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Thursday, September 14, 2017

MAYOR WALSH ANNOUNCES SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF PROJECTS BY BOSTON'S ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE

MAYOR WALSH ANNOUNCES SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF PROJECTS BY BOSTON'S ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE
Celebratory event on 9/16 to showcase completed projects; highlight impact on BCYF Centers and community


Repainted basketball courts at Harambee Park

BOSTON - Thursday, September 14, 2017 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, and Boston Centers for Youth & Families today announced the successful completion of projects created by the 10 artists selected for the City of Boston's artist-in-residence program, Boston AIR. These projects represent varying arts disciplines, from printmaking to sculpting and more, and builds on the Mayor's commitment to implementing Boston Creates, the City's cultural plan.

"The Boston AIR program has been incredibly successful at elevating the importance of bringing the arts closer to the heart of all we do as a city," said Mayor Walsh. "I am proud of the work of all of our artists-in-residence who in their own distinct ways have contributed to our cultural fabric as a city, and who have shown that taking a creative approach to problem-solving can reap tangible benefits for the people of Boston."

Boston AIR is a core component of Boston Creates, and is aimed at integrating creative thinking into the work of municipal departments and planning efforts. In addition, the Boston AIR program is a deliverable goal of Imagine Boston 2030, Boston's citywide plan.

Through Boston AIR, artists are supported as agents of reflection, collaboration, and activism, whether through process-oriented practice, direct community engagement, or as leaders of system-wide change projects at BCYF and other City agencies.

To celebrate the culmination of the second year of the Boston AIR program, on September 16, the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture together with the Boston Public Art Commission will host an event at the Emerson Media Art Gallery at 5:00 pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the artists, see video screenings of projects, and participate in an artist panel to recognize the collective work of the cohort and their BCYF centers. The event is free and open to all, and advanced registration is requested.

Each artist involved in the program was placed at one of the 10 designated BCYF community centers, and provided a studio space at that center.

The 10 artists and their projects include:
  • Lina Giraldo (Hyde Park BCYF Center): Her residency focused on creating ownership and understanding identity using technology and storytelling. During her workshops, youth and seniors used coding and technology to build their own cameras that they used to interview community members.
  • Salvador Jimenez-Flores (Quincy BCYF Center): Taught the art of printmaking to over 100 5th and 6th graders. Through creating their own prints for Chinese fans, his residency embraced the historic and present immigrant communities that have transformed Chinatown and promote diversity and inclusion.
  • Charles Coe (Roxbury Tobin BCYF Center): Writer and artist Charles Code developed a community based story collection called, "What You Don't Know About Me." The project includes stories that highlight some aspect of the person's life that might challenge the viewer's perceptions.
  • Cornell Coley (Roslindale BCYF Center): Teaching artist Cornell Coley facilitated community drumming circles in Roslindae; including the BCYF itself and in the larger community. He contributed to a revitalization of the on-site BCYF recording studio and produced a series of music concerts in the neighborhood.
  • Maria Molteni (Perkins BCYF Center): Collaborated with youth from the BCYF Perkins after school program and peewee basketball community to repaint designs on the Harambee Park basketball courts, visually reclaiming the court for the community.
  • Marjorie Saintil-Belizaire (Mattahunt BCYF Center):  Marjorie Saintil-Belizaire aimed to reshape the Mattahunt Community Center (MCC) as an arts and cultural space to convene, engage and to better reflect and celebrate community, local arts, culture, heritage, entrepreneurship, while also honoring BCYF's ACES (Arts, Community and Civic Engagements, Education and Sports) framework. Marjorie held a series of art workshops and classes, and coordinated art centered cultural events for the Haitian community in Mattapan. In this way, her investigation of the Mattahunt has acted as pilot and a model for systematic change within the BCYF.
  • Rashin Rahandej (Blackstone BCYF Center): Worked on a collaborative multimedia project that examines access and equality through the lens of mass incarceration and how it impacts the lives of children, youth, women, communities and society at large.
  • John Walsh (Curley BCYF Center): Graphic novelist John Walsh interviewed immigrants and wrote and illustrated their stories. Through sequential art, these immigrant experiences are being presented in a new and unique way that will allow for easy translation into other languages.
  • Jenn De Leon (Curtis Hall BCYF Center): Led an exploration of racial and class segregation and its impact on education and student identify as explored through the lens of storytelling. She investigated walls and their impact on community and the power of story to break through them.
  • Ann Hirsch (Vine Street BCYF Center): Focused on making connections through public art and sculpture with many different groups of community members, especially youth. She explored the theme of hand gestures as a lens through which to explore current issues and future goals, as well as the use of nonverbal communication modes in the expression of fear, protection and protest.
In the second year of Boston AIR, the program expanded the size of the artist cohort, increased the length of residencies, and ground each residency at BCYF through their community centers and core citywide initiatives,  such as the BCYF Streetworker Program, youth summer programs, and leadership development for young women.

"One of the unique aspects about this residency is the camaraderie among the fantastic and talented cohort of creatives who made the Boston AIR 2.0 a success. These relationships we built with our communities, colleagues and the city representatives outlast the time of the project," said artist-in-residence Salvador Jimenez-Flores. "Resilient Current is a printmaking installation that embraces the past and present immigrant communities that have transformed Boston's Chinatown,". "We want to embrace the diverse groups of the Chinatown community and provide hope, inclusion, and a sense of belonging for all immigrants, to emphasize that we are all free, capable, and equal."

"With Boston AIR, the city of Boston has launched a program from which every city could benefit. It provides financial and structural support to solidify and expand the role of the arts in place making within a community, paying artists directly and providing a stipend," said artist-in-residence Cornell Coley. "Personally, I have been able to bring the healing properties of community drumming to youth and families, to support local businesses and to further develop my own art form. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive."

For more information on Mayor Walsh's commitment to arts and culture in the City of Boston, please read his Medium post, "A Culture Shift: Moving the Arts Closer to the Heart of all we do."