Teens And Artist Designing Public Art For Cambridge's Port Neighborhood

11/3/20221 year ago

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Artist Marlon Forrester (center right) works with teens.

Teens Working With Artist Marlon Forrester To Design Public Art For Cambridge’s Port Neighborhood

This fall, teens at Cambridge’s Community Art Center are working with Boston artist Marlon Forrester to design a permanent public artwork for Cambridge’s Port neighborhood.

The $130,000 commission for Forrester's collaborative project, under a partnership of Cambridge Arts and the center, is funded via the City of Cambridge’s Percent-for-Art program as part of the city’s Port Infrastructure Project, which will reduce flooding and make improvements to the neighborhood’s streets, sidewalks, and open spaces. Cambridge Arts is providing additional funds to the Community Art Center to support this project, and participating students will be paid for their creative contributions and work.

“We're incredibly excited for Community Art Center's Teen Public Art Program to partner with Marlon as our Artist-In-Residence over the next year,” Community Art Center Executive Director Erin Muirhead McCarty says. “Marlon will bring his obvious, top-caliber art experience along with a unique sensibility for use of space and understanding of place. Beyond that, what emerged during the candidate search was Marlon's strong ability to understand true collaboration, and his ease at connecting with the youth who will partner with him on this project.”

Forrester was featured in the Boston Institute of Contemporary’s 2021 Foster Prize Exhibition, which honors exceptional artists based around Boston. He has also exhibited at the USS Constitution Museum in Boston in 2019 and at Boston University in 2017. He was born in Guyana, South America, and raised in Boston. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2008 and a master of fine arts from Yale School of Art in 2010. He is a resident artist at Boston’s African-American Master Artists in Residence Program. Forrester has been teaching art to middle and high school students in the Boston Public Schools for the last decade.

Forrester is expected to meet regularly with teens through December 2022 as an artist-in-residence at the Community Art Center at 119 Windsor St. to develop their public art concept. Project development is scheduled to continue through 2023, with Forrester continuing to work with the Community Art Center and city staff and continuing to include students during important aspects of the process.

Forrester was selected for the project by a committee including Randa Ghattas, Port resident and member of Port Working Group; Lillian Hsu, Director of Public Art, Cambridge Arts; Erin Muirhead McCarty, Executive Director, Community Art Center; Jack O’Hearn, Teen Public Art Program Manager, Community Art Center; James Pierre, artist, Port resident, founder of Adius Arts Initiative, and member of Port Working Group; and Hilary Zelson, Public Art Administrator, Cambridge Arts.