2022 Cambridge Arts River Festival | Ripple Festival Archive

In 2022, Cambridge Arts produced the Ripple Festival, a series of smaller in-person performances and arts markets rippling out into Cambridge neighborhoods in the spirit of the River Festival. This year-long series of events built on the Stream Festival, a virtual version of the River Festival that Cambridge Arts presented during the first two years of the covid pandemic. Ripple Festival events celebrated the arts, employed local artists and brought us together, while maintaining smaller audiences and other covid safety precautions. Events included Nailah Randall-Bellinger’s "Initiation—In Love Solidarity" dance performance at the Multicultural Arts Center on March 25 and the City Night Readings Series at The Little Crêpe Café,each Friday in May.

March 25: Nailah Randall-Bellinger’s ‘Initiation—In Love Solidarity’ Dance At Multicultural Arts Center

Nailah Randall-Bellinger and RootsUprising perform ‘Initiation—In Love Solidarity’ Dance At Multicultural Arts Center on March 25, 2022. (Craig Bailey photo)
Nailah Randall-Bellinger and RootsUprising perform ‘Initiation—In Love Solidarity’ Dance At Multicultural Arts Center on March 25, 2022. (Craig Bailey photo)

Nailah Randall-Bellinger And RootsUprising present “Initiation—In Love Solidarity" at the Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second St., Cambridge, on Friday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. The presentation is a 2-part dance journey that explores the remembering of the Middle Passage as a means to reclaiming Black humanity.

Tickets are free. Register via https://www.eventbrite.com/e/initiation-in-love-solidarity-tickets-267798210657.

As part of Cambridge Arts' continuing efforts to stem the spread of covid, we will not be presenting the River Festival in 2022. Nailah Randall-Bellinger’s ‘Initiation- In Love Solidarity’ is the first of a series of smaller performances and arts markets we will be hosting throughout the year in the spirit of the River Festival while maintaining smaller audiences and other covid safety precautions.

Randall-Bellinger’s dance event, which is co-produced with the Multicultural Arts Center and Cambridge Arts, will include a live performance of “Migrating Souls” and the dance film “Initiation—In Love Solidarity.” The dance speaks to the evolving identities of women in the African Diaspora and their affirming acts of sacrifice and resilience as practiced by the sea water ancestors of the Atlantic crossing.

The evening will conclude with a talk-back audience conversation with Randall-Bellinger and dancers.

Audience members must be fully vaccinated and wear a mask while at the Multicultural Arts Center. If you do not have a mask, we will provide you one.

Dancers in ocean surf perform Nailah Randall-Bellinger's “Initiation—In Love Solidarity."

Artist’s Description of the Project:

“Initiation—In Love Solidarity” is a choreographic narrative that explores the corporeal and collective consciousness of African Diaspora people. The presentation is a 2-part dance journey, that explores the remembering of the Middle Passage as a means to reclaiming black humanity. The dance speaks specifically to the evolving identities of women in the African Diaspora and their affirming acts of sacrifice and resilience as practiced by the sea water ancestors of the Atlantic crossing. The live-dance performance and the dance- film create a dialogue between the past and present in an attempt to heal through the traumatic experience.

Nailah Randall-Bellinger (she/her) is a dance educator and scholar. For over thirty-five years, she has taught modern and contemporary classes throughout the United States and abroad at national conventions and universities. She has studied, performed, and lectured in Brazil, Ghana, Haiti, the Czech Republic, and Senegal. She has worked with film director and poet S. Pearl, and performed as a member of Karen McDonald’s New Age Dance Workshop dance company and Jamie Nichols Fast Feet, Inc. After receiving a Masters degree from Lesley University with a concentration in Interdisciplinary Studies: Dance, and African American literature, she began to focus and develop the concept of the “dancing text” as a means to explore the corporeality of dance. In 2015, Randall-Bellinger collaborated with a group of artists in Cambridge to give voice to the voiceless in the production of Stories Without Roofs: Transitions, featuring essays, monologues, poetry, songs, dance, and general musings of residents of shelters in the city of Cambridge. She has created original work for Boston-based contemporary dance company Urbanity, performed at the Harvard Black in Design 2018 conference and was choreographer for the Boston production Ragtime at Wheelock Family Theater. In 2020, she was awarded the Alorie Parkhill Learning and Travel Grant to study expressions of dance in South East Asia. Randall-Bellinger currently serves as the Chair of the Dance Department at The Cambridge School of Weston. She has been a teaching artist at Harvard Dance Center for over a decade.In Spring 2021, Randall-Bellinger facilitated the first of a series of virtual artist-led discussions around artistry, identity, and advocacy, where she presented her film works #shesstillbreathing and Women’s Work, both inspired and constructed within the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic. She most recently was a co-choreographer for the A.R.T. Arboretum project, to offer movement to the recorded walking meditation tours. Nailah was one of seven artists commissioned by the Harvard University Committee on the Arts (HUCA) in 2021 to create a new work on campus. The work, titled Initiation– In Love Solidarity, explores the resilience and evolving identity of women of the African diaspora. The production was presented to the public in November 2021.

City Night Readings Series at The Little Crêpe Café, Cambridge.


Hear the latest in Cambridge poetry or share your own writing at the City Night Readings Series each Friday in May, produced by Cambridge poet Jean-Dany Joachim and Cambridge Arts. Joachim’s long-running City Night series brings together poets, writers, performers and lovers of literature for evening readings. Join us May 6, 13, 20 and 27 at The Little Crêpe Café, 102 Oxford St., Cambridge. Each evening will have featured readers at 7 p.m., preceded by an open mic reading at 6 p.m. Sign up to read during the open mic in person at the readings. Each event is free and open to all. (See photos of the readings here.)

