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DESTINATION CAMBRIDGE and SOMERVILLE, MA


CAMBRIDGE and SOMERVILLE, MA

DESTINATION CAMBRIDGE and SOMERVILLE, MA

Students at Art School 99 in Somerville, MA. Courtesy Alexandra Rozenman.

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or most of its long history, Cambridge, MA has been synonymous with the Ivy League aura of Harvard Yard and the stream of newsworthy discoveries that pour from the laboratories of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yet Cambridge, together with its next-door neighbor Somerville, is home to much more than prestigious universities. From poems written by one of Cambridge’s early settlers, Anne Bradstreet, to the invention of Marshmallow Fluff in Somerville’s Union Square 100 years ago, to the wealth of artist studios, gallery spots and makerspaces there today, the creativity of these communities north of the Charles River inspires fierce pride among residents

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There are plenty of ways to discover the area’s art and culture. As some of America’s most walkable cities, Cambridge and Somerville are perfect places for a walking art tour. Strolling through the red and gold leaves of the tree-lined, residential streets that connect unique, bustling squares—Kendall, Central, Inman, Harvard, Porter, Union and Davis—offers a taste of nature to balance the cultural sights. The numerous bars, cafés and restaurants whose diverse cuisine caters to international students, tweed-clad professors, hipster artists and young professionals are equally welcoming to visitors darting in for a warm treat. Public transit (mbta.com) is also accessible, as is biking with convenient

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Hubway bike-rental stands. So, put on your walking shoes, rent a bike or hop on the “T,” as locals call it. Cambridge is the “coolest city on earth,” says Jason Weeks, executive director of the Cambridge Arts Council (CAC). And he should know—the CAC (founded in 1974) is an integral part of the city’s art scene overseeing programs such as the River Arts Festival that draws over 200,000 attendees each year, street performers in Kendall, Central and Harvard squares and Summer in the City with performances of multicultural music, dance and theater. Every May is Cambridge Open Studios—the largest event of its kind in the area with over 150 artists participating.

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CAMBRIDGE and SOMERVILLE, MA Local artists can apply to the Cambridge Arts Challenge, an exhibitions program managed by the council’s Creative Marketplace initiative. If accepted, their artwork is exhibited in the lobbies of Cambridge businesses. Currently, Halstead Harris, R. Lee Post, Blake Brasher, Tamar Etingen, Anna Farrington and Laura Wolfe have their work exhibited in the Google building in Kendall Square, Mount Auburn Hospital in West Cambridge and Workbar in Central Square. Also in Central Square, down the street from Workbar, is Green Street Studios, home of Luminarium Dance Company. Founded by professional dancers/choreographers Merli V. Guerra and Kimberleigh A. Holman in 2010, Luminarium has 57 choreographic works, 18

major productions, 12 performance installations, ten films and one storybook to its name. The company has performed original works at over 80 events in New England, New York, New Jersey and on the West Coast, and was most notably commissioned to choreograph the opening for the 2016 TEDxCambridge at the Boston Opera House—the largest TED Talk in history, worldwide. Luminarium is opening its rehearsal studio doors to the public for a sneak peek of its new feature production on Saturday, December 2 at Green Street Studios at 185 Green Street. Guerra and Holman warmly invite Art New England readers to attend this free informal showing and discussion session. Please RSVP to mguerra@luminariumdance. org to attend.

Also at Green Street Studios, on November 17 and 18, Dance Currents will present One Hundred Years of Modern Dance/A Test of Time. This is a concert of nine modern dances by famous choreographers Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Charles Weidman, Donald McKayle, Carla Maxwell, David Parsons, Robert Battle and Anna Sokolow. A panel discussion on how modern dance does or does not withstand the test of time will follow the performance. Kathryn Hassinger, artistic director of Dance Currents (based in Newton, MA) started the company in 2007. Since then, she has choreographed 25 performances throughout Massachusetts. Dance Currents’s goal is to explore and express the power of human nature through dance, musi-

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CAMBRIDGE and SOMERVILLE, MA cal performances and collaboration with other artists. In addition to teaching modern dance at Dance Currents, Hassinger also teaches ballet at Emerson College in Boston. Heading east, about a mile from Central Square is Kendall Square and the Multicultural Arts Center on Second Street. Located in a beautifully restored 19th-century building designed by architect Charles Bulfinch, the center hosts changing exhibits of contemporary art including Haroon Khimani (starting November 11), who has been exhibited internationally. On Veterans Day (November 10), is the Center’s annual One Love festival with reggae music, dancing, a barbeque and a silent auction (the proceeds go to Richard Honan’s Operation Military Care Package and the Multicultural

