Past Exhibitions

Painting by Dominic Killiany.

Visionary Paintings By Danehy Park Artist With Autism Coming To Cambridge Arts Gallery

Dominic Killiany’s visionary paintings of Boston’s Zakim Bridge, street signs, fish, a lion, zebra, elephant and giraffes were reproduced as murals in the Louis A. DePasquale Universal Design Playground at Danehy Park.

Now see his original works in the exhibition “What I See” on view at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344, 344 Broadway, second floor, Cambridge, from May 1 to Aug. 31, 2023. Join us for a public reception on May 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. Gallery events are free and open to all.

Killiany, a prolific artist living with autism, has resided in a group home in Watertown since summer 2020 and has lately been painting at Turtle Studios in Newton. The exhibition also features the intricate pencil drawings that lie hidden beneath the bright, thick acrylic paint.

The Universal Design Playground, completed in 2022, is the first developed by the City of Cambridge to fully incorporate Universal Design—a concept that all the playground features should be as welcoming to and as usable as possible by people of all abilities. The 30,000 square foot play area is located between Field Street and the Briston Arms residential complex.

"We are so honored as a family that Dominic's artwork was chosen for perpetuity to represent this Universal Design Playground,” his mother, Susan Cicconi, said. "Children as well as adults can skip and jump to happy, colorful, patterns and feel the collective tribe of animals as our own families. The paintings spark conversation and imagination. Some of them take us to familiar places and others are like giant puzzles and mazes. It's a really fun place."

Susan Cicconi says, "As a family navigating autism, we and Dominic were particularly honored to have his art featured in the Universal Design Playground in a way that could connect with and support other families with special needs."

[Read the Boston Globe's review of the exhibition:]

Killiany has been drawing since he was little. “He’s mostly nonverbal, however he has language, he is articulate, he understands everything. The problem is expressing,” Cicconi says. “…The thing that caught our attention at age 3 was his ability to reproduce street signs in chalk on our driveway. To perfection.”

At age 14, “he took an interest in painting-by-numbers,” Cicconi says. “If you think of paint-by-numbers, the diagrams look like little puzzle pieces. … He focused mainly on how to make shapes to form a composition.” The following year, “he was making his own compositions.”

“I think he puts everything together like a puzzle or paint-by-numbers” his father, Michael Killiany, says.

Killiany painted landscapes, then animals. He reinterprets photos as line drawings in pencil, then fills each shape in with paint. At times, he numbered his own sketches like paint-by-number diagrams before painting them. Then he numbered all the spaces in sequence. “There was a period of a year, maybe two, where he had to number all the spaces,” Cicconi says. “It’s this sequencing thing he does. The numbers act as symbols, maybe they have meaning to him.” He’s partial to twos and twenty-twos and thirty-threes.

“He wants 10 tubes of paint for one canvas,” Cicconi says. If allowed, he prefers to squeeze out entire tubes to use in a single painting, painting it on thick, mixing colors until he gets his favorite yellows and whites and oranges—“cantaloupe orange, sweet potato orange, mandarin orange, or apricot orange.”

These days, Killiany’s favorite subjects are wild animals (lions, tigers, leopards, koalas, lionfish), cityscapes (Zaikim Bridge, Longfellow Bridge and Hancock Tower, Statue of Liberty), clocks, numbers, geometry, and shapes interlocked like puzzles. Killiany would only paint lions or tigers, Cicconi says, if she didn’t nudge him to try, say, the Zaikim Bridge—a landmark on the way home from his weekly drives with his father. Killiany and his mother search the internet for images until one catches his eye.

“The inspiration is key,” Michael Killiany says.

“I’ve tried to ask him why he likes those animals. He can’t respond to that question,” Cicconi says. “I just think that in another life he was a lion or tiger.”

“Covid hit him really hard and he stopped painting for 2021. He’s back now, he’s painting,” Cicconi says. “We found a fantastic studio space for him to paint.” He’ll often paint for eight hours at a stretch. “Art is therapy for Dominic. It’s when he’s most focused, most happy.”

Killiany was a 2021 finalist in the VSA (Very Special Arts) Emerging Young Artists Program, which includes his painting being exhibited at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and in a traveling exhibition. Cicconi says sales of Killiany’s artworks help pay to keep some 150 paintings in storage—and hopefully will increase to become an income for him.

“Every kid with autism has a strength,” Cicconi says, “you just have to find it.”

Patricia Thaxton, “Taking the Bridge," mixed media collage, 2021. Depicts woman striding in front of a bridge and the Boston skyline.
Patricia Thaxton, “Taking the Bridge," mixed media collage, 2021.

