AUGMENT: A Community Joy Project Led by Nick Cave

COLLAGE WORKSHOPS are coming to Upham’s and you’re invited!

Our friends at Now + There are producing Augment, a dynamic new public artwork by internationally-acclaimed artist Nick Cave. The installation includes a giant sculpture made of lawn inflatables (!) and a building wrap in the heart of Upham's Corner.

For the community element of the piece, DS4SI is partnering with local artists to facilitate a series of collage workshops that will bring community members together to explore and express what brings them joy. Our awesome crew of partnering artists include Ekua Holmes, L'Merchie Frazier, Destiny Polk, Wilton Tejeda and Barrington Edwards. The collages will be incorporated into the building wrap, hung on street banners and on display in local storefront windows. Workshops are being held at the Cape Verdean Day Center, the Upham's Corner library, local schools, Bird Street Youth Center, St. Mary's Church, DS4SI and more. You can also find Wilton Tejeda out with our Augment Cart engaging residents as they head to the bus, store, or  home.

This project is in collaboration with DS4SI and Now + There. Read Now and There’s blog post to learn more about this collaboration.

The next workshop is at DS4SI and is FREE and OPEN to all!


Destination Upham's This Weekend!


THIS WEEKEND in Upham's Corner:

The Gentrification Game , Oct 25 & 26, 4-7pm (and November 1&2!)
Tory Bullock
A life size board game where players try to keep up with the cost of living in Upham’s! Tip: Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Check out Tory's teaser video and details here!

Print Ain't Dead: Pop-Up Bookshop, Oct 26th, 7-10pm and Oct 28, 12-5pm
Arielle Gray and Cierra Peters

A series of pop up bookshops and storytelling events that focus on the works of writers of color--particularly Afro-diasporic femmes. Check out their splash page here!

Onwards & Upwards Jazz Series, Oct 27th, 2-5p
Fredrick J. Woodard and friends

Featuring the Lance Martin Trio. Check out his facebook event here.

Radical Black Girl x L'Merchie Frazier of Cross Cultural Collective, Oct 27th, 7-9pm
A healing evening of visual art making, dance movement and open-mic performances. See flyer below!


Announcing Destination Upham's Artists

DU Announcement Poster-final.jpg

DS4SI is proud to announce our selected Destination Upham's Artists! Together they represent a diversity of approaches and perspectives and a collective rich in talent and vision. As we continue to work with our programming and space partners around Upham's Corner, we will update you on the exact times and locations. In the meantime, take a look at all these reasons to come to Upham's:

Radical Black Girl

Part open forum discussion, part rising talent showcase and part dance party--Resist(d)ance is a family-friendly celebration and call to action.

Hip hop, BreakDancing, Graffiti Art Shows +
Frenell Jean-Georges

This interactive 4 part hip hop event includes a Graffiti Art Show, a DJ Showcase & Dance Party, a Break Dance Lesson & Performance and a Local Hip Hop Music ShowCase/ Rap Cypher.

Pop-Up Bookshops
Arielle Gray and Cierra Peters

A series of pop up bookshops and storytelling events that focus on the works of writers of color--particularly Afro-diasporic femmes.

Melissa Nussbaum Freeman and Red Sage Stories

A multi-sensory creative storytelling tool that uses images, smells and sounds to inspire and enable multicultural, multilingual storytelling with Playback Theatre dramatization for Upham’s seniors.

Live Jazz
Fredrick J. Woodard and friends

Four live jazz events for the whole family to enjoy. Featuring  The Fred Woodard Collective, The John Kordalewski Trio, The Kurtis Rivers Quartet, and Lance Martin Trio
Community Square
Cross Cultural Collective : Allentza Michel, Ashleigh Gordon, Daniel Callahan, L’Merchie Franzier, Melissa Alexis, Tiffany Cogell

The Community Square will function as both a collectively-built 3D square and a space for community members to come together for conversation & performance.

 Afro-Futurist Interviews and Afro-Mixer
Jordan Holmes
An intercultural afrofuturist audio-theater piece featuring the voices and languages of Upham’s diverse Black community of the future--complete with an Afro-Mixer listening party!

The Gentrification Game
Tory Bullock
A life size board game where players try to keep up with the cost of living in Upham’s! Tip: Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Destination Upham's is funded in collaboration with the Fairmount Cultural Corridor, the Barr Foundation and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA).

Stay tuned for Dates and Locations!

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!

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?”

DS4SI Black History Month Series 2014

We're excited to announce the 3rd annual DS4SI Black History Month Series. This year our theme is "REEL Blackness" This series explores black creativity through film. It's particularly geared to creatives looking to explore or venture into some aspect of video, film, acting, etc.  In addition, we'll conclude the series with a special tribute to Nelson Mandela.and a look forward to how his legacy can create a "regeneration of liberation."

As usual, it will happen every Tuesday night in February and include good food and great conversation. Hope you can join us and our fabulous hosts and presenters!