Arts Center). On December 2, A Palo Seco, a New York-based Flamenco dance company, will tell a history of Flamenco by combining traditional techniques with a modern flair. On January 25, the Bridge Repertory Theater (the theater in residence) will have a workshop of Dark Room—a work-in-progress play based on the life of photographer Francesca Woodman— followed by a rehearsal performance and a Q&A session. Dark Room, by George Brant, opens in summer 2018. And don’t miss the Young Artists Program (January 12—March 2) when Cambridge public elementary and high school students showcase their artwork. A 20-minute walk down Cambridge Street from the Multicultural Arts Center brings you to Inman Square. Sandwiched between a Pilates

studio and a print shop is Practice Space. This 400-square-foot studio and shop is the creation of owners Diana Lempel and Nicole Lattuca. Everything in the shop is designed and crafted by women or women-owned businesses. The shelves brim with hand-painted note cards by Somerville artist Jen Lucey-Brzoza, gorgeous ceramic bowls and cups by Ariela Nomi Kuh and Meghan Flynn (two artists from Lincolnville, ME), handcrafted oils and scents from Thorn & Bloom in Charlestown and painting and drawing supplies. The pulse of this tiny space is the studio. Be sure to check out the Thursday night painting classes where you can reconnect with your inner child. “The studio is a non-judgmental space where we teach the fundamentals of art; the level of instruction is

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CAMBRIDGE and SOMERVILLE, MA based on the individuals. We start with meditation to clear our minds of everyday business. Then comes color mixing which is like finger painting—swirling the colors around and creating your art,” says Lattuca. A short walk from Inman Square through Harvard Yard brings you to Harvard Square, home to several art institutions both on and off campus. The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art on Mount Auburn Street is in a stunning gallery space designed by architect David Adjaye who also designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The Cooper Gallery’s current exhibition is Wole Soyinka: Antiquities Across Times and Place (October 4–December 21). Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright, poet, winner of a Nobel Prize in Literature and an avid art collector. Awam Amkpa, curator of the exhibit, has known Soyinka since 1979 and teaches Africana studies at NYU. Thirty-three pieces from Soyinka’s collection are on view including a Kuba Kete mask, a Ogboni sword, a pair of Ere Ibeji figures, an intricately carved Ifa bowl and Abracadabra—Government Magic by Peju Alatise depicting men hanging with their hands and feet bound with black rope. The gallery has three exhibits a year and in spring 2018, will be exhibiting the works of photographer Gordon Parks. After leaving the gallery, head north through Harvard Square and be sure to stop by Crema Café or Peets Coffee to check out their exhibits of works by local artists on your way

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Installation shot of State of the Union at 13FOREST Gallery. Courtesy 13FOREST Gallery.

to 59 Church Street and the Cambridge Artists Cooperative, CAC. Started by local artists in 1989, the CAC is an artist owned and operated gallery of contemporary American craft showcasing the work of over 200 artists from across the U.S. New work is reviewed (juried) by a panel of members monthly and the criteria considered are quality of craftsmanship, originality, salability and product appropriateness. “Whenever you shop here you will meet an artist,” says Marcia Dean, executive director. At CAC, you can find anything from a clock made from recycled books to wood turned bowls to handcrafted jewelry, pottery and hand-painted clothing. Starting in November, be sure to check out the gorgeous variety of handmade

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CAMBRIDGE and SOMERVILLE, MA

Mark Stock, CF11_1179, 2012, digital archival inkjet print on canvas, unique, 36 x 36". Courtesy the artist.

ornaments crafted from materials such as leather, ceramic and hand-blown glass. If you are visiting in December, turn right as you exit the Cambridge Artists Cooperative and head to the Harvard Square Holiday Art Fair at 50 Church Street and check out New Hampshire-based artist Matt Brown’s beautiful woodblock prints (December 15–17 and 20–23). Brown uses brushes and a hand-held baren (a flat-bottomed, disc-shaped hand tool used for Japanese woodblock printing) to create his intricate and colorful woodblock prints. He uses the traditional Japanese method of hanga which is woodblock printing by means of multiple colors and blocks using water, rice paste and high quality pigments. Nearby, at the intersection of Mount Auburn and Lowell streets is the Cambridge Art Association and its Kathryn Schultz