Exhibition Shows How Harvard Square Mural Was Created

'Patricia Thaxton: The Beauty of Everyday Living' at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344
Reception: Jan. 9, 2023, from 6 to 8 p.m. Exhibition on view Oct. 24 to Feb 28

In June 2021, a monumental (printed) mural debuted in Cambridge's Harvard Square as part of the City of Cambridge's renovation of the landmark Harvard Square Kiosk, which had been the longtime home of Out of Town News.

Designed by artist Patricia Thaxton of Stoughton, “The Beauty of Everyday Living,” was printed on vinyl scrim to surround the worksite during construction. It highlights Harvard Square, Cambridge community festivals, Black Lives Matter protests, and her own patterns.

Meet Thaxton and learn about the printed mural at a reception for exhibition “Patricia Thaxton: The Beauty of Everyday Living” at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344, 344 Broadway, Cambridge, on Jan. 9, 2023, from 6 to 8 p.m. (Snowdate: Jan. 12.) The exhibition is on view from Oct. 24, 2022, to Feb. 28, 2023. At the gallery, view Thaxton’s original collages for the mural, which was commissioned by the City of Cambridge, and a scrim panel similar to the panels at the construction site.

Admission to the gallery and events are free.

To prevent the spread of covid as cases are again rising locally, masking is strongly encouraged while indoors.

"Everyday life is about growth, from subtle changes to major life shifts. Change is necessary, but with it come challenges.” Thaxton says. “The mural is about joy, harmony, beauty, nature, and gratitude in spite of life's challenges. In 2020, I worked through the pandemic, protest for equality, social distancing, material shortage and supply chain issues. This affected my thematic and visual choices. When the mural was installed in June 2021, everyone was waking from isolation. My hope was to bring joy and harmony to the Harvard Square community during a time of hardship."

Thaxton’s collages incorporate cut paper, fabric, pastels, pencil, watercolor, and acrylic paint. She adopted bolder colors, larger figures, and bigger shapes than usual to make her compositions stand out in Harvard Square. The collages were then digitally scanned in a way to ensure texture and shadow were visible when the handmade artworks were enlarged and printed as vinyl panels.

TRA•VERSE—A Poetic Journey

Celebrating Five Years of the Cambridge Sidewalk Poetry Program

Jan. 1 to Aug. 31, 2022.

The practice of pressing poetry into concrete sidewalks, now celebrating its fifth year in Cambridge, has quickly become a beloved expression of public art. TRA•VERSE examines its allure and impact. 

At once literary, plastic, and performative — Sidewalk Poetry is unlike its cousins read in a book or heard at a slam. Poems are influenced by the context in which they are created, the manner of their fabrication, and the circumstances in which we, as readers, encounter them. This fundamentally changes our perceptions and relationships.

Let the power of a poem move you. Read from the collection of nearly 1,000 entries to the annual poetry contest in our TRA•VERSE newspaper, share your own poems, and immerse yourself in a short film by Carl Tremblay, a meditation on the elusive territory that lies below our feet and beyond the mind’s eye—that of Sidewalk Poetry.

The Sidewalk Poetry Program is a partnership of the Department of Public Works, Cambridge Arts, and the Cambridge Public Library.

Printing plate showing words of a poem reversed.

Photograph of "Tra-Verse: A Poetic Journey" exhibition in Gallery 344

Photograph of "Tra-Verse: A Poetic Journey" exhibition in Gallery 344

Photograph of "Tra-Verse: A Poetic Journey" exhibtion in Gallery 344

Photo by Karl Baden of People waiting at bush shelter with bus passing by and advertisement on the shelter depicting a shark.

Mass Ave, Cambridge: Photos by Karl Baden
Exhibition at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344
344 Broadway, Cambridge
TTY: 617-492-0235
Nov. 12, 2019, to Feb. 14, 2020.
Reception: Monday, Nov. 18, 6 to 8 p.m.
Admission to all events is free.

