Now + There is stepping into July with a new team member and new digs just in time to produce Augment, one of our most ambitious projects to date. We’re in awe of our new Project Manager Polina Starobinets who in her first month has planned, executed, and celebrated TWO project openings. On top of that she’s masterminded a seamless move of our eclectic assortment of project and office supplies to our first bonafide office space near South Station. (Come visit! We’ll be there starting next week.)
This incredible growth is made possible by the generosity and kindness of supporters who believe as we do in the economic and social benefits of a public art city. We’re thrilled to welcome the Wagner Foundation in supporting Nick Cave’s Augment along with the Lewis Family Foundation, The Boston Foundation (TBF), and a group of new friends who meet Nick last month. Meanwhile, NEFA’s Fund for the Arts, TBF, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council continue to help sustain the nuts & bolts work it takes to produce bolder, more challenging projects with every season. With supporters like you, we’re able to expand our reach and fuel our drive toward making Boston a destination for tourists seeking innovative experiences and citizens sharing an exuberantly inclusive culture.
Keep reading for more on how just one person, and a can-do attitude, can help us do that.
Introducing Polina Starobinets, N+T’s Project Manager
How do you describe the role of project manager and what are you most excited about working on with N+T this year?
I view the role of a project manager as that of a hive mind for a project. Producing any kind of event or installation is almost always a group effort. Many different people lend their hands to making the creation come to life. They have varying workflows, personalities, goals, deadlines. A project manager is a person who is aware of all of these variables. They are a leader who can motivate, inspire, and encourage...and, consecutively, organize the tasks ahead of them. This job is very much like secret agent movies. Sometimes, you are that instructive voice in a headset — talking into the ear of someone in the field and giving them information for making in-the-moment decisions. Other times, you are the one in the field, rolling up your sleeves (literally) and jumping in to assist with whatever is needed. I love the fast pace and the unpredictable nature of it. Making order out of chaos is really fun!
You come to N+T after over a decade working in the local music scene with organizations, artists, and festivals — what drew you to the public art realm and what excites you about learning this side of the Boston arts community?
While I haven’t previously been professionally involved in the type of work that N+T does, I’ve always been an avid fan of arts & culture. I think it’s in my blood. My mother was a theater actress and now a director, my father writes amazing poetry, my grandmother and my grandfather were writers, my brother is a musician and an actor. Art in all of its many iterations has always been something that was revered in my family.
There are some very interesting differences between producing music shows and producing public art installations. Off the top of my head, in music, you can see the public’s reaction to your work immediately. It’s a show that lasts a few hours and either people show up and love it or they don’t. There is this instant measure of success. In public art, you see the impact of the work slowly over time. It may take months and you may not even bear witness to exactly how the public engages with it. I love learning new things and being challenged.
What is something unique you are excited to be bringing to N+T?
A bit of the “underground” culture I think. I come from a world of music that is often thrown into the “nightlife” category as opposed to its well-deserved “arts” category. My work has frequently felt like swimming against the current and I’ve grown some nice metaphorical muscles by doing it for so many years. I think it gives me a bit of an edge which would come in handy in a time of need.
Beyond our projects, what kind of impact do you see Now + There having on the arts in Boston?
Boston has always been known as a very “smart” city, a STEM city, a place of innovation and learning. I have been working to put that “A” for “Art” into STEM for the last 10 years through my work at MMMMAVEN and Together Festival. All I want is to continue this work. I feel strongly with Now + There I have an opportunity to do so. Turning Boston into a #PublicArtCity would be my dream and I think I am in the right place to do this.