Past Artist Residents

Shaka Dendy | June 3–August 23, 2019 PDF Print E-mail

Shaka Dendy
June 3–August 23, 2019

Opening Reception | Unveiling of Gestures of Incompleteness, free and open to the public

BCA Public Plaza, South End
In front of 551 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116
Thursday, August 8 | 6–9 pm

Gestures of Incompleteness

Shaka Dendy’s 2019 Public Art Project Gestures of Incompleteness is motivated by the artist’s intention to take his artwork outside of the gallery or museum setting and instead, to make it as accessible as possible by meeting people where they already are­—including the BCA’s public, outdoor Plaza in the South End and in community centers in nearby city neighborhoods. For Dendy, it is equally important to share the idea that anything can be art—even community service—so we can broaden the horizon of artistic possibilities beyond painting and marble statues.

While in residence in Boston Center for the Arts’ Artist Studios Building from June 3–August 23, 2019, Dendy will organize a series of public basketball drives, where kids can sign up to trade in a used basketball for a brand new one, with the used balls finding new life as part of a large scale public sculpture to be located on BCA’s public Plaza from August 8–November 10, 2019.

The specific style of this project, integrating basketballs as a motif into performative work and sculpture, is a continuation of Dendy’s use of art installations and performance centered around basketball as a way to discuss racial and personal identity, socioeconomic mobility, and the commodification of the body. With this project, he is particularly interested in exploring the symbolic and formal relationships between the basketball and the milk crate. For Dendy, not only are milk crates often used as stand-ins for basketball hoops when people do not have access to or money for one; there is also an implicit suggestion that, should one learn to manipulate a basketball well enough, they could attain a socioeconomic status which would allow them to never interact with milk crates and their proletariat associations.

Overall, this project is primarily about giving back to the community through art and in direct, tangible ways, while making sure the community is acknowledged and included in the public art that will inhabit their space. In Gestures of Incompleteness, Dendy’s milk crate sculptures stand as monuments to the act (the basketball drives). Their incompleteness is a nod to the necessity of community in public art, the fact that this project is incomplete without the inclusion of the community.

Public events

Basketball Drives | Info and sign-up; free and open to the public.

BCA Public Plaza, South End
In front of 551 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116
Thursday, July 11 | 4–6:30 pm
Friday, July 12 | 4–6:30 pm

Yawkey Boys & Girls Club of Roxbury
Open exclusively to Club members
Monday, July 22

Black Market, Dudley Square
2136 Washington Street, Roxbury, Massachusetts 02119
Friday, July 26 | 12–3 pm

Bodega, Back Bay
6 Clearway Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Friday, August 2 | 12–4 pm

Opening Reception | Unveiling of Gestures of Incompleteness, free and open to the public

BCA Public Plaza, South End
In front of 551 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116
Thursday, August 8 | 6–9 pm

Special thanks to Randi, Andrew, Jean, Cera, Paula, Phyllis, and all the BCA staff involved in this project; Lavell Burton and the Yawkey Boys & Girls Club of Roxbury; Oliver, Mike, Dan, Matt, Ricky, Eddie, Eddie, and the entire Bodega team; Hallie, Betsey, and Nohemi at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston; and Kai, Christopher, and Milkshaw at Black Market Dudley for all of your support and hospitality. Thank you to Charlene Sears-Tolbert, Vicky O’Grady, Darlene Dykes, and Ronnie Slayman for donating new basketballs. Thank you to Chris, Liv, and the rest of the install team. Thank you to my friends, colleagues, and mentors who have helped me to and through this project.

New Basketball Donors
Charlene Sears-Tolbert, Vicki O’Grady, Darlene Dykes, Ronnie Slayman

Old Basketball Donors
BCA Plaza 7/11 Grey, Myles, David, Lilliana, members of IBEW Local 103 Boys & Girls Club 7/22 Ariana-Jade, Savannah, Tamryn, Hamida, Wesley, Maison, Braydon, Tate, Hatee, Brianna, Za’Nii, Mari, Na’Riyah, Kendra, Niema, Yolanda, Joy, Ibrani, Mon, Devin, AJ, Geovanny, Naami, Kheirah, Rosalis, Jayla, Wayne, Kastin, Lanie, Isaiah, Kyron, Rebecca, Yankarolos, Levan, Donta, Saerah Black Market 7/26 Jahziel, Abdiqadir, Elmi Bodega 8/2 Stewart, Gavi, Shay, Stephen, Brandon, Richie, Dart Adams

Kim Smith | Winter/Spring 2019 Visual Artist Resident PDF Print E-mail

Kim Smith
Winter/Spring 2019 Visual Artist Resident
January 28–May 10, 2019

Image courtesy of Kim Smith
Image courtesy of Kim Smith

We stare at our impersonal maps, hands holding our phone, and our necks craned down, cutting off the rich world around us and locking us into an isolated, virtual representation. We so often experience our world from this vantage point, as a dot following a path on an aerial projection. With our technological tools, often we become passive participants—we look to our technological tools to guide our behavior, and create default modes.

During her Spring 2019 Visual Artist Residency, artist Kim Smith explores our world from a creative cartographic lens—creating map-like artifacts and documenting new ways of exploring neighborhoods with community participants. Her work is process-based, relying heavily on continuous engagement with place, the people and community.

Public programs will include community walking tours that expand on creative and unexpected ways of navigating the city, and map-making activities for ages 8 to 80 that allow participants to create meaningful expressions of the place around them.