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Gallery. Both are housed in an 1880s schoolhouse, the oldest one in Cambridge. Every year the association holds a juried exhibit BLUE. This year, 370 artists have submitted over 1,000 pieces of their art to be juried and selected for the exhibit which runs November 8 to December 20. The association’s satellite gallery University Place on Mount Auburn Street will also display works from BLUE and from February 1 to March 8 will exhibit the Members Prize Show 2018. A multitude of artists submit pieces of their work to this juried show of which 50 are chosen for exhibition and five are selected for Artists of the Year Awards. Leaving Cambridge behind, head northwest a mere three miles to 167A Massachusetts Avenue and 13FOREST Gallery—an airy, white-walled gallery with soft lighting—in Arlington, MA. When Marc Gurton and hus-

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band Jim Kiely opened 13FOREST they knew they wanted to showcase only New England artists. They search New England for outstanding established and emerging artists to offer the very best in original art and contemporary craft. They rotate their exhibits every 6 to 8 weeks and offer public programs designed to inform and inspire creative minds and to take the mystery out of art-buying. They represent artists of many genres including painting, mixed media, photography, print-making, drawing, ceramics and jewelry design. On view until November 11 is State of the Union in which six artists attempt to explore the politics of 2017. In neighboring Somerville, MA off Washington Street (two miles east from Harvard Square and four miles southeast from Arlington) at 86 Joy Street is the Joy Street Studios with 60 artist studios housed in a converted 19th-century factory building. These non-residential studios house artists of all mediums from portrait and landscape painters to sculptors and craftspeople. Located in the studios is Alexandra Rozenman’s light-filled space and her Art School No. 99 with works of her students hanging on the walls. Rozenman has been teaching art for seven years and is a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. She uses readings, movies and collage techniques in her classes on conceptual art, modern symbolism and the history of art. Her students range in age from young children to adults. Her art resembles that of Edward Hopper, her favorite American artist. “In several of my paintings I tell a story of myself being divided into two sections. I’ve got one foot in Moscow where I was born and one foot in America,” she says. In her Falling in Love with Matisse, she has painted a Matisse-like field with houses on one half of the canvas and her home in Russia on the other half. Walk down the hall in the same building to Mark Stock’s studio. Stock is an artist, scientist and programmer (he has a PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan) who creates still and moving images and objects that combine elements of nature, physics, chaos, computation and algorithm. He designs the software that he uses to create his art. The software determines the look, colors and shapes that he will put on either paper or glass. His piece titled Droplet #7 Revisited is how he observes fluid motion in nature. Chaotic

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CAMBRIDGE and SOMERVILLE, MA Essays looks like smoke swirls. His works measure from 16 inches up to 40 by 32 inches. He has been showing work since 2000 and has been in over 80 curated and juried exhibitions. His art is on view at 13FOREST Gallery in Arlington and the Freepoint Hotel in Cambridge. A two-minute walk down Joy Street brings you to Fitchburg Street and the 150 artist studios at Brickbottom Artists Association—two 1920s buildings built as the bakery and cannery for the A&P supermarkets. Brickbottom is one of the country’s oldest and most successful residential and nonresidential artist associations. It promotes and supports its members through art openings, gallery shows and other programs. Their annual Open Studios is one of the oldest in Boston with over 100 artists opening their doors to the public. Make sure to visit both Joy Street Studios and Brickbottoms Artists Association the weekend of November 18 and 19 (from noon to 5pm) for their Open Studios Weekend. With their history, culture, innovation and fabulous restaurants, Cambridge, Somerville and their environs are a great art destination. Whether you choose to contemplate the collections of the Harvard Art Museums, explore the world-famous glass flowers at the Harvard Museum of Natural History or MIT’s List Visual Arts Center and the outdoor campus artworks by Anish Kapoor, Martin Boyce and Sol LeWitt, discover exciting new work by a local artist in his or her studio or shop for the holidays amidst numerous fairs and festivals, you’ll find Cambridge and Somerville enlightening and exciting. —Frances J. Folsom

Courtesy Multicultural Arts Center.

PRACTICE SPACE

DANCE CURRENTS, INC. One Hundred Years of Modern Dance/ The Test of Time

A storefront research studio for art and design

November 17 & 18 at 8 pm Green Street Studios 185 Green Street Cambridge, MA

Li-Ann Lim in Rainbow Etude by Donald McKayle.

practice-space.com

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Tickets $15–$20 purchased through Brown Paper Tickets (100 Years of Modern Dance…)

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L U M I N A R I U M DA N C E C O M PA N Y invites ANE readers to attend its

Feature Production Informal Showing DECEMBER 2 @7PM CAMBRIDGE MA

rsvp to mguerra@luminariumdance.org

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Destination: Cambridge and Somerville, MA  

Art New England Magazine: November / December 2017