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City holds first-ever Artist Fellowship Awards ceremony


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Arts and Culture

Last week was a momentous step for Boston Creates and the City’s arts community, as the City of Boston held its first-ever Artist Fellowship Awards ceremony and granted five local artists $10,000 to help them advance their careers and further contribute to Boston’s artistic identity.

A key element of the Boston Creates cultural plan has always been investment in the arts and local artists, and it’s great to see such significant efforts being made to support their work. The five artists chosen to receive the Artist Fellowship Awards represent the diversity, talent, and uniqueness of Boston’s larger arts community extremely well, and their dedication to increasing the vibrancy of this community is admirable.

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From left to right: Mayor Walsh, Marilyn Arsem, Michelle Fornabai, Dariel Suarez, Julie Burros, Mary-Jane Doherty, and Councilor At-Large Annissa Essaibi George.

Marilyn Arsem, a performance artist from Jamaica Plain, is a founding member of the esteemed collaborative arts group Mobius, which has helped bring so many fantastic artists and performers to Boston. She has performed all over the world, including a 100-day performance at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts that focused on the topic of time.

Mary-Jane Doherty is a Back Bay filmmaker who has been particularly influential in her education role at Boston University, where she teaches students the art of the Narrative Documentary. She has also traveled all over the world, capturing everything from Cuba’s renowned ballet industry to the Boston Children’s Chorus.

Michelle Fornabai is a conceptual artist who uses ink and concrete to shape ideas, thoughts, and feelings that cannot be illustrated in other media. She is involved in a decade-long project called Concrete Poetry, where she uses these materials to create ten conceptual acts that all focus on different themes.

Jason Palmer is a trumpeter, composer and educator whose contributions to Boston’s jazz world have been extremely influential. A Roslindale resident, Palmer hopes to start a big band and organize a jazz festival in his hometown.

Dariel Suarez, a Brighton resident who emigrated from Cuba in 1997, is a writer who uses his cultural experiences, heritage and traditions to explore the history of Cuba and its relationship with the United States. Having completed several short stories and a novel, Suarez is currently working on his second novel.

Having received over 300 applications during the first year of this fellowship, it’s evident that there’s no lack of talent and diversity in Boston’s artists. Now, it’s all about supporting these artists and elevating them to their fullest potentials, so they can use their talent to help improve Boston as a whole. The 2017 Artists Fellowship Awards were a huge step in the right direction for the City of Boston, and we are proud to announce that this program will continue in the future.