participating in sustainable practices. A collaborator by nature, some of Lusterity’s clientele has included small businesses like Recreo Coffee & Roasterie, HAPI Africa Gourmet, and TLee Development, non-profits such as the Martin Richard Foundation and the Epiphany School, and community partners such as Martin’s Park in the Seaport, some of the Boston Main Street Organizations, and VietAID.

You can learn more about Sierra's work and Lusterity on the Lusterity website.

Design concept for Project Oscar compost bins by Sierra Rothberg

Maya Erdelyi is an award-winning animator and artist. She creates intricate hand-made animations, collages, and installations inspired by imaginary realms, music, memories, and dreams. Elements in her work include: printmaking, painting, puppetry, stop-motion, bold colors, patterns and found paper textures. Maya is a Colombian/Hungarian first-generation American. Born and raised bilingually in New York City, she is currently based in Boston where she teaches animation at the SMFA & RISD.

You can learn more about Maya's work on her website.

Design for South End Project Oscar compost bin by Maya Erdelyi
Design concept for Project Oscar compost bins by Maya Erdelyi

Jemuel Stephenson is a Boston-based designer, creator and fabricator and is the founder of Fabwright Origins, a startup design and fabrication company specializing in Digital fabrication and helping creatives do more through digitally augmented workflows. Stephenson is also the creator and lead designer of AVNCI, a brand of customizable premium lifestyle products.

Claudia Paraschiv is an architect, public artist, and educator. Born in Romania and raised in Los Angeles, Claudia now lives with her family in Salem MA, where she started her design practice, Studioful in 2016. Studioful takes on a varied constellation of projects for more meaningful living, asking the question: How can we transform our world for the Common Good?

Scott Lanes is the owner of Witch City Customs in Salem, MA - a custom fabrication and architectural metalwork studio. Scott thrives on taking designs to new levels and collaborating to create original, fun, and useful works.

Dr. Wonder is the alter ego of Cliff Notez. Cliff is an award-winning multimedia artist, musician, filmmaker, professor of songwriting at Berklee University, and Boston native. He graduated from Wheaton College with a dual degree in music (voice concentration) and psychology in 2013. He then graduated from Northeastern University in 2016 with a master's degree in digital media. While attending graduate school in 2015, he simultaneously took a position at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston as the teen new media programs associate. As an educator and administrator for digital media programs and events, he began his own digital media company, HipStory.

Rooted in hip-hop, his art tackles the political and the personal, exploring the intimate consequences of a society where black bodies are easily ignored, forgotten, or disregarded. His second full-length album, "Why the Wild Things Are", was released September 11, 2019. His films have been official selections for more than 20 film festivals globally, winning five of them. In 2017, he was the grand prize winner of the March on Washington Festival and honored alongside Ta-Nehisi Coates. In 2018, he took home the Best New Artist award at the Boston Music Awards, while racking up over 11 nominations between 2019 and 2020, including Artist of the Year and Live Artist of the Year. In 2019, he became the first musician to be named Musician of the Year for Boston Magazine's Best of Boston.

Learn more about Cliff Notez

Deluxe Bandito is the alter ego of Will Dailey. Will Dailey is an acclaimed independent recording and performing artist. His sound has been described as having a rich vintage vibe while having a firm appreciation of AM rock, pop, and big hooks, leading famed Rock journalist Dan Aquilante to call him “the real deal”. Dailey's latest album, "National Throat", has been met with stellar reviews, over eight million spins on Spotify, top 20 on Billboard Heat Seeker chart, and won Album of the Year in the Boston Music Awards, New England Music Awards, and Improper Bostonian Magazine. 

Dailey, who is already a three-time winner of the Boston Music Award for Best Singer/Songwriter and two-time winner for Male vocalist, also won Artist of the Year in 2014. Most recently in 2016, he shared the stage with Eddie Vedder in Chicago, joining him for five songs for the Hot Stove Cool Music Benefit and was direct support for G Love’s summer tour. In June of 2013 he was featured on a Stephen King/John Mellencamp project produced by T Bone Burnett called "Ghost Brothers Of Darkland County" and, in that same year, also released an original song he wrote inspired by Jack Kerouac's "Tristessa". In September 2013, he played his fourth Farm Aid Concert alongside Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, and John Mellencamp.

Dailey's music has been featured on over 50 TV programs and films and is now back in the studio recording some exclusive material for fans and the follow up to "National Throat" in 2017.

Learn more about Will Dailey

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