Mini-Grant Opportunities @ Public Kitchen

DS4Si is excited to announce two mini-grant funding opportunities during our Public Kitchen. First, we will be hosting an information session for the new Expressing Boston mini-grant from Boston Foundation on Tuesday, October 23rd, from 5:30-6:30 at the Public Kitchen Hub (at Upham's Corner Main Street Office, 545 Columbia Road, Dorchester).

ExpressingBoston is a new Boston Foundation initiative that will celebrate the diverse cultural identities of Boston's over 140 ethnic communities through cultural flash mobs in all of the city's neighborhoods.  This initiative is a small grants opportunity for individuals, groups, and organizations that seeks to challenge and destabilize normalized notions of what qualifies as art, who can create art, how art should be made, where art should be exhibited, and how audiences should engage with art, while uplifting the rich history and identities of Boston's ethnic communities. Grants will be awarded in 2013.

Don't consider yourself an artist? Don't have 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor? That's okay!  ExpressingBoston is open to everyone.  If you'd like to learn more about applying for or participating in ExpressingBoston, please come to this information session! (Download application here.)


On Saturday, October 27th, Feast Mass will fund one project completely from the donations made towards that night's meal at the Dudley Greenhouse (15 Brook Ave, Roxbury):



Saturday – Feast Mass!

Feast Mass, Dudley Greenhouse,  7-10pm, $15 suggested donation

Feast Mass is a recurring dinner party in Boston. During the night, people present proposals for creative, community-engaged projects that need funding. Everyone votes, and the winner receives a grant funded entirely from the night's donations. 100 tickets will be available throughout the 10-day Public Kitchen.  The call for proposals is open now and will continue until the day before Feast. To find out more or submit a proposal, go to We expect the grant to be in the neighborhood of $700–$1,000. 


Public Kitchen Update

Our Public Kitchen team is working 'round the clock to make Public Kitchen our biggest social intervention yet. We are working with Uphams Corner Main Streets to secure a pop-up kitchen space that will be a resource and refuge for the neighborhood, a place where anyone can stop by to get a bite, borrow a recipe, or join a cooking or art project.

Our slate of events for the week includes the amazing Jemima Code Art Project (below), an activist cooking competition, a Night Bazaar, farmers' market cooking, and much more... 

Want to learn more, volunteer, compete in our activist Cook Off, sell at our Night Bazaar or apply for a Feast Mass mini-grant?  Find us at…


Twitter: @ds4si


Dance Court II this Saturday!

Dance Court II will be held at the tennis courts across from the Studio this Saturday, August 11th, from 4-8pm. DJ Keith Donaldson will be spinning.

(The courts are next to Jim Rice Field and across from us @ 1946 Washington Street, Roxbury.)

Dance Court is an urban research and development project of the Design Studio for Social Intervention. It asks the question, “If dance courts were part of the ubiquitous landscape like basketball and tennis courts, how would they be used?”

Our first Dance Court experiment included a sound system and DJ that we set up in the local unused tennis court across from the Studio. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, unlike basketball and tennis, the idea of a casual impromptu dance space required tons of paperwork and pre-planning. Permits were required and expected to be applied for literally weeks ahead of time. It is this sort of public space policy that can get in the way not just of dancing, but of a vibrant public life. Multiply this by the fact that poor communities and youth of color are hyper-policed, and you have a tremendous barrier to civic life. It is also an example of what we call spatial injustice.

P.S. If you are interested in bringing Dance Court to a park near you or want more info about this event, contact Kenneth Bailey at kdb [at]

DS4SI Action Lab @ Roots & Remedies Conference in NOLA


We set up our first "pop-up studio" for the Roots & Remedies conference in New Orleans this past weekend. The conference brought together over 200 organizers to think about transformative community organizing and policy work towards creating healthy, just communities.

We invited them into a creative design space and challenged them to think both linearly and nonlinearly about creating effective social interventions and cultural tactics that could support their organizing work.

Here was our Action Lab design tool before...



And after...

Other folks got more 3D with it on our less linear tables...

We'll post more photos and videos when we get home. Many thanks to all our visitors, volunteers and to The Praxis Project for inviting us!

Youth 2 Youth Action Shots...

Our first ever Youth 2 Youth Action Summit was a big success this past weekend. The exhibits highlighted work the Design Studio has done with teens around youth violence over the last 4 summers. Close to 100 participants dug in for interactive activities, Let's Flip It button-making and t-shirt design, mini-discussions and more. Thanks to all who came out, and we look forward to continuing to build on the momentum. And many thanks to our alumni and volunteer facilitators, as well as our curator, Kelly Sherman.

In the top photo Youth Activism Design Studio alum Olmis Sanchez talks about how they designed and played Big Urban Games in communities that were seen as dangerous and negative. In the above photo, she gets a group out to play!



The interactive exhibit is still open for youth groups by appointment. Please contact lori [at] ds4si [dot] org. We'd love to have you! A video of the 3-day event will be posted in the coming weeks as well... Finally, more Let's Flip It pins, stickers and flyers are available too.