The Creative Force of Black History

Artists, historians and activists came together at DS4SI to explore how Black History is a creative force for imagining, depicting and creating the present and future. Listen to some amazing ideas from our panelists and audience.

Panel included:

Hosted by Beatriz E. Balanta, PhD

Assistant Professor of Art History, SMU | Meadows School of the Arts


Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, HonAIA
Professor of Urban Policy and Health, The New School
Author of Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted-Out Cities

Faith Smith, PhD
Brandeis University
Sex and the Citizen: Interrogating the Caribbean (2011)

Black Panther Black Joy

Today is the day Black Panther opens across the U.S.! Meanwhile, the amount of anticipation and exhilaration--particularly in the black community—is garnering its own coverage. (Already Black Panther is the most tweeted about movie ever.) Efforts far and wide have been organized to make it possible for black children to see the movie for free. Central to this narrative is the power (and rarity!) of seeing ourselves in a black hero.

Along with the narrative of visibility, we at DS4SI believe that the exhilaration for Black Panther speaks to a kind of affective, haptic yearning, a thirstiness for black public joy. We haven’t had a moment of joy like this since Obama won in 2008. That was 10 years ago! We see meeting this need as a political act. We see it as an intentional act of radical, inclusive joy in opposition to the default position of white public joy in the U.S.. Whether it’s symbolically laundered as Red Sox Nation, a Bruce Springsteen concert, the Academy Awards or the Winter Olympics, white public joy gets to be ubiquitous—it doesn’t even have to claim its whiteness. (And if you don’t believe this, read John Moody’s pathetic nostalgia for the white hero in his lament of the U.S. Olympic team as “darker, gayer, different”.)

After we all go see the opening night of Black Panther (and a few other nights too!), let’s be about the making of joyful black experience as part of our political duty. Let’s not assume that Black Panther will quench our thirst. That will take the building of new kinds of public life, visibility and vision. Let’s claim a radical, inclusive black joy—a darker, gayer, different joy—as our collective super power.

Home / Portal: Christopher Cozier and Friends This Thursday!


HOME Series: The Portal

How do we find home?

DS4SI wraps up this season's HOME Series with a return visit from Trinidadian contemporary artist Christopher Cozier. Cozier will present on his piece Home/Portal, inspired by his time in the Upham's Corner area, that has since engaged artists from Kingston, Jamaica to Bogota, Columbia, Port of Spain, Trinidad and here in Boston. Collaborating artists from those cities will join us via Skype, while local artists from HOME 1 and HOME 2 (Intelligent Mischief and Keith Deviere Donaldson) will join us in person. Together we will explore how we find--and make and connect--home in a time of global environmental and political crises. 


THIS Thursday, November 9th, 6-8pm

Design Studio for Social Intervention
1946 Washington St, Roxbury, MA



HOME Series continues with Future Shock Disco!


Future Shock Disco

What does home sound like? An immersive, generative and evolving sound sculpture.

Keith DeViere Donaldson (Boston) and Jamal Moss, aka Hieroglyphic Being (Chicago)
The Future Shock Disco is an immersive, generative, and evolving sound sculpture that will elicit a journey through time – past, present, and future, by enabling participants to communicate with the space and other beings within it using the universal language of music. In Mark Dery’s 1994 essay, “Black to the Future,” he asks, “Can a community whose past has been deliberately rubbed out, and whose energies have subsequently been consumed by the search for legible traces of its history, imagine possible futures?”
Sound sculptors Moss and Donaldson have created interactive sound panels that will both trigger and manipulate a series of sounds when they are touched or a body comes near. Participants will be able to interact and engage with one another as they explore the relationship between interface, interaction, and sound. The output of the interaction will be a generative soundscape, which will continue to evolve as the piece is interacted with and as participants engage with one another and create a sense of place through sound.

Location: Dorchester Arts Collaborative,


HOME Series Kicks Off !

Come check out this week-long cross-border collaborative art making intervention along Dudley and Upham's! We're so excited to be working with Chris Cozier, Bruce Cayonne and Intelligent Mischief!

 The Art Talk with Chris Cozier, Bruce Cayonne and Intelligent Mischief has a home! We will be at the beautiful Shirley Eustis House, 33 Shirley St, just behind DSNI (off Dudley St.). You can find out more at the  facebook event page  too!  See you there!

The Art Talk with Chris Cozier, Bruce Cayonne and Intelligent Mischief has a home! We will be at the beautiful Shirley Eustis House, 33 Shirley St, just behind DSNI (off Dudley St.). You can find out more at the facebook event page too!

See you there!

UPDATES for SERC this weekend!



6-7pm: Sheldon Scott, DC-based performance artist, "Artists' Responsibility In These Times"

7-8:30: Come bang a taiko drum! Join The Genki Spark in their interactive "Joy Bubble" intervention


4-5pm: Heal Flow Yoga with Ivor Edmonds from Taireiki Yoga

4-5:30pm Open Mic! Join us for dance performances by Smallie Michelle and McKersin Previlus, spoken word by Ashley Rose, Emceed by GaJah


12-1pm: Sheldon Scott, DC-based performance artist, "Artists' Responsibility In These Times"

1-2:30pm: Film screenin: Ovarian Psycos (radical women's bike crew in LA)

4-5pm Yoga with Michelle Mendes

POP ROX Pop Up Art Event June 18th!


