This project marks a critical transition point and growth in Cave’s practice in public space. Themes of togetherness, assemblage, and finding joy in sadness are hallmarks of Cave's civic-minded work. Augment evolves Cave's interest in how bodies navigate civic spaces by engaging dedicated community partners and brokering thoughtful relationships with stakeholders in the neighborhoods where the artwork will be presented.
By partnering with Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI) to host and facilitate a series of workshops designed to explore how we can come together to spread joy across communities Augment purposefully and thoughtfully engages with the spatial justice work DS4SI has been doing in Upham’s Corner over the last 8 years. At a time when the City of Boston has labeled Upham’s a new “Arts and Innovation District”, DS4SI seeks to mobilize local artists, organizations, and residents to imagine and prototype what the district could be like if it prioritized local cultures, communities and artists.
Over 5 months, DS4SI and local artists Destiny Polk, L’Merchie Frazier, Barrington Edwards and Wilton Tejeda led collage workshops at Upham’s Corner community sites like the local library, churches, schools and community programs, gathering over 100 collages based on the prompt “what brings you joy?” Each workshop fostered increased dialogue around public space, public art, and how joy is profoundly personal but also collective, shared and cultural.
In addition, DS4SI and Wilton Tejeda brought a mobile collage cart out on the streets to engage passers-by who might not know about the workshops or the upcoming installation.
The images shared and stories told are being used as the basis for the building wrap at 555 Columbia Avenue, where the sculpture will ultimately be installed. The collages are also being exhibited in local businesses and on public light post flags. To Lori Lobenstine, DS4SI Program Design Lead, this public work is critical: “We want people to know this is coming and to feel a part of it. Each workshop was not just a chance to come together and express what brings us joy, but a chance for the community to hear about Nick Cave and what was coming to Upham’s.”
Local artist partners:
L'Merchie Frazier is a fiber artist, holographer and poet, has served as Director of Education and Interpretation for the Museum of African American History, Boston/Nantucket for fifteen years, was an inaugural Boston Artist in Residence and a Destination Upham's artist with DS4SI.
Barrington Edwards has been an artist and community activist in Boston for over four decades. He holds a BFA in Communication Design and a MSAE in Art Education from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and is currently a member of the Visual Arts faculty at the Boston Arts Academy. He is a Surdna and an Expressing Boston fellow, a publisher of comics and graphic media and works as a freelance artist and consultant. Barrington is a member of the Boston Comics Roundtable, a co-founder of Comics in Color (an affinity group for nerds of color), active with DS4SI, and with the Black Speculative Arts Movement. He currently works to develop his practice as an art maker and social practice developer in concert with his teaching practice.
Destiny Polk is the founder of Radical Black Girl, a multi-media artist, Destination Upham's artist, and currently a resident artist at Hibernian Hall’s new artist residency program.
Wilton Tejeda is a visual artist, MassArt student, former ExpressingBoston Public Art Fellow at DS4SI, and a mentor at Artists for Humanity (AFH).
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