May 06: Luke Salisbury - Mary Buchinger Bodwell - Fred Brown - Doug Holder - Philip Hasouris

Luke Salisbury is the author of the cult classic The Answer Is Baseball, and four works of fiction, The Cleveland Indian, nominated for a Casey Award, Blue Eden, Hollywood & Sunset, and No Common War called “one of the best war novels in years” by Foreword Reviews.

Mary Buchinger Bodwell, poet, professor, president of the New England Poetry Club, and former Cambridge’s Poetry Ambassador.

Fred Brown has been a writer and poet for most of his seven decades on this planet. Inspired by people and events in his life, Fred hopes that his writing helps his audience to
appreciate our connections with each other in this fragile place we call home.

Doug Holder is a poet, educator, and the founder of the small literary press "Ibbetson Street”. He teaches writing at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston and Endicott College in Beverly, Ma. The "Doug Holder Papers Collection" is now being processed at the University at Buffalo.

Philip Hasouris, Brockton Poet Laureate, Author of three books, Coordinator of Brockton Library Poetry series "Everyone Has a Voice."

May 13: Jacqui Morton - Jonathan Bennett Bonilla - Thomas Wylie - Rénold Laurent - Olivier Appaix

Jacqui Morton's poems have appeared in Drunk Monkeys and The Mom Egg. She is the author of a chapbook, Turning Cozy Dark, published by Finishing Line Press in 2013, and a graduate of the MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles. She lives in Massachusetts with two sons and two cats.

Jonathan Bennett Bonilla, received their MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College in 2010, and their PhD in philosophy and critical thought from The European Graduate School 2021. Their research investigates the trans/queer/radical intersection of Caribbean poetry, and more.

Thomas Wylie lives in Bradford, MA and is a member of the Haverhill River Bards. He has been writing poetry for twenty years and is the author of Cold Car (2014). He is currently a faculty member at Northeastern University’s Graduate School of Education.

Rénold Laurent, Haitian visual artist and poet, based in Cambridge, 2019 Heimark Artist-in-Residence at Brown University's Center for the Study of Slavery & Justice. He started painting at ten years old, under the direction of his father, Maccène Laurent. He has also published several collections of poems.

Olivier Appaix is a French citizen of the world, traveler, having visited, dwelled and worked in many places of this beautiful planet. He has written since his youth. Poetry, one of the forms of expression he uses, comes in many forms, as much as life does. He writes in French, mostly, but also in Spanish, Italian, English, and Russian.

May 20: Molly Lynn Watt - Laurie Galluccio – Willy Francisco Ramirez - Rhina Espaillat - Deta Galloway

Molly Lynn Watt, founding editor of Bagel Bard Anthologies, with three poetry books: Shadow People, On Wings of Song, forthcoming Consider What Matters. Poet Laureate for Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement, member of Streetfeet Writers and The Joiner Institute’s Writers Workshops.

Laurie Galluccio is a poet, memoirist and vocal artist. She has published two chapbooks and a prose-poem memoir and a forthcoming chapbook will be released in fall of 2022 on Cervena Barva Press titled Not for Amnesia. She served as Poet Populist of Cambridge between 2013-2015.

Willy Francisco Ramirez, educator, poet, and cultural advocate residing in Massachusetts. He is the founder and director of La Guagua Reading Group, as well as of the annual La Guagua Poetry Festival, hosted by Middlesex Community College in Lowell, where Ramirez is an Assistant Professor of English.

Rhina P. Espaillat, Dominican-American poet and translator, affiliated with the literary movement known as New Formalism in American poetry. She has published eleven collections of poetry and is also known for her English translations of the Spanish language Christian poetry of St. John of the Cross, 1542-1591.

Deta Galloway is a mixed-media artist, performer, and poet. She is a performing poet and storyteller. She is most attracted to the themes of social justice and transformation, and her work is quite eclectic and versatile.

May 27: Martha Collins - Christopher Hirschmann Brandt - Leonardo Nin - Toni Bee - Evans Paul Kplim

Martha Collins is a poet, translator, editor and has published eleven books of poetry. Her tenth book, Because What Else Could I Do (Pittsburgh, 2019), won the Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Award. She lives in Cambridge.

Christopher Hirschmann Brandt, is a NYC writer, translator, and political activist. Also, an actor, theatre worker, carpenter, furniture designer. He teaches poetry workshops and Peace and Justice Studies at Fordham University. His chapbook, The Place Where Grief Begins, was published in 2021 by Tebot Bach.

Leonardo Nin, Dominican poet and one of the main representatives of the Dominican Diaspora Literature Movement. In his recent book "Poemas en blanco y negro/Poems in Black and White," the poet explores the themes of Afro-Caribbean identity, social justice, and exile.

Toni Bee is a poet, educator, and photographer raised in Boston, MA, educated in Roxbury. In 2011, Toni was elected Poet Populist of Cambridge. She was also a teaching artist and storyteller at The Wang Theatre. Toni currently serves on the Advisory Board of The New England Poetry Club.

Evans Paul Kplim is a poet, playwright, theater director and radio commentator. He founded and directed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the theater company KPK, Konbit Pitit Kay from 1977 to 1998.


The Cambridge Jazz Festival returns on July 30 and 31 at Danehy Park, Cambridge, produced by the Cambridge Jazz Foundation in partnership with Cambridge Arts.