Artist Adam O’Day Wins Boston’s “Portrait of a City” Competition

The Mayor's Office will purchase his work to give as gifts to visiting diplomats and distinguished guests.


Transit by Adam O’Day

Local artist Adam O’Day has won the city’s “Portrait of a City” competition, which was launched in April by the Mayor’s Office and Boston Art Commission.

The new project announced an RFP (request for proposals) in the spring for two-dimensional artwork that represents contemporary life in Boston.

A few months later, from dozens of submissions sent in for Portrait of a City, five semi-finalists were chosen. Select works by artists Adam O’Day, Deb Putnam, Kathleen Douglas, Laura Davidson, and Remi Thornton were shared with the public, who were invited to vote for their favorite in early June.

“Arts and culture has always been one of my administration’s top priorities,” says Mayor Marty Walsh in a press release. “The purpose of this competition is to highlight and showcase the work of local artists, and all of their creations were great. These artists are making the city a vibrant and lively place to live.”

All the works related in one way or another to transportation. Three of the featured works show bridges around town—the Zakim Bridge by Douglas, Old Northern Avenue Bridge by Davidson, and Charlestown Bridge by Thornton. Putnam submitted a painting of a quiet snowy scene by Copley Station.

O’Day’s winning painting is titled Transit, and depicts a brightly colored scene of Boston from Back Bay Station, complete with the Pru reining from above and an MBTA train passing by below.

“We had incredible submissions and great engagement throughout the Portrait of City competition. In his winning piece, Transit, Adam O’Day’s bright cityscape celebrates the vitality of contemporary life in Boston,” says Karin Goodfellow, director of the Boston Art Commission, in the press release. “We are truly excited that the mayor will be representing the city of Boston to visiting dignitaries with an artwork by a local artist.”

As the winner of “Portrait of a City,” O’Day will have 30 framed prints of Transit purchased by the Mayor’s Office. These will later be given as gifts to visiting diplomats and distinguished guests of the city.

O’Day is a Boston-based painter with a BFA in illustration and design from the Lesley University College of Art and Design. His paintings of Boston show vivid pictures of the city ranging from skylines and brownstones, as well as scenes of P-town and unique angles of the Boston Public Library.


Check out more of Adam O’Day’s work at