The Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts, the renowned craft organization based in Jamaica Plain, will receive a $15,000 Public Art for Spatial Justice grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA). The grant will support the Eliot School’s 2022 Artist in Residence project that empowers youth and community through the arts.
The Eliot School’s Executive Director, Abigail Norman, said, “We’re honored to be part of NEFA’s efforts to support public art in Boston. We are excited to join two powerful artists with our Teen Bridge program and our community to make public art at English High School. The project will bring us together on the theme of ‘belonging’ as we make our way through what we hope will be the waning of this long pandemic that has kept us apart.”
The Eliot School’s Teen Bridge program engages a select group of art-passionate teens in a year-round, multi-year program combining art education and experience, life skills, mentorship, job training, and employment, outside of school time. Its Artist in Residence program engages a Boston-based artist each year to create work around a resonant theme. Teen Bridge participants support the artists as Fellows in an intensive process of collaborative design, art making, and community engagement.
The Eliot School’s 2022 Artists in Residence, TakeOne and GoFive, are renowned muralists with deep roots in Boston communities. Having grown up in Boston, they bring lived experience as Afro-Latin youth finding their way through the city. GoFive brings a deep understanding of building community with youth from his experience teaching at Madison Park Vocational Technical High School; TakeOne adds their artistry and commitment to youth. Both of their art can be found throughout the city of Boston.
The project, “Spaces of Belonging,” will evolve from community engagement and will celebrate the beauty of community. The final artwork will be a lasting reminder of the power of creativity and the resilience of the English High School community, young people, families, and neighborhood.
NEFA’s Spatial Justice grants were launched in 2020 in response to the challenges of COVID-19 and the perpetuation of systemic racism across the nation. Two grants—Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice and Public Art for Spatial Justice—were created with the generous support of the Barr Foundation to support both the imagining and the implementation of this work. Inclusive of this round, NEFA has awarded nearly $600,000 through 66 grants to Massachusetts artists and collaborators.
“These grants are having an impact on communities across the Commonwealth, celebrating and amplifying artists and the places they care about,” said NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards. “We are grateful for the partnership of the Barr Foundation, whose continued support has enabled an increase in award funds this round.”