Related Panel Discussion at Boston College | When Everyone Has a Camera: Street Photography, the Right to Free Expression, and the Right to Privacy in the Internet Age” | Wednesday, Nov. 13, 6:30 p.m. | Room 101, Devlin Hall, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
 Mass. Ave.: Share Your Stories Of Cambridge’s Essential Artery | What is your story of Mass. Ave.? What does it mean to you? Cambridge photographer Karl Baden spent two years photographing Mass. Ave. in Cambridge to produce his current exhibition highlighting the city’s essential artery at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344. Join Cambridge Arts on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., for a community conversation inspired by Mass. Ave. in Cambridge at the gallery at the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, second floor, Cambridge. Free. Bring your stories and memories of Mass. Ave. in Cambridge to share aloud. Tell us how Mass. Ave. embodies Cambridge. Tell us about your favorite spot along the street. Tell us of the good times you have had along Mass. Ave. Tell us about the people you met there. Tell us how it broke your heart. Tell us how it changed your life. Baden will kick off the conversation by recounting his experience photographing Mass. Ave. Then moderator Jean Dany Joachim—a Cambridge playwright and actor, Poet-in-Residence at First Church in Cambridge, and director of City Night Readings—will invite attendees to share their stories of their experiences of the thoroughfare.

How would you describe Massachusetts Avenue, the 16-mile road that runs from the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston to the Town of Lexington?

“When I began this project, I felt that my mandate was to produce a document of record, something that would convey, objectively and with some emotional distance, a sense of a place at a particular time,” writes Cambridge artist Karl Baden, who has spent the past two years photographing the four miles at the middle of Mass. Ave., where it runs through the City of Cambridge.

Baden’s exhibition “Mass Ave, Cambridge”—at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344 at 344 Broadway, Cambridge, from Nov. 12, 2019, to Feb. 14, 2020—provides a window onto Cambridge’s essential artery.

Baden, an associate professor at Boston College, has been taking photographs most of his life. His photography often begins with ideas that define the parameters of his projects—photographing through the window of his car or photographing people coming out of the Harvard Square MBTA station. He’s best known for “Every Day,” in which he’s photographed his own self-portrait in nearly the same way each day since Feb. 23, 1987. It’s become a study of aging and mortality.

“Mass Ave, Cambridge” began with a conversation between Baden and Lillian Hsu, Cambridge Arts’ Director of Public Art and exhibitions. In recent years, Baden has developed a particular interest in the people, the serendipity, and the visual forms found along our streets and sidewalks. An idea for an exhibition sprung from what seemed like a simple objective: Karl could spend a year and a half recording life along Mass. Ave. from Arlington to the Charles River. But, of course, Mass. Ave. is vividly complex.

Baden’s resulting Mass. Ave. photos mix objective documentation and personal interpretation. The pictures show people walking down the street, people dancing, people stepping out for a smoke, people bundled up against falling snow, people out in summer shorts. There are smiles and pain and love. You’ll recognize icons of the avenue—the Charles River, Out of Town News, Porter Square. There are dogs and buses, advertising signs, reflections in windows. Side by side, the photos add up to a portrait, unique to our time and place, of the jostle and jumble and life of the thoroughfare.

“I can’t say that the project is finished, or even that the photographs describe what is unique and important about their subject,” Baden writes. “And I'm ok with that. At this juncture, I'm too close to the work to draw firm conclusions.”

Artist’s Statement:

Massachusetts Avenue is both backbone and central artery for the city of Cambridge. Though it spans a total of sixteen miles, from Dorchester to Lexington, four of those miles run through Cambridge. Mass Ave is the only street to traverse the city uninterrupted, from the Charles River to the Arlington border. This stretch includes Central, Harvard and Porter Squares, MIT, Harvard and Lesley College of Art & Design, City Hall, Cambridge Common, houses, apartment buildings and a myriad of businesses and storefronts. Mass. Ave. defines Cambridge as much or more than any other street, structure or location in the city.

Several years ago, I happened to be in this building to renew my parking sticker. Having a little spare time, I went upstairs to say a brief hello to Lillian Hsu, the Cambridge Art Council's Director of Public Art and exhibitions. I'd just had a show at the Howard Yezerski Gallery of photographs made in Harvard Square, and as serendipity would have it, my brief hello led to a series of conversations between Lillian and me around the notion of what defines a place and how these defining criteria may change or disappear, to be replaced over time. Our conversations became more serious, eventually leading to the suggestion that I might document the varieties of life in flux along Mass. Ave. in Cambridge as it winds through the districts and neighborhoods in its path.

Now, after two years of photographing, both day and night, in sunshine and in blizzards, in rush hour crowds, people-packed celebrations and on lazy, empty Sunday afternoons, on the main drag and peeking up side streets, my contracted time seems to be up. I can't, however, say that the project is finished, or even that the photographs describe what is unique and important about their subject. And I'm ok with that. At this juncture, I'm too close to the work to draw firm conclusions.

