An installation of vibrant fabric panels -- inspired by prayer flags -- printed with meditative drawings created by artist and visual storyteller Nilou Moochhala while ACAC Artist in Residence (Spring, 2021). Half of the drawings were created in response to interviews with 50 diverse community residents; these bear "touchstone" words that captured a central theme or experience in the pandemic stories shared with Nilou, who chose a site in the woods to offer a place for healng & reflection.
This youth-led version of Tom Starr's regional public art project calls attention to the impact of climate change on Arlington by imagining critical moments in our future and "commemorating" them with markers modelled on those found marking historic sites along an interpretive trail.
During the pandemic, the Department of Planning & Community Development set up public parklets to support local restaurants and cafes with outdoor dining space. Three were transformed. Former Boston artist -- now living in California -- Cheryl Sorg's op art eyes are shown here, meticulously constructed from brilliant colored tape. Four other projects were made using repurposed scrap vinyl by artists, middle school students, and the members of a local Girl Scout troop.
Two shots from painting day for Haiku in the Heights, a community poetry project. Everyone in Arlington was invited to write haiku inspired by the neighborhood of Arlington Heights. A jury picked over 35, and these were handpainted by a terrific group of volunteer artists with encouragement and assistance from renowned sign painter, artist Kenji Nakayama.
client: Arlington Commission for Arts & Culture and Lexington Council for the Arts
Cecily Miller developed four new initiatives during her consulting work with the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture (ACAC) and community partners in 2021.
REFLECTING ON OUR PANDEMIC FUTURE
Cecily invited Nilou Moochhala to develop her personal meditative drawing practice – started during the COVID-19 Pandemic – into a public art project. Working in an Artist-in-Residence position, Nilou developed an installation in Menotomy Rocks Park based on her drawings and on new drawings created in response to 50 interviews with diverse community members. The project was funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and individual donations.
CLIMATE FUTURES ARLINGTON
Cecily worked with colleague Rachel Oliveri, Coordinator of the Arlington Public Schools Sustainability Initiatives, to develop a youth-led version of Northeastern Professor Tom Starr's regional project, Remembrance of Climate Futures. 12 High school interns developed markers that imagine future events in the climate crisis. The interns created a temporary wheatpaste version o the markers for the Fox Library in October. Longer term aluminum markers will be installed in the spring of 2022. Read more about this project on the awesome project website built by the interns. Funded by a grant from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and organized by ACAC in collaboration with the Arlington Department of Planning and Community Development.
HAPPY PARKLETS - summer 2021
As part of a "Spruce Up Arlington: Get Your Sparkle On" campaign Cecily enlisted artists in improving orange plastic barriers with scrap vinyl and other materials. PHOTO: installation by California artist Cheryl Sorg.
STOREFRONT POETRY: HEIGHTS HAIKU - summer 2021
Storefront businesses in Arlington Heights were filled with haiku written by people ranging in age from 6 to more than 90 years old. Some were about nature, some focused on friends or family, and many featured food! The poems -- selected by jury -- were handpainted by artistic volunteers; renowned sign painter and artist Kenji Nakayama gave a lettering workshop to get everyone started, and helped everyone through two weekends of painting. The project brought hope, humor, and vibrancy to a small business neighborhood hit hard by COVID.
LEXINGTON HAIKU - summer 2022
Working with the Lexington Council for the Arts and organizing partner Laurie Bogdan, Cecily recreated her storefront poetry project in Lexington Center. Once again artist and sign painter Kenji Nakayama worked with community artists and volunteers to paint haiku celebrating this vibrant local business center. We organized a community wide haiku contest, held several workshops taught by Brad Bennett and Jessie Brown; a professional jury of three poets selected which poems to feature. Partners included Carey Memorial Library and the Lexington Historic Society, which hosted a festive reading open to all participating haiku poets!
WE'RE ON TV!
Arlington Community Media's "Talk of the Town" has covered 2021 projects in two comprehensive studio shows. Watch them here:
Nilou Moochhala/Talk of the Town