Seven artists have been chosen for the third year of Boston AIR, the city’s artists-in-residence program, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture announced yesterday.
Each Boston AIR artist will carry out a year-long residency project at one of the Boston Centers for Youth & Families. “Artists will collaborate with community members and City of Boston employees through projects that explore key policy areas, including racial and social equity,” the city announced.”The artists will explore how socially engaged art processes can be used to bolster city initiatives such as climate change, immigration and income inequality.”
The artists chosen are:
• Daniel Johnson: Poet Daniel Johnson is known for his early lyrical explorations of the American Rust Belt. A resident of Roslindale, Johnson is currently completing In the “Absence of Sparrows,” which explores his friendship with journalist James Foley, who was executed by ISIS in Syria. For nearly a decade, Johnson served as the founding executive director of 826 Boston, a youth writing center in Roxbury.
• Marsha Parrilla: Award-winning choreographer Marsha Parrilla is the founding artistic director of Danza Orgánica. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she pursued a master’s degree in dance education from New York University. Now a Roxbury resident, Parrilla is a proud recipient of several grants from the New England Foundation for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Boston Foundation, among others. She is currently a dance ambassador at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art.
• D. Farai Williams: Williams, founder and facilitator with Dynamizing Equity (dEQ) and Idjeli Theater Works (ITW), is an artist, theater of the oppressed facilitator, racial equity strategist and cultural organizer. A Roxbury resident, Williams serves as a partner and racial equity strategist with The Disruptive Equity Education Project (DEEP). She is also the core-coordinator for the Network of Immigrants and African Americans Building Solidarity, and a faculty member with Southern Jamaica Plain’s Racial Reconciliation and Healing Project.
• Sneha Shrestha: IMAGINE, aka Sneha Shrestha, is a Nepali artist who paints mindful mantras in her native language and meshes the aesthetics of Sanskrit scriptures with graffiti influences. Pioneering the meshing Nepali Alphabets with American graffiti, she has shown her work all around the world. A Somerville resident, Shrestha graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Education with a master’s degree in education. Currently, she is working as the founder and senior advisor of the Children’s Art Museum of Nepal where she is passionate about designing creative learning experiences for young people.
• Karen Young: A Jamaica Plain resident who specializes in percussion, Karen Young’s passion for taiko drumming was ignited the first time she heard it 30 years ago. Young’s approach to taiko aims to inspire marginalized populations to reclaim voice, culture, power, and a sense of belonging. Influenced by Japanese-American taiko activists of the 1960’s, Young is a member of Genki Spark, a multi-generational, pan-Asian women’s arts and advocacy organization that uses taiko drumming, personal stories, and creativity to build community, develop leadership, and advocate respect for all.
• Nakia Hill: Nakia Hill is a writer and educator focused on developing writing programs for urban youth. A Boston resident with a background in journalism, Hill specializes in managing creative writing spaces for underserved youth to fuel empowerment and discover the writer within. Her work has been published in The Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, The Bay State Banner, and Sister to Sister Magazine. Her latest work is created through a non-fiction lens in the form of poetry and reflective personal narratives. The theme of her work focuses on womanhood, self-care, and resiliency.
• Steve Locke: Steve Locke is a Boston-based visual artist.. His solo exhibition, “there is no one left to blame” was curated by Helen Molesworth for Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art. His art is rooted in portraiture, language, and the discursive power of nature. Currently a tenured professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Locke has been included in group shows all over the world, and his work is in the collections of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
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