When I began this project, I felt that my mandate was to produce a document of record, something that would convey, objectively and with some emotional distance, a sense of a place at a particular time. I thought of the FSA [Federal Farm Security Administration documentary photos of the 1930s].

I thought of Lee Friedlander's "Factory Valleys." I would need to include all the important signifiers: the intersections, buildings, monuments. I would try to capture neighborhoods in the midst of racial or socioeconomic change. I could not miss an event. I had to pay equal attention to all parts of Mass. Ave. and allow them equal space in presentation.

As I photographed, however, I began to feel myself pulled in another direction, more subjective and personal. I was drawn to certain places, certain subjects, and had little interest in others. I was being simultaneously pulled in two directions by opposing forces: objective document vs. personal interpretation. Add to that the issue of representation. Both Harvard and Central Square, for example, host significant homeless populations. How should they be represented? If I can't figure out how to represent them fairly, do I ignore them entirely?

In the end, I feel I had to compromise. The subjective force prevailed, I believe, though not entirely. Photographs serving as “visual statistics” are still part of the project, but I don't find them compelling on their own; they need to be presented in context. To that end, one wall contains four flatscreens. Each screen displays images from a specific swath of Mass. Ave.: Harvard Bridge to Central Square, Central to Harvard Square, Harvard to Porter, Porter to Arlington. The monitors allow me to show several pictures at once, to compare and contrast, to make connections in time and space, so that the whole may end up greater than the sum of its parts.

Have I been successful at this? I have no idea. Ultimately, the photographs may say more about me than about their nominal subject. But as always, once the work is up on the wall, I need to step back and hope it is able to live its own life.

--Karl Baden

"Love They Climate As Thyself" highway billboard by Class Action, Massachusetts, April 2019.

"Love They Climate As Thyself" highway billboard by Class Action, Massachusetts, April 2019.

Untold Possibilities at the Last Minute

Climate Change Exhibit Offers Glimpses Of Our Warmer Future: New Foods, Melting Ice, Cooling Roofs

On View: May 20 to Oct. 4, 2019.

Opening Reception: Thursday, May 23, from 6 to 8 p.m.,

Local artists explore the state of climate change today in “Untold Possibilities at the Last Minute,” an exhibition on view at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344 from May 20 to Oct. 4, 2019. An opening reception will be held in the gallery at 344 Broadway, Cambridge, on Thursday, May 23, from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring music and poetry at 6:30 p.m. plus tastings of foods for our warmer future.

Scientists, governments and policy makers have struggled to convey the urgency of climate change. “Untold Possibilities at the Last Minute” presents local artists working to spread the message of what is coming, adaptions we can make now to reduce climate change, and how we can prepare for a warmer future. Learn more at

Featured artists, writers, musicians and culinary artists include Matthew Battles, David Buckley Borden, Class Action, Aaron M. Ellison, Gap Dynamics, Amanda Gorman, Keith Hartwig, Dietmar Offenhuber, Laura Perovich, Thomas Starr, Jean Wilcox, Baravena Foods, Aeronaut Brewing Company, Gus Rancatore of Toscanini’s, Nate Phinisee, and Clover Food Lab. The exhibition is a collaboration of Cambridge Arts, City of Cambridge Community Development Department and Harvard University's Office of Sustainability.

“Untold Possibilities at the Last Minute” considers time travel, bio-indicators, three-dimensional visualization of data, food, poetry and music. 

Jean Wilcox, David Buckley Borden and Aaron M. Ellison, and Keith Hartwig bring our attention to temperature: Jean Wilcox will install white roofing membrane across the gallery floor to model how changing our many flat urban roofs from black to white can reduce heat absorption. Borden’s and Ellison’s “Warming Warning” is a three-dimensional visualization of global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Beginning May 18, Keith Hartwig will create a 6-foot-tall cube of ice harvested from a Maine pond in February on the plaza outside Cambridge’s City Hall Annex (catch it before it melts). His “COLD CHAIN” speaks about the transition of refrigeration from natural ice to mechanical freezers, and how our society’s reliance on such greenhouse-gas-producing machines is melting away our winters.

“Remembrance of Climate Futures” by Thomas Starr, and “FUTUREFOOD” by Matthew Battles and Keith Hartwig ask us to imagine the future. Starr employs the literary device of time travel on a physical trail of markers to help us visualize how global warming and city actions will change our neighborhoods. Battles and Hartwig offer “FUTUREFOOD,” a series of three free food and drink tastings on May 11, May 25 and June 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Cambridge Public Library. Sample kvass, Japanese knotweed sorbet, honey toffee and honey waters to get a taste of how climate change will change our food system and what we might eat.