Explore the future of Roxbury through a series of playful “productive fictions”--interactive installations that create glimpses of a more just and vibrant social and civic life. Building on the Design Studio for Social Intervention’s Public Kitchen and Dance Court, this immersive and speculative tour / activity / performance will invite participants and passers-by to join over 20 local artists in five different locations. The tour will function as both a fun and highly interactive experience and an imaginative canvas where participants can experiment with their own ideas for new, more vibrant social infrastructures.

Black Citizenship Project Updates

Event Descriptions:

Kizzy's Appeal—by a collective of artists

A performance comprised of spoken word, visual art, and dance.  This performance started from the maternal question, "Have you seen my child?"  Kizzy's Appeal mirrors the impact, historically and currently, of systemic violence that robs black and brown communities of loved ones.

Two Things –by Letta Neely

A spoken word performance that expresses the current state of black emotions and feelings amidst the backdrop of state sanctioned violence and the recent Charleston massacre

Blind Spots—by James Montford Jr

A performance to explore, expose, and discuss the social construct of exclusion and through a performative process manifest potential for change. The artist will tell several short stories about "difference" and intimating/identifying the cause being Blind Spots in our behavior.

Of / From—by Sheldon Scott

Performative intervention interrogating the 14th Amendment

Divided We Fall—choreographed by McKersin Previlus

John the Baptist was something of a biblical spectacle—a long locked, loud-voiced, wild gesticulator.

This dance performance brings his central question to mind: what did you come here to see?

Black Body Survival Store—by Intelligent Mischief

A pop-up store featuring the Black Body Survival Guide—a compilation of rules and regulations for surviving in the U.S. as the owner of a black body—and related products  

Terror, Beauty, Pain, Solace—by Marlene Smith

We know, and have been reminded, against our will, that we can hurt and be hurt in public. This spiritual intervention asks the question, can we heal and be healed in public?

Frederick Douglass—Annual Reading “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”

A communal reading of the fiery July 5, 1852, speech in which Frederick Douglass took exception to being asked to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Midnight Vigil—by Boston area Youth Organizing Project

A midnight to noon vigil asking the question, “Are blacks citizens?”

Black Citizenship Project Launches

Some weeks ago an esteemed colleague of ours asked us this hard question. In turn, we asked others. In response, the Black Citizenship Project was formed--a loose collection of local and regional Black artists who wanted to respond to the state sanctioned violence against Black bodies and communities. Our collective response is one of performance, celebration, loss, prayer, healing, dance, protest and music.



Join us...

Please join us in kicking off #dontshootinmyname You can do it yourself, spread it as a profile photo on Facebook, tweet it, put it on Instagram, etc. We want to shift the conversation. Right now it's being framed as a "black issue". It's a civil society issue. It's all of our issues. We all need to step in, step up, and say no to police brutality in the name of public safety. We all deserve to be safe.

New Artist-in-Residence Job Openings!


The Fairmount Cultural Corridor is a creative placemaking initiative that combines collaborative efforts of residents, artists, community organizations and businesses to support vibrant, livable neighborhoods along the Fairmount Line, made stronger through an active local creative economy. DS4SI has been a partner in this placemaking efforts, including our Upham's Corner Public Kitchens, Making Planning Processes Public and StreetLab: Upham's installations.
FCC and lead partner Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) are looking to hire 4 Artists-in-Residence. These artists will work with the DS4SI to design opportunities for residents, merchants, youth, and other creative practitioners to reimagine public spaces, public forms of community expression, and social interventions that increase vibrancy and community connectedness.  Artists will be based in a distinct community along the Fairmount Line, including Upham’s Corner, Four Corners, and one who will work with four local schools. All artists will be based out of local nonprofits.

The positions are 20 hours per week @ $25/hr. To apply, download the job description and application. Full applications, including 3 art samples, must be submitted by August 29th. Local artists and nontradtional artists and craftspeople encouraged to apply.

Info Session July 8th: ExpressingBoston Public Art Fellowship

DS4SI and the Boston Foundation partner to offer new public art fellowships!

The ExpressingBoston Public Art Fellowship program will offer selected artists a 9 month fellowship with DS4SI between October 2014 and June 2015. The fellowship is aimed at supporting artists in thinking through and testing new ways to do their art practice in public spaces, in ways that increase the authority which artists and community members feel to claim public spaces in their neighborhoods.  Artists will receive a stipend of $5,000 and up to $2,000 for materials for their participation in this community of practice.

This fellowship is open to artists who are engaged in a wide definition of art and public art. This includes both temporary and permanent art, as well as traditional and nontraditional arts such as (but not limited to): culinary arts, dance, street theater, performance art, music, photography, fashion, body art, game design, graphic design, poetry, fine arts, social practice, puppetry, jewelry, graffiti, fabrics, ceramics, etc.
Funding priorities include supporting artists who live and/or work along the Fairmount Cultural Corridor (map) and whose art represents one or more of their community’s rich history, cultural traditions, identities and assets. We look to gather a diverse community of practice across cultural background, age, experience, gender and art practice.

For more information and to apply, go to: http://bit.ly/ExpressingBoston2014  You can also learn more at our information session on July 8th, from 5:30-7pm.

Many thanks to the Boston Foundation for their support for local artists and the ExpressingBoston Public Art Fellowship.


ds4si website redesign art commission extended!

New art commission open at the Studio!

DS4SI is excited to announce a new art commission, open to artists and art teams interested in working with us to redesign our current website. We are looking for experienced web designers who can partner with us to create a more vibrant and interactive site for us and our visitors. For full details on how to apply, click the PDF below:

DS4SI Art Commission--Website Redesign

And please take note of the new final deadline for applications--June 18th!