“It’s got to be a woman,” was my response to Paul Ramirez Jonas’s question of who would lead Now + There’s next public art project.
I remember the day clearly. He and I were perched on top of the Public Trust marquee during looking down at the green grass and the sea of faces in Copley Square squinting back up to read the latest posted promise.
And then, silently, I said to myself, “a feminist who supports the production of knowledge and an artwork that aims to support social change.” At the time of our conversation, my social media bubble was “With Her” and it seemed likely that the United States would elect its first female president, Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton.
In the end, Now + There’s decision to support female artists in 2017 became timelier than we could have anticipated. Since December 2016, we have enthusiastically supported five female artists – most who’d proudly declare themselves feminists – with financial and technical assistance in the early stages of their concepts for complex and large-scale projects.
One artist researched a training regimen and dance production with girls that would promote new models for adapting to threats, both social and environmental – think learning to live together under water! And one project is so ambitious it aims to break a Guinness world record (#GirlPower)!
With the exception of Ann Lewis who will begin working with women residents at McGrath House (a “re-entry” facility for incarcerated women serving the last six-months of their prison sentences) in June, the artists’ projects are still under wraps as they continue in the early stages of conception, which includes everything from engaging with local community members to designing educational programming, to seeking public permits for outdoor spaces.
Stay tuned for more updates on these works as they grow, change, and unfold.