Two projects focus our attention on water and air. With “SeeBoat” and “ArtBoat,” Laura Perovich will exhibit remote-controlled boats that she uses to connect people to the local waters via light drawing and to test the quality of the Charles River, Chelsea Creek and Mystic River. “Ozone Tattoo” by Dietmar Offenhuber (installed on the City Hall Annex plaza) highlights specific plant species as bio-indicators of ground level ozone, which is created by the interaction of industrial pollutants and sunlight. Ground level ozone has a direct relationship to climate change and a detrimental effect on human health and communities. 

“The Patriotism of Science and Religion” by Class Action, in partnership with the Union of Concerned Scientists, aims to reframe the political debate about climate change with highway billboards, displayed along Route 95 and Route 93 in April, that position climate science in terms of moral and patriotic duty.

Gap Dynamics is Saul Levin, a folk-hop singer-songwriter from Michigan whose music, activism, and work merge to focus on climate change and environmental justice. 

Amanda Gorman is the first National Youth Poet Laureate. We join her in believing in the power of youth to change the world and feature her poem “Earthrise,” inspired by the iconic photograph of Earth taken by astronaut William Anders during the first manned lunar orbit in 1968. The photograph gave us an unprecedented view of our planet and has become a symbol for the environmental movement.


May 11: Matthew Battles, Keith Hartwig, and Jessica Yurkofsky of metaLAB offer “FUTUREFOOD” interactive culinary encounter at Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, from 1 to 4 p.m. Sample kvass prepared in collaboration with Aeronaut Brewing. Free.


May 18: Keith Hartwig creates a 6-foot-tall cube of ice harvested from a Maine pond last winter on the plaza outside Cambridge’s City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway. Free.

May 20 to Oct. 4: “Untold Possibilities at the Last Minute” on view at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344, 344 Broadway. Free.

May 23: “Untold Possibilities at the Last Minute” exhibition reception at Gallery 344 from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring music by Gap Dynamics and National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s poem "Earthrise" read by Toni Bee beginning at 6:30 p.m. plus tastings of foods for our warmer future, including kvass, Japanese knotweed sorbet, honey toffee, oat-based ice cream, and Impossible Meat prepared by Clover Food Lab. Free.

May 25: Matthew Battles, Keith Hartwig, and Jessica Yurkofsky of metaLAB offer “FUTUREFOOD” interactive culinary encounter at Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, from 1 to 4 p.m. Sample Japanese knotweed sorbet prepared by Gus Rancatore of Toscanini’s. Free.

June 1: The Cambridge Arts River Festival in Central Square from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. offers the Climate Action Extravaganza, poetry about our warming climate, and a Mermaid Promenade. Free. 

June 15: Matthew Battles, Keith Hartwig, and Jessica Yurkofsky of metaLAB offer “FUTUREFOOD” interactive culinary encounter at Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, from 1 to 4 p.m. Sample honey toffee and a flight of honey waters prepared by chef Nate Phinisee. Learn about bee health and honey DNA from Best Bees, a local research and beekeeping company. Free.

"Come Play" exhibition at Cambridge Arts' Gallery 344

Come Play!

Cardboard Arcade Games By Lesley Students At Gallery 344

On View: Feb. 11 to April 9, 2019

Opening Reception: Monday, Feb. 11, 6 to 8 p.m. (Snow date: Feb. 25)

“Come Play!”—on view at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344, 344 Broadway, Cambridge, from Feb. 11 to April 30, 2019—offers a free arcade of cardboard games for visitors to play. A public reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 11 (snow date: Feb. 25). 

The games were developed by undergraduate students at Lesley Art + Design in Cambridge during the fall of 2018 and spring 2019. They are part of a user experience challenge from the interactive design course. The games range from navigating a maze to a battleship battle to an intestellar raid.

The projects were inspired by “Caine’s Arcade," Nirvan Mullick’s 2012 short video about 9-year-old Caine Monroy, who built a homemade arcade out of cardboard in his father’s auto parts shop in East Los Angeles. Monroy’s playful ingenuity exemplifies accessible design, rapid prototyping, and user testing. His arcade was a delightful example of an interactive installation inviting the public to play.

This exhibition was organized by Lesley Art + Design students and faculty Ryan McQuade, Design/Interactive Design BFA program, and the Office of Community Engagement, in partnership with Cambridge Arts.

