Three artists picked for Boston's Artist-In-Residence program
February 23, 2016
Mayor Martin J. Walsh and his Office of Arts and Culture today announced the selection of three artists for the City of Boston's first artist-in-residence program, Boston AIR.
"I would like to congratulate the chosen artists on this accomplishment and thank them for helping us to integrate the arts in our core city services," said Mayor Walsh. "Boston AIR is just one of the many ways we're working to invigorate Boston's cultural scene and support local artists whose innovation and creativity can benefit the people of Boston."
The City received over 111 submissions from Boston-area artists in response to a Request for Qualifications. A jury of seven arts professionals, as well as MassArt and City representatives, made their selection in order to create a cohort of artists with a mix of artistic disciplines and experiences, as well as evidence of work in socially engaged practices who demonstrated potential, and who have a connection to the City of Boston. The artist cohort represented a wide variety of disciplines, including dance, film, street art, and social engagement.
Over the fall, at workshops organized by MassArt, the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, and Boston Art Commission, the artists expanded their own civic and social practice, alongside a group of liaisons from city agencies, including: Public Works, Property and Construction Management, Parks and Recreation, Veterans' Services, Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Education, Policy, Neighborhood Development, Women's Advancement, Elderly Commission, and the Boston Police Department.
"Boston AIR is one of the many ways Mayor Walsh has shown his commitment to the arts, within the framework of Boston Creates," said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture. "We look forward to continuing to build strong partnerships and cross sector collaborations that will benefit Boston residents in this way."
All ten artists presented strong, competitive proposals which thoughtfullyexplored the talents, strengths, and challenges in Boston. For this first year of Boston AIR, the City is funding three artist proposals. The selected artists will be awarded $20,000 stipends for six-month residencies with a city department to develop creative approaches that can be incorporated into the work of the city. Below are the selected artists:
When Women Succeed: The Quilted Path is a multi-disciplinary and public fiber art project. Ms. Frazier will collaborate with the Office of Women's Advancement and Office of Recovery Services to increase resources and awareness of women who are recovering from substance abuse.
A visual artist, performance artist, educator, and activist, Ms. Frazier is the Director of Education at the Museum of African American History in Boston and an artist in the African American Master Artist-in- Residence Program at Northeastern University. L'Merchie Frazier's project builds upon the mission of the Office of Women's Advancement, the newly formed Office of Recovery Services, and Mayor Walsh's vision for a thriving, healthy, and innovative Boston. Through workshops, her multi-disciplinary civic practice will focus on deepening relationships between the City and the recovery community.
ALTERING THE CITY: VIDEO LANDSCAPE is a proposal for a large-scale, site-specific installation that will project video of natural elements on to existing architecture. The proposal was developed in partnership with the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND). To further the City's mission of creating vibrant and equitable neighborhoods, Ms. Friedman and DND will work on site selection with a particular focus on areas in need of revitalization.
Georgie Friedman is an interdisciplinary artist whose projects include large-scale video installations, single and multi-channel videos, and several photographic series. The City of Boston has many foreclosed, in-limbo or vacant properties, such as lots and buildings. Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development wants to revitalize these properties through its Main Streets business-district program and by transferring the properties to the Parks and Recreation Department. Via the Boston AIR program, Ms. Friedman's project creates a bridge between municipal government and community organizations interested in improving their neighborhoods with public art.
In collaboration with the Boston Police Department, Teen Empowerment, and the Urbano Project, musician and composer Shaw Pong Liu will prototype ways that music can support healing and dialogue about gun violence and race between the police and the community.
Shaw Pong Liu's proposal Time to Listen will experiment with ways that collaborative music-making can create a different kind of time, connection, and space for healing and dialogue around the difficult topics of gun violence, race, and law enforcement practices. With Boston AIR and a police department recognized as a national leader in proactive community engagement, there is a unique opportunity to model innovative approaches to police-community dialogue on gun violence and race.
The Boston AIR project is largely funded by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. Since the program's inception in 2011 and including these projects, NEA has awarded 325 Our Town grants totaling nearly $26 million.
About Boston Creates
Boston Creates is the City's cultural planning process. When completed, the plan will identify priorities and strategies for how to strengthen the city by leveraging and growing the creative capital of its residents, communities and organizations.