Boston Art Commission

Boston AIR




















BOSTON - Monday, October 3, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, and Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) today announced the ten artists selected for the City of Boston's second year of artists-­in-­residence program, Boston AIR. This second year of the Boston AIR program helps fulfill a commitment made in Boston Creates, the city’s cultural plan, and expands the size of the artist cohort, increases the length of the residencies, and grounds each residency at BCYF through their community centers and core citywide initiatives, such as the BCYF Streetworker Program, youth summer programs, and leadership development for young women.

"Arts and culture form the building blocks that make our city thrive. They encourage us to engage with each other and connect to the larger community," said Mayor Walsh. "Boston AIR brings this creative practice into the work of our city departments.  I am excited to announce the new Boston Artists in Residence and look forward to the positive impact they will have on BCYF.”

Recognizing and supporting artists’ essential contribution in creating and maintaining a thriving, healthy and innovative city is a stated goal in the Boston Creates plan launched earlier this summer. Boston AIR is one initiative as part of the plan that will integrate creative thinking into the work of municipal departments and planning efforts.

Through Boston AIR, artists are supported as agents of reflection, collaboration, and activism, whether through process-oriented practice, direct community engagement, and/or as leaders of system-wide change projects at BCYF and other City agencies. The ten selected artists are invited to study and expand their own civic and social practice, alongside a parallel cohort from ten BCYF community centers and other City employees who will explore methods to incorporate artistic social practice into government and community work. Both the artist and City cohorts will share examples of their work, attend master workshops and lectures by guest artists, and have opportunities to exchange ideas and co-design proposals.

The ten selected artists, each with firsthand knowledge of the cultures and communities of Boston, were chosen by a selection committee consisting of current Boston AIR participants, local arts professionals, BCYF leadership, and City staff. The artists are:

  • Salvador Jimenez-Flores, an interdisciplinary artist born and raised in Jalisco, México. Jiménez­-Flores is currently participating in a two year-­long artist residency at the Ceramics Program – Office for the Arts at Harvard. He is also Resident Teaching Artist at Urbano Project and instructor at both Wheelock College and Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

  • Maria Molteni, a multimedia artist, educator, and organizer who has lived and worked in Boston for the past 15 years. From fiber to found-object sculpture, puppetry to pedagogy, movement to publication, she employs tactile and tactical processes to encourage participation over spectatorship.

  • Lina Giraldo, a Colombia-born, Boston-based artist, she explores the questions of being Latino in the US. This is why for over 15 years her work has been focused on creating messages where she depicts the fragility of our environment, immigration concerns, and community equality.

  • Jennifer De Leon has worked as a teacher in Boston Public Schools, a public speaker, a college access counselor in Roxbury, a GrubStreet Creative Writing instructor, and most recently, as the Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer­-in-­Residence. She currently teaches at Emerson and Berklee and is working on two novels and an essay collection.

  • Marjorie Saintil­-Belizaire is a Haitian-­American mixed media artist who lives and creates in Mattapan. Her work is driven by her fascination of color and the physicality of texture. With art degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Boston University, she believes the making of art is an ongoing experiment in an ongoing process.

  • Cornell Coley, M.Ed. is an experienced drummer, dancer, teacher, and public performance artist whose influences include the traditions of West and Central Africa, the Caribbean, and Brazil. Also a trained HealthRHYTHMS facilitator and certified by the Drum Circle Facilitators Guild, he works in community-building, education, and therapy. 

  • Charles Coe is an author and poet. His poetry and prose has appeared in a number of literary reviews and anthologies and has published two books of poetry. He is in the second year of a three-year term as an Artist Fellow for the St. Botolph Club, an organization that supports arts and the humanities in Greater Boston.

  • Ann Hirsch is a public artist, sculptor and educator who creates site-specific works that integrate historical and contemporary practices. Ann gained wide recognition with a sculpture on the plaza of Boston City Hall dedicated to the legacy of human rights activist and basketball champion Bill Russell. She teaches at Rhode Island School of Design.

  • John A. Walsh tells stories with and pictures. John is the co-author and illustrator of the graphic novel The Bad Times, a story of love and friendship set during the Irish Famine. His graphic narratives often explore the intersection of racism, religious bigotry, and immigration. John lives in Boston with his wife and daughter.

  • Rashin Fahandej is a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker whose projects include feature documentaries, video-sound installations, photo, sculpture, and painting. Fahandej is currently teaching at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Bunker Hill Community College, Emmanuel College, and a research fellow at the MIT Open Documentary Lab where she is researching new forms of documentary filmmaking and developing a transmedia project based on the narratives and stories in the city of Boston.

Each artist will be awarded a $22,500 stipend for a nine-month-long residency to develop and test ways that creative approaches can meaningfully impact the work of the public sector and society at large. Each artist will be paired with one of ten designated BCYF community centers and provided a studio space at that center.

"When we began the Boston Artists in Residence program, we hoped that by embedding the artists in City Departments  it would bring creative thought to municipal problem solving and project implementation,” said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. “The work of our first three Artists in Residents exceeded our expectations.This time, we hope to have the same impact on the work being done by Boston Centers for Youth and Families.”