Dana Awartani, “Octahedron within a Cube from the Platonic Solid Duals Series” (detail)

Infinite Present

Revelations from Islamic Design in Contemporary Art 

On View: September 17 - November 30, 2018 

Opening Reception: Monday, September 17, 6-8PM

Curated by Marie Costello


Yasmina Alaoui
Nasser Al Aswadi
Dana Awartani
Kamal Boullata
Lalla Essaydi
Golnaz Fathi
Pouran Jinchi
Rashid Koraïchi
Peter J. Lu
Nja Mahdaoui
Hassan Massoudy
Walid Siti
Abdulla M. I. Syed

The exhibition, curated by Marie Costello, is a presentation and celebration of some of the cutting-edge artists of today that use the Islamic motifs of geometry and calligraphy in their art. The artists are international in scope, and many are global as they live in multiple countries and cultures. The work explores traditional and non-traditional meanings of these motifs and ultimately reveals the resiliency of these forms and their ability to communicate universally.  Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344 is a particularly apt setting for visitors to explore these artists and their enlightened visions to create bridges across cultures.

Infinite Present Event Schedule

Thursday, October 18, 2018, 6:00 - 8:00pm: Decagonal and Quasicrystalline Geometry in Medieval Islamic Architecture and Beyond | Peter J. Lu, a Post-Doctor Fellow at Harvard University will discuss connections between Islamic tile design and mathematical formulas.

Saturday, October 20, 2018, 10:00am - 12:00pm: Family Day | Tours of the exhibition paired with an art activity that explores patterns and calligraphy. 

Download a PDF of the Infinite Present catalog here.

Students working at NuVu Studio in Central Square


On View: January 8 - May 31, 2018

How do we make our community more accessible to all? In:Accessible, the new exhibition at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344, showcases projects created by students of NuVu Studio, a Central Square school where teens design and build solutions to real-world problems—like helping a teen in a wheelchair play basketball, creating a device to help a boy with  muscular dystrophy raise his hand in class, or helping a veteran who’s lost arms continue to practice archery.

“The students get to act like professional designers developing solutions to concrete problems that offer a way for an individual with a disability to be in the world as they wish to be,”Cambridge Arts Director of Public Art and Exhibitions Lillian Hsu says.

Founded by MIT graduates in 2010, NuVu’s educational framework is based on the architectural studio model—every term students dive into hands-on design, engineering, science, technology, art, and other fields in an interdisciplinary studio environment. NuVu is designed to foster students’ spirit of innovation. They use their curiosity and creativity to explore new ideas and make their concepts come to life.

During the In:Accessible exhibition, students will use the gallery as an active workshop to develop and show their projects. The students will explore and expand the notion of access in the public and private realms within cities. They will raise questions about how a city engenders openness, freedom, and opportunity for the people, animals, and plants who inhabit it. By looking at access through a variety of lenses (social, spatial, physical, physiological, psychological), In:Accessible illuminates potential connections that might allow people to transcend the barriers inhibiting participation.

In:Accessible also examines the rights and ownership of civic spaces: how transportation infrastructure (bike lanes, crosswalks, bus stops, T stations) can connect and disconnect residents; how racial and socioeconomic segregation grows in a city; and how gender identity can shape a place.

The City of Cambridge advocates for high standards of accessibility, but there is always more to do. We are excited to hand over this space to the students of NuVu to share their ideas, pose questions, and add to our understanding of what it means for a city to be fully accessible to all.

NuVu Studio:

In:Accessible Event Schedule        

Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 6:00-8:00 pm
End-of-Term, Winter NuVu Exhibit/Demo Day
Location: NuVu Studio, 450 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

Monday, March 26, 2018, 6:00-8:00 pm
Gallery Reception and Conversation with NuVu Students
With Gary Dmytryk, Chair, Commission for Persons with Disabilities Advisory Board  
Location: Gallery 344, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, 2nd Fl.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 6:30 pm
Film Screening: Stumped, award-winning documentary directed by Robin Berghaus 
Co-sponsored by Disability Reframed and ReelAbilities Film Festival 
Location: Cambridge Public Library, main branch, lecture hall, 449 Broadway
Hosted by the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities 

Thursday, April 26, 2018, 5:30-7:00 pm
Social Justice Film Screening
Cambridge Arts presents a screening of short documentaries created by middle and high school students of NuVu Studio about access to fresh foods, healthcare for undocumented immigrants, services for re-entry after mass incarceration, and mental health counseling for adolescents. The screening is part of the exhibition "In:Accessible" at Cambridge Arts' Gallery 344 as well as part of the Disability Reframed community film series, which is co-sponsored with Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities. Popcorn and light refreshments will be provided. Free.
Location: City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, 2nd Floor Community Meeting Room

May 30, 2018, 6:00-8:00pm
End-of-Term NuVu Spring Exhibit/Demo Day
Location: NuVu Studio, 450 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

Artist Carmen Papalia leads his "Blind Field Shuttle" on Cambridge Common, May 13, 2017.

