The Isles Arts Initiative

The wait is over. 

“This summer, in coordination with the Boston Harbor Island Alliance, FLUX. Boston, the National Park Service, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Greenovate Boston, and the Boston Art Commission, the Isles Arts Initiative (IAI) will transform the Boston Harbor Islands into a canvas primed for artistic activation and social engagement. Taking shape across two islands and featuring an accompanying gallery exhibition in downtown Boston, IAI encourages visitors to reconnect with Boston Harbor, creating intimate connections to the water while also raising awareness of climate change through excellent artistic installations.”

-cue cinematic explosion sequence-


(Note: check out our unveiling in The Boston Globe for the abridged version)

Over the past 2 years, I have teased, on more than one occasion, that I was working on a fairly large endeavor, one that has kept me from you. But now I can reveal the project behind the #IAI2015 hashtag.

11 site responsive installations by regional artists and collectives on Georges Island, a summers worth of performances on Spectacle Island, a gallery exhibition at Boston Sculptors Gallery featuring over 34 local artists, affiliated exhibitions, installations, and performances throughout Boston, and an opening celebration featuring regional arts organizations that is not to be missed. (save the date: July 11th, 2015)

So, how did this happen?

Long story made very short, in 2013, you may remember I curated a show at the New Art Center, Pedigree. That was such an incredible experience that within my practice, I wasn’t sure where to go from working with a 19th century church as a site and a staff that humored my wild visions.

Shortly after de-installation, as a part of a public arts assessment through the Barr Foundation, I casually mentioned that for my next act I should do something outside, perhaps the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park, a place where I have spent many sunny days. It was a snowball’s chance in Hell concept, or so I thought. As luck would have it, the National Park Service was involved with this same interview series, and they too had previously voiced their desire for someone to propose something creative for the islands–and when we finally met in the Fall of 2013, this enthusiasm was confirmed.

But, not so fast.  From my experience, enthusiasm can only take you so far.

2014 was an entire year where I attended many-a-meeting, explained this beast of an endeavor, presented artist projects, and cautiously hoped that all of the other organizations and jurisdictions with oversight over the islands would feel the same sense of excitement the NPS did.

And around Christmas 2k14, we were green lit(ish). Thank you, DCR.

..the days that followed were spent singing Cece Peniston into a hairbrush and twirling around my apartment..

Once my dance break subsided, I was able to work with a group of visual artists, whose aesthetic abilities I not only admired, but were folks I knew could adhere to deadlines, work well with others, roll with the punches, and feel OK knowing that their work would be out on an island that may see rain, snow, sleet, hail, unruly kids with purple crayons for 1.5 months.

THEN I brought in curators who have experience working within the performance and music communities to structure related programming since this is an initiative that is meant to celebrate a wide range of arts making practices in our region.

THEN I read a book called Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands (which has been a key resource for this project), began taking excessive amounts of notes, and selected artists to respond to each of the 34 islands for a gallery exhibition which anchors IAI to the land.

THEN I brought in regional arts organizations and institutions I love and respect to join in on the fun.


2 years later, here we are! Older, wiser, sleep deprived, and incomprehensibly ecstatic.

So now, your only job this summer is to come to everything, and enjoy!

As is to be expected, FLUX. will be a platform for shameless IAI updates over the coming months, but I’m back.

I look forward to telling you alll about the initiative’s components, participants and sponsors and celebrating with you on the islands this summer.

More soon. ♥

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