The mission of Boston Centers for Youth & Families is to enhance the quality of life of Boston’s residents by partnering with various organizations to offer a wide range of comprehensive programs and activities according to neighborhood needs and interests. BCYF’s ACES programming framework (arts, civic  and community engagement, education, and sports and fitness) is designed to provide access to these programs at every BCYF center. Through Boston AIR, BCYF hopes to expand their arts and civic engagement programs.

The residencies will be grounded in the following community centers:

  • BCYF Roslindale Community Center, Roslindale

  • BCYF Blackstone Community Center, South End

  • BCYF Perkins Community Center, Dorchester

  • BCYF Mattahunt Community Center, Mattapan

  • BCYF Quincy Community Center, Chinatown

  • BCYF Curley Community Center, South Boston

  • BCYF Tobin Community Center, Mission Hill

  • BCYF Vine Street Community Center, Roxbury

  • BCYF Curtis Hall Community Center, Jamaica Plain

  • BCYF Hyde Park Community Center, Hyde Park

"There are so many benefits to being exposed to art at a young age," said William Morales, Commissioner of Boston Centers for Youth & Families. “We are honored to host these talented people in our community centers and look forward to seeing how their projects will help enhance the work that we do here at BCYF.”


Questions? Please contact: 




Boston Artist-in-Residence (AIR): Year One

In the fall of 2015, ten local artists worked alongside liaisons from twelve departments from the City of Boston to generate ideas for integrating art and creative thinking into City government. The artists and City liaisons attended lectures and workshops co-organized by Massachusetts College of Art and Design, the Boston Art Commission, and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. Artists shadowed City liaisons to learn about day-to-day operations, challenges, and opportunities. They built relationships, exchanged ideas, and began to explore possibilities for project proposals.

Three Boston Artists-in-Residence (AIRs)

L’Merchie Frazier, the Office of Recovery Services, and Office of Women's Advancement will hold quilting and poetry workshops with women in recovery.

When Women Succeed: The Quilted Path is a multi-disciplinary and public fiber art project. Ms. Frazier will collaborate with the Office of Women's Advancement and Office of Recovery Services to increase resources and awareness of women who are recovering from substance abuse.

A visual artist, performance artist, educator, and activist, Ms. Frazier is the Director of Education at the Museum of African American History in Boston and an artist in the African-American Master Artist-in- Residence Program at Northeastern University. L’Merchie Frazier’s project builds upon the mission of the Office of Women’s Advancement, the newly formed Office of Recovery Services, and Mayor Walsh’s vision for a thriving, healthy, and innovative Boston. Through workshops, her multi-disciplinary civic practice will focus on deepening relationships between the City and the recovery community.

Georgie Friedman, the Department of Neighborhood Development, and Parks and Recreation Department will work with constituents to explore new uses for neglected space in the city.

ALTERING THE CITY: VIDEO LANDSCAPE is a proposal for a large-scale, site-specific installation that will project video of natural elements on to existing architecture.To further the City’s mission of creating vibrant and equitable neighborhoods, Ms. Friedman and DND will work on site selection with a particular focus on areas in need of revitalization.

Georgie Friedman is an interdisciplinary artist whose projects include large-scale video installations, single and multi-channel videos, and several photographic series. The City of Boston has many foreclosed, in-limbo or vacant properties, such as lots and buildings. Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development wants to revitalize these properties through its Main Streets business district program and by transferring the properties to the Parks and Recreation Department. Via the Boston AIR program, Ms. Friedman’s project creates a bridge between municipal government and community organizations interested in improving their neighborhoods with public art.

Shaw Pong Liu and the Boston Police Department will lead a dialogue on gun violence and race.

In collaboration with the Boston Police Department, Teen Empowerment, and the Urbano Project, musician, and composer Shaw Pong Liu will prototype ways that music can support healing and dialogue about gun violence and race between the police and the community.

Shaw Pong Liu’s proposal Time to Listen will experiment with ways that collaborative music-making can create a different kind of time, connection, and space for healing and dialogue around the difficult topics of gun violence, race, and law enforcement practices. With Boston AIR and a police department recognized as a national leader in proactive community engagement, there is a unique opportunity to model innovative approaches to police-community dialogue on gun violence and race.


Press Releases

Mayor Walsh Announces Boston AIR RFP

Mayor Walsh Announces Selection of 11 Artists for Boston's AIR Program

Boston AIR Public Presentations

Mayor Walsh Announces Selection of Three Artists for Boston's AIR Program

Boston AIR 2.0 Call - RFQ

Mayor Walsh Announces the Ten Selected Artists For Boston AIR 2.0 

Press Coverage

AIR final selection, Boston Globe

Using art as city problem solver, Boston Globe

AIR Candidates, Boston Globe

Bringing Creativity to City Hall, Hyperallergic

City Government the Latest to Embrace Artists-in-Residence, Nonprofit Quarterly

Boston selects three artists for its first ‘artist-in-residence’ program,

Meet the 10 locals accepted into Boston’s artists-in-residence program (2.0)