Carmen Papalia: Open Access: Practicing Accessibility Together

On View: Sept. 18 to Dec. 29, 2017

“I often feel like the white cane separates me from people instead of bringing me towards people,” Carmen Papalia says in his 2013 video “Mobility Device.”

In the exhibition “Open Access: Practicing Accessibility Together” at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344, the Vancouver-based performance artist, who describes himself as a non-visual learner, experiments with alternative ways of finding his way around. The exhibition, featuring two videos documenting his experiments plus a poem, runs from Sept. 18 to Dec. 15, 2017. 

The exhibition concludes the Cambridge Arts Council’s “Common Exchange,” a summer-long temporary public art and performance series on Cambridge Common curated by Dina Deitsch in partnership with Cambridge Arts and Rick Rawlins of the Lesley University College of Art and Design.

In Papalia’s anxious 2015 video “White Cane Amplified" (pictured below), he literally drops his cane and instead tries to use a megaphone to make his way along the busy streets of East Vancouver. He calls out to passersby for assistance. “I can’t see. I’m visually impaired. I need some help crossing the street,” he says into the megaphone as he finds himself at the edge of a road. “This isn’t a joke.” Finally a couple boys come along to help him cross the street. “I can’t see you. Hopefully you can see me,” he repeats as he walks, until he finds himself marooned at a busy intersection. 

In his 2013 video “Mobility Device,” Papalia exchanges his cane for a high school marching band that uses music to signal him as he explores an art center, shops and a parking garage in Santa Ana, California. The 14 uniformed musicians escorting him play different tunes to warn him of steps up or down and other obstacles ahead, with happier results than the megaphone. “I was free to roam and explore. And that’s what I did,” Papalia says in the video. “I kind of just really got a sense of my surroundings I think in a more efficient way that when I use a white cane.”

Papalia’s poem “Accessing Cambridge Common, May 2017,” which runs down the gallery wall and then across the floor, was inspired by his “Blind Field Shuttle” (pictured at top), eyes-closed tours that he led through Cambridge Common this summer. “Lead with an open hand / sweep with your foot,” he writes, “feel for the—obstacle.”


Artist Carmen Papalia speaks into a bullhorn.

A Universal Syntax and Gathering Note by Andy Graydon

On View: July 17 – September 8, 2017

Opening Reception with Andy Graydon: Monday, July 17, 6-8pm

A Universal Syntax is the story of a fictitious interview with a researcher who has become fascinated by an old monastery (based on one Graydon visited in Austria) and the musical language created by the monks there—all of which has “disappeared … as if it had never been.” Two slide projectors show photos of the monastery perched atop a hill, as well as a transcription of the interview and the score of the monks’ song. Eventually, the interviewee shares a recording of the singing with the interviewer. The only sound we hear is the clacking of the projectors. But we see the mysterious score—rendered in a notation or “a universal syntax” resembling stacks of dashed lines—that is implied to be the magic behind the monastery’s disappearance.
Graydon’s second artwork in the exhibition is the printed score for Gathering Note, a choral performance that was presented on the Cambridge Common in May and will be performed again at 1 p.m. July 16 and 2 p.m. Sept. 17. By presenting just the score, the artist again invites us to imagine its transformation into live singing in our heads. “Gathering Note” is inspired by the Bay Psalm Book, printed in Cambridge in 1640, the first book to be published in British North America. Seeing how congregations through history have altered and shaped the form of the songs, Graydon created a unique score that uses traditional musical notation in combination with graphic marks to invite the group of singers to find their own individual paths through the park, listening as other singers approach, and ultimately come together as a musical “constellation.”
In Gathering Note, Graydon aims to bring people together to use “imagination and collective will” to consider “what kind of social art form can we cook up through the funny, quixotic cues of this public art performance work?”
Graydon’s exhibition and performances are part of Common Exchange, a series of art installations, performances, and exhibitions in and around Cambridge Common from May to September 2017 that highlights the historic green as a place where we come together as a community— a place for conversation, a place for sharing ideas.

A zoomed in view of artist Andy Graydon's miniature sculpture.

