Boston, you continue to impress! For the second year in a row, we are delighted to partner with the City of Boston to bring 10 Boston-based artists into our Matched Savings Program.
So here they are. Working in painting, fashion design, choreography, public art, experimental music, journalism and hip-hop, these 10 artists are pushing the limits of their individual mediums and making some radical and relevant work.
Cassandra Cacoq designs and creates unique, fashion-forward accessories, apparel and wearable art. Trained in chemistry, her science background greatly influences her artistic process. She is a Boston native and the founder of QUUEENN, an emerging lifestyle brand that specializes in unique handmade accessories. The collection utilizes fresh and exciting textiles from all over the globe to create a line that embodies subtle statements and bold accents.
With a particular focus on entities that are close to extinction (both living and not), Sawool Kim paints hybrid conglomerations of animals, plants and relics that are entangled and rewoven together to form new surreal landscapes. Like in a lucid dream, her scenes follow their own logic. Fantasy and reality intersect and overlap, unconscious-ness and clarity come together and existence and non-existence explore one another. To Sawool, the world is a set of images, a visual dictionary with which to index in her work. In this way she revives what is disappearing. Sawool was born in South Korea and has been living and working in Boston since 2013.
While living in Santiago, Chile, Lena McCarthy became actively involved in the local street art and printmaking scene. Currently she resides in Boston where she is a practicing artist and muralist. Lena approaches mural painting as gift giving. Using symbols such as a pair of hands or anatomical heart, she transforms forgotten city spaces with painted reminders of humanity. Interacting with the public while working has also been a gift, allowing her design process to evolve into a more fluid give-and-take with the community.
Jesse Jeanne Stinnett’s choreography disrupts social hierarchies and gives voice to those who have been systematically oppressed or silenced. Her company, Jessie Jeanne & Dancers (JJ&D), draws upon movement, speech, and lived experience as vehicles for change. Through creative process they traverse cultural and interpersonal boundaries, unearthing new pathways of communication and connection between dancer and audience. Her dance-making practice is largely informed by her experience as a woman -- drawing upon European, British, and American contemporary dance traditions in addition to meditation and somatically-informed research methods.
Candace McDuffie is a dedicated journalist and teacher specializing in critical and creative thinking. She writes about how race, gender and pop culture intersect and is especially invested in giving a platform to marginalized and underrepresented voices. Her work has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Glamour, Teen Vogue, Vibe, Racked, Brooklyn Magazine, Fusion, WBUR, Metro, and The Daily Dot. She currently teaches creative writing at GrubStreet, a Boston-based nonprofit writing center.
Andria Nicodemou is a vibraphone player who is always searching for new sounds that push her work beyond conventional music boundaries. Focusing on improvised, experimental avant-garde and free jazz music idioms, her music is characterized as “open-ended” play, where movement, theatricality and sound are equally important. A performer at heart, she loves working on interdisciplinary art projects in collaboration with visual artists and dancers.
Sara Pajunen is a violinist and composer with training in classical music and contemporary improvisation. Her output has touched folk, electro-acoustic, tango, and sound art. Known for projects surrounding her Finnish ancestry, Pajunen’s work approaches culture and tradition in progressive yet reverent ways.
Inspiration for Gianna Stewart’s large-scale public artwork always begins with the place itself. Being site-specific, some works are motivated by the simple experience of the space, such as feeling a subtle breeze or watching the trailing hand of a passerby. Other works illuminate current events involving the Boston landscape or engage with the historic significance of a site. The ability to shape the way everyday people experience everyday spaces is what draws Gianna to public art. Her bold sculptural forms bring public attention to what often lies just below the visible surface of a place.
Billy Dean Thomas also known as “The Queer B.I.G“ is a musician who challenges the hip hop game with lyrics that align with #blacklivesmatter and inter-sectional feminism while highlighting the difficulties of growing up in NYC. Their musical career began at the age of 8 playing congas and being a part of an advanced Poetry/Performance program. Hip Hop has been a vehicle for Billy Dean to redefine their artistic identity as well as their gender identity and expression. They love re-purposing concepts, paying homage to iconic artists, ideas and images to reinvent their own version of popular culture. With music composition, visual concept and performance, Billy Dean reflects on what it means to be a queer brown female-bodied artist in what is said to be “a young man's sport.”
Ngoc-Tran Vu is a Vietnamese American multimedia and transnational artist who believes in the power of art to provoke thoughts and questions surrounding identity, community, politics, and spirituality. Her socially engaged work draws from her experience as a community organizer, educator, and healer. Through creative collaborations such as painting murals and organizing community workshops, Ngoc-Tran visually preserves stories from communities of color as well as refugee and immigrant experiences of migration and displacement. She in interested in the intersections of art, cultures and activism. With her work she hopes to establish new narratives and modes of resistance.