Over the course of her residency at BCA, Smith will collect and create new artifacts of map-making of the South End and surrounding area, contributing to an ongoing durational piece that intersects the experience of place with time, and maps the creative process over the course of the residency. In the process, she aims to reveal something about the interactions between people and place in a new way, while inspiring new appreciation and participation in the city.

Public Event dates (subject to change)

Personal Geography: Community Walking Tour Saturday, March 30 | 2–3:30 pm

Personal Geography: Artist’s Talk Wednesday, April 24 | 6–7:30 pm

Woomin Kim | Fall 2018 Visual Artist Resident PDF Print E-mail

Woomin Kim
Fall 2018 Visual Artist Resident
September 10–December 21, 2018

Woomin Kim creates landscapes of urban anthropology using donated objects from local residents. Her recent projects have included building a large scale loom and using it to weave together locally collected objects, and weaving jewelry from antique stores with wool, both indicative of her interest in our interactions with the objects, materials and products that make up contemporary material culture.

Woomin Kim, Urban Nest
Woomin Kim, Urban Nest: Greater Boston woods, found fibers from Greater Boston area, 2017

At BCA, Kim plans to develop a new installation that will involve building several freestanding frames based on the structure of the tapestry loom. After collecting sweaters from members of the community, she will unravel the threads and tie the strings vertically to the frame as warps. She will then collect old jewelry, fabric and small accessories from local individuals, and weave them into the frame as well. The finished fabrics will stay mounted in the original frame like standing banners containing abstract images made from various materials and fabrics.

Click here for information about the Reception for Kim’s project.

Rashin Fahandej | Summer 2018 Public Artist Resident PDF Print E-mail

Rashin Fahandej
Summer 2018 Public Artist Resident
A Father’s Lullaby multi-platform sound installation on BCA Public Plaza
July 28–October 26, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 28, 6–9 pm

Rashin Fahandej will use the BCA Summer Public Artist Residency to further develop her multi-platform project A Father’s Lullaby, to consider the absence of fathers in communities of color as a direct result of mass incarceration, its life-long impact on children who are left behind and its weight on women and lower-income families, explored through the space of love and intimacy. The project is being developed with community members as creative collaborators, if you would like to contribute your voice to this project, please visit or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to set up an interview. It was initially launched in 2016–2017, when Fahandej served as Artist in Residence with the City of Boston, and has also been developed in connection with her role as Research Fellow at MIT Open Documentary Lab since 2016.

Rashin Fahandej, A Father's Lullaby
Rashin Fahandej, A Father’s Lullaby, Variation I, Video Projection and Multi channel Sound, Data visualized graph, TVs and stereo sound Exhibition at Villa Victoria Center for the Arts

Fahandej’s project for BCA will be realized in partnership with multiple organizations including the newly formed Office of Returning Citizens in Boston, an agency supporting individuals who return to Boston after being released from state, federal and county facilities, as well as others who were previously incarcerated. She will work with BCA to develop a public, multi-channel site-specific sound installation of lullabies utilizing the trees and garden on BCA’s public plaza. The work will be created through a community-engaged process including workshops with formerly incarcerated men and other fathers in our community.

Selected Media Coverage

A Jarring Lullaby | By Matt Martinelli | July 20, 2018 | The Improper Boston

Featured in The Ticket | August 3, 2018 | The Boston Globe

Artist Residency Program 2017-2018 PDF Print E-mail

Lucas Spivey, Maya Erdelyi and Ngoc-Tran Vu

Boston Center for the Arts Announces 2017–2018 Visual Arts Residents
Three local visual artists will receive workspace, staff and financial support to implement projects that include programs to maximize community engagement.

Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) is pleased to announce that artists Lucas Spivey, Maya Erdelyi and Ngoc-Tran Vu have been selected as BCA 2017–2018 Visual Artist Residents. The BCA Visual Arts Residency Program is one of the only programs of its kind in Boston that focuses on artistic practices that foreground process and community engagement. This year’s artist residents amplify cultural and artistic voices through multi-disciplinary projects and include programming focused on artist-entrepreneurs, the refugee experience and immigrant stories. The selection of artists was made by an independent panel and was based on proposals that demonstrated unique and innovative artistic projects in combination with strong vision for community engagement. The 2017–2018 Visual Arts Residents are:

  • Summer 2017 Public Artist Resident Lucas Spivey, who will bring his Mobile Incubator to the BCA’s public plaza. An artfully retrofitted camper trailer, the Mobile Incubator is a site for dialogue around issues of art and entrepreneurship, and for amplifying creative voices from across a broad spectrum of practices.
  • Fall 2017 Visual Artist Resident Maya Erdelyi, who will develop Walk Cycle, exploring the use of public art strategies such as animated wheatpaste posters and projected images to convey the story of the journey of a refugee—Erdelyi’s grandmother—who escaped through the forests of Hungary during World War II.
  • Spring 2018 Visual Artist Resident Ngoc-Tran Vu, who will launch her Made Elsewhere project as both a tribute to refugee history and as a modern, political statement. Fascinated by the history of the Statue of Liberty, which was initially modeled on the design of an Arab woman, Vu will continue her work on a sculptural reinvention of this Arab Lady Liberty, and will produce a smaller-scale prototype for public viewing during BCA events.

These process-oriented residencies are intended to provide an environment where artists can experiment with their craft, develop their focus or test new ideas, while simultaneously engaging in vital public dialogue. In residencies that range from 13 to 15 weeks at Boston Center for the Arts’ vibrant South End Campus, each artist will receive full-time access to a studio space in the Artist Studios Building, support from an intern dedicated to their project and financial assistance.

Read the full press release here.

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