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Ten artists selected for Boston Artists-in-Residence Program

Mayor Walsh, the Office of Arts and Culture, and Boston Centers for Youth & Families announced the ten artists picked for the second year of the program.

BOSTON - Monday, October 3, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, and Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) today announced the ten artists selected for the City of Boston's second year of artists-­in-­residence program, Boston AIR. This second year of the Boston AIR program helps fulfill a commitment made in Boston Creates, the city's cultural plan, and expands the size of the artist cohort, increases the length of the residencies, and grounds 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.

"Arts and culture form the building blocks that make our city thrive. They encourage us to engage with each other and connect to the larger community," said Mayor Walsh. "Boston AIR brings this creative practice into the work of our city departments. I am excited to announce the new Boston Artists in Residence and look forward to seeing the positive impact they will have on BCYF."

Recognizing and supporting artists' essential contribution in creating and maintaining a thriving, healthy and innovative city is a stated goal in the Boston Creates plan launched earlier this summer. Boston AIR is one initiative as part of the plan that will integrate creative thinking into the work of municipal departments and planning efforts.

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. The ten selected artists are invited to study and expand their own civic and social practice, alongside a parallel cohort from 10 BCYF community centers and other City employees who will explore methods to incorporate artistic social practice into government and community work. Both the artist and City cohorts will share examples of their work, attend master workshops and lectures by guest artists, and have opportunities to exchange ideas and co-design proposals.

The ten selected artists, each with firsthand knowledge of the cultures and communities of Boston, were chosen by a selection committee consisting of current Boston AIR participants, local arts professionals, BCYF leadership, and City staff. The artists are:

  • Salvador Jimenez-Flores, an interdisciplinary artist born and raised in Jalisco, México. Jiménez­-Flores is currently participating in a two year-­long artist residency at the Harvard Ceramics Program, Office of the Arts at Harvard University. He is also a Resident Teaching Artist at Urbano Project and instructor at both Wheelock College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and Harvard Ceramics Program, Office of the Arts at Harvard University.
  • Maria Molteni, a multimedia artist, educator, and organizer who has lived and worked in Boston for the past 15 years. From fiber to found-object sculpture, puppetry to pedagogy, movement to publication, she employs tactile and tactical processes to encourage participation over spectatorship.
  • Lina Giraldo, a Colombia-born, Boston-based artist, she explores the questions of being Latino in the US. This is why for over 15 years her work has been focused on creating messages where she depicts the fragility of our environment, immigration concerns, and community equality.
  • Jennifer De Leon has worked as a teacher in Boston Public Schools, a public speaker, a college access counselor in Roxbury, a GrubStreet Creative Writing instructor, and most recently, as the Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer­-in-­Residence. She currently teaches at Emerson and Berklee and is working on two novels and an essay collection.
  • Marjorie Saintil­-Belizaire is a Haitian-­American mixed media artist who lives and creates in Mattapan. Her work is driven by her fascination of color and the physicality of texture. With art degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Boston University, she believes the making of art is an ongoing experiment in an ongoing process.
  • Cornell Coley, M.Ed. is an experienced drummer, dancer, teacher, and public performance artist whose influences include the traditions of West and Central Africa, the Caribbean, and Brazil. Also a trained HealthRHYTHMS facilitator and certified by the Drum Circle Facilitators Guild, he works in community-building, education, and therapy.
  • Charles Coe is an author and poet. His poetry and prose has appeared in a number of literary reviews and anthologies and has published two books of poetry. He is in the second year of a three-year term as an Artist Fellow for the St. Botolph Club, an organization that supports arts and the humanities in Greater Boston.
  • Ann Hirsch is a public artist, sculptor and educator who creates site-specific works that integrate historical and contemporary practices. Ann gained wide recognition with a sculpture on the plaza of Boston City Hall dedicated to the legacy of human rights activist and basketball champion Bill Russell. She teaches at Rhode Island School of Design.
  • John A. Walsh tells stories with and pictures. John is the co-author and illustrator of the graphic novel The Bad Times, a story of love and friendship set during the Irish Famine. His graphic narratives often explore the intersection of racism, religious bigotry, and immigration. 
  • Rashin Fahandej is a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker whose projects include feature documentaries, video-sound installations, photo, sculpture, and painting. Fahandej is currently a research fellow at the MIT Open Documentary Lab where she is researching new forms of documentary filmmaking and developing a transmedia project based on the narratives and stories in the city of Boston.

Each artist will be awarded a $22,500 stipend for a nine-month-long residency to develop and test ways that creative approaches can meaningfully impact the work of the public sector and society at large. Each artist will be paired with one of ten designated BCYF community centers and provided a studio space at that center.

"When we began the Boston Artists in Residence program, we hoped that by embedding the artists in City Departments  it would bring creative thought to municipal problem solving and project implementation," said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. "The work of our first three Artists in Residence exceeded our expectations. This time, we hope to have the same impact on the work being done by Boston Centers for Youth & Families."

The mission of Boston Centers for Youth & Families is to enhance the quality of life of Boston's residents by partnering with various organizations to offer a wide range of comprehensive programs and activities according to neighborhood needs and interests. BCYF's ACES programming framework (arts, civic  and community engagement, education, and sports and fitness) is designed to provide access to these programs at every BCYF center. Through Boston AIR, BCYF hopes to expand their arts and civic engagement programs.

The residencies will be grounded in the following community centers:

  • BCYF Roslindale Community Center, Roslindale
  • BCYF Blackstone Community Center, South End
  • BCYF Perkins Community Center, Dorchester
  • BCYF Mattahunt Community Center, Mattapan
  • BCYF Quincy Community Center, Chinatown
  • BCYF Curley Community Center, South Boston
  • BCYF Tobin Community Center, Mission Hill
  • BCYF Vine Street Community Center, Roxbury
  • BCYF Curtis Hall Community Center, Jamaica Plain
  • BCYF Hyde Park Community Center, Hyde Park

"There are so many benefits to being exposed to art at a young age," said William Morales, Commissioner of Boston Centers for Youth & Families. "We are honored to host these talented people in our community centers and look forward to seeing how their projects will help enhance the work that we do here at BCYF."

Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC)

The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture's mission is to support artists, the cultural sector, and to promote access to the arts for all. The office houses the Boston Cultural Council, the Boston Art Commission, the Mayor's Mural Crew,and the Poet Laureate program. Responsibilities include leading the City's cultural plan, Boston Creates; managing the Boston Artist-in-Residence program; curating exhibitions in City Hall; and operating the historic Strand Theater in Dorchester. For more information, please visit here.

About the Boston Creates Cultural Plan

The cultural plan was created out of a year-long community engagement effort designed to help local government identify cultural needs, opportunities, and resources and to prioritize, coordinate, and align public and private resources to strengthen cultural vitality over the long term.  The full cultural plan can be found online on the website.

Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF)

The mission of Boston Centers for Youth & Families is to enhance the quality of life of Boston's residents by partnering with various organizations to offer a wide range of comprehensive programs and activities according to neighborhood needs and interests. BCYF operates 36 community centers which offer affordable programs ranging from after school, teen and girls-only programs to youth employment, violence prevention and intervention, senior activities, and recreation. For more information, please visit here

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