Whenever a new issue of Boston Art Review hits the shelves, I can hardly take a breath before someone asks, “Jameson, what’s the next issue going to be about?” I’m usually hesitant to share news prematurely, but before Issue 04 was even a twinkle in our eye, we knew it was going to be centered around public art.
Why now? Because there has never been a better time to devote 150 print pages to public art in Boston. We were told the theme was “ambitious” and that there was “no way a topic like public art could ever be covered.” We didn’t let that stop us. Instead, we contemplated ways we could adequately provide space and coverage for a sprawling network of public artists, organizations, curators, writers, and community leaders. Rather than attempting to provide a comprehensive guide, overview, or history on public art in Boston, we are using Issue 04 to provide a snapshot of our city’s “here and now.” As lovers of print, we hope this issue can be used as a tool for future researchers, practitioners, and community members to get a glimpse of what public art in Boston looks like in this moment.
Ultimately, we wanted to make a bold statement about the significant impact of public art in Boston. As it stands, Boston Art Review is the only print and online publication committed to facilitating discourse around contemporary art in Boston. We welcome submissions of critical perspectives, reviews, artist interviews, personal essays. In our mission statement, we highlight that the publication seeks to foster inter-institutional and city-wide discourse that attempts to break down silos. As we continue to bridge the gaps between coverage, criticism, and community engagement, we are careful not to create a sense of cultural homogeneity. Rather, we seek to elevate and give space to underrepresented voices, perspectives, and subcultures under the umbrella of contemporary art and culture in Boston and beyond.
I like to be honest with my friends and community, so I’ll be honest with the readers at Now + There, too. Running a print publication is some of the hardest, yet most rewarding work out there. At Boston Art Review, we’re powered by an all-volunteer team of editors, designers, writers, and organizers. Oftentimes, we need a little extra support from our community to keep this labor of love going.
When we opened submissions for Issue 04: The Public Art Issue, our friends at Now + There were our first call from a long list of dream-team collaborators. Together, we brainstormed ways in which we could expand the dialogue of this issue to include even more voices, perspectives, and communities.
As a result of our conversations, Now + There generously offered stipends for six writers to contribute to Issue 04. This is something we’ve never been able to do before. With sky-high printing costs, we’ve had the pleasure of working with writers that care about publishing and this community enough to donate their hard work often without ever batting an eye. While we’re often blown away by the generosity of our contributors, we know this is not sustainable. Journalism, reporting, and criticism are crucial to our arts ecosystem, but oftentimes, independent publishers struggle to sustain the labor that goes into arts writing.
With the support from Now + There, we were able to compensate six writers from a collaborative call for submissions process. We were pleased to set aside stipends that could support writing from diverse, multifaceted voices that don’t always have a seat at the table when massive development plans for public art are made. The voices around the table are often white and often male. This is why we partnered with Now + There to further a dialogue that looks more like the Boston community we know and love. Those overlooked voices might include young people, students, people of color, people from indigenous backgrounds, LGBTQIA identifying people, individuals from varying economic backgrounds, artists and organizations outside of metro Boston, and many more communities. In our partnership with Now + There, we sought to provide space for individuals who might fall into one of these categories, and we are pleased to present writing that is more representative of our rich community.
The Now + There featured writers are just a fraction of the contributors, artists, and collaborators you’ll find in Issue 04 when it hits the shelves this Fall. We can’t reveal too many more secrets about Issue 04 yet, but trust us—you don’t want to miss this one. Read more about the featured contributors here:
Anulfo Baez is a citizen critic, filmmaker and writer passionate about art, architecture and the
built environment. He has written for Take Magazine, Big Red & Shiny, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and The Boston Society of Architects among other outlets. Anulfo holds degrees in Community Planning and Development from the University of New Hampshire and in the History of Art and Architecture from Boston University. Sneakers, brutalist architecture and mid-century modern design are some of his favorite things. He lives and works in Medford.
Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate) is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice follows various strands, merging cultural imperatives, pure expression, and exploration of materiality, with a response to past, present, and future matters. Erin is concerned with creating a powerful presence of Indigeneity in the arts and sciences to invoke an evolution of thought and practice in societal instruments that are aligned with the cycles of the natural world and the potential of humanity.
Erin graduated from the Art, Culture and Technology program at MIT and studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts and The Evergreen State College. Her work has received attention from diverse audiences, and been exhibited nationally and internationally, recently at the US Pavilion, La Biennale Architettura di Venezia 2018, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Northwest Art. Erin was awarded the 2019 Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts, 2nd prize, is a 2017 First Peoples Fund fellow and a 2019 MIT. Solve Indigenous Communities fellow. She received her first public art commission for “Resilience: Anpa O Wicahnpi/ Dakota Pride Banner” from the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture.
Arielle Gray is a Boston based writer and multi-media artist. She is the current Arts Engagement Producer for The ARTery, WBUR's Arts and Culture team. Her freelance writing has appeared in VICE, Bustle, Huffington Post, Afropunk and The Black Youth Project.
Most of her work focuses on the intersection of being queer and Afro-Caribbean, while living with a mental illness. Her exhibit "Dreams and Tings" with VSA Massachusetts explores these intersections in nuanced depth.
She is the co-founder of the literary organization, PRINT AINT DEAD and is on the board of What's On Your Mind Inc., a mental health organization centering the experiences of POC.
She is currently writing her first novel, "It All Falls Down."
C. Shardae Jobson is a born and raised Bostonian that lives in Brookline. While she still reads as much as she can today, and feels great achievement every time she finishes a book, her top 5 mainly consist of the ones she read when she was in middle school. That part of her childhood prevails as the most exhilarating time to have been a reader.
As a reporter and writer, she contributes features and articles for DigBoston and The Brookline TAB.
Denis Mwaura is an educator, writer, and artist from the Greater Boston area. With a B.S. in Art Education, he has worked at the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy as a Museum Education Teaching Assistant. His publications in the Boston Art Review and Africanah, consider the practice of visualizing and contesting racialization by artists in Africa and the Black Atlantic. Mwaura’s research on modern and contemporary art focuses on the aesthetic dimensions of blackness, and how manifestations of race are linked by the visual legibility of skin. He has exhibited artwork at the Museum of the White Mountains, and curated projects for the Collins Gallery at Plymouth State University.
Theresa Mitchell is an aspiring public librarian who works at the Massachusetts Historical Society and lives in Salem, MA. She is also an aspiring writer, but is overwhelmed by the sheer number of ideas out there. Currently, she is trying to get it together (feel free to follow along via twitter at @amorous_subject.)