We Were Here: Memories of the Cambridge Common - Kelly Sherman

On View: April 24 – June 30, 2017

Opening Reception with Kelly Sherman: Monday, May 8, 6-8pm

From spring to fall 2017, Cambridge Arts will present Common Exchange, a unique suite of temporary public art projects, curated by Dina Deitsch, that will be installed, performed, and presented in response to the Cambridge Common, a historic civic space. As one of ten participating artists, Kelly Sherman is creating a monument to personal memories. Sherman gathers narratives and transforms them into poetic banners that will be hung in the Common. Gallery 344 is one of several sites where Sherman will continue her process. Join us and contribute a memory to We Were Here.Cambridge Common Memory

From spring to fall 2017, Cambridge Arts will present Common Exchange, a unique suite of temporary public art projects, curated by Dina Deitsch, that will be installed, performed, and presented in response to the Cambridge Common, a historic civic space. As one of ten participating artists, Kelly Sherman is creating a monument to personal memories. Sherman gathers narratives and transforms them into poetic banners that will be hung in the Common. Gallery 344 is one of several sites where Sherman will continue her process. Join us and contribute a memory to We Were Here.

Protected Trees- New Work by Joel Janowitz

January 23 - April 7, 2017

Cambridge Arts is pleased to share a new body of work by Joel Janowitz. Joel presents a poetic response to the intense street excavation and construction he has witnessed over the last several years in his Cambridge neighborhood, where the City has been conducting a sewer separation project that takes place underground but necessitates years of disturbance above ground. In the artist’s words: “I saw both the beauty and the irony of so many trees protected by dead wood and petrol-plastics. I began to paint this strange landscape which is revealing itself as an inviting and disturbing metaphor for our flawed relationship to the environment.” As an artist who has lived many years in Cambridge, Joel brings an unusual perspective to the complex activity that goes into engineering and sustaining our cities. 

Screened, 2016, oil on linen, 60 by 96 inches, painting by Joel Janowitz
Screened, 2016, oil on linen, 60 by 96 inches, painting by Joel Janowitz

1440 Degree Landscape: Panoramic Photography by Richard Hackel

October 17 – December 30, 2016

Exhibit Reception: Monday, October 24, 6-8pm

Cambridge Arts invites you to view time-lapse panoramic photographs by Richard Hackel. After moving here from Michigan, where he was a medical ophthalmic photographer for twenty-nine years, Richard created work for Gallery 344 by spending eighteen months photographing selected public spaces in Cambridge as they changed through the seasons.

Always interested in what we cannot see as well as what we can, Richard creates views that are at once familiar and disorienting. While presented on a flat plane, the images are spatially circular – the photograph turns us around without moving our bodies. Offering a personal interpretation of his newly adopted city, Richard’s work collapses time and prompts a closer consideration of how we navigate and understand our environment through our senses.

Richard Hackel's Panoramic Photography in different season with event date

 Cambridge Fire Department: A visual exhibition celebrating 184 years of service

August 15 – September 30, 2016

Exhibit Reception: Monday, August 29, 6-8pm

The exhibit explores the incredibly varied aspects of the past 184 years of service provided by the Cambridge Fire Department. The installation contains stories of famous fires, the evolution of the department, people, and equipment through text, photos, and an artistic display using materials found at the Fire Houses.

Cambridge Fire Department

Lisa Houck: A Long Walk with No Destination

March 28 – July 1, 2016

Artist Reception: Monday, April 4, 6-8pm

In a constant stream of creativity and exploration, Houck energizes prints, mosaics, and ceramics with a distinctive and colorful visual language. Inspired by nature, folk art, and patterning, the artist blends the identifiable with the fantastical and the abstract, all unified by a strong sense of design and a deep understanding of color.
Lisa Houck: A Long Walk with No Destination

Vivian Beer

Refining Landscapes
November 23, 2015-February 29, 2016
Artist Reception: December 7, 6PM

The front of Vivian Beer's exhibit postcard.

Vivian Beer is sculptor, furniture maker, and photographer. In 2012 she was commissioned by the City of Cambridge to create a public artwork for Nunes Park in Cambridgeport. EntitledThunderhead, it is a bench that becomes not-a-bench, bending itself into curves and loops that defy sitting.

Refining Landscapes lets the viewer in on the artist’s processes that the public rarely gets to glimpse, through drawings, photographs, videos, jigs, and models, alongside finished pieces. Vivian’s materials include steel, concrete, automotive paint systems, and bronze. Her practice reveals and synthesizes her interest in the forces of nature and industrial forms, a sophisticated knowledge of engineering and fabrication, and an exquisite sense of design.

From the landscape of the desert to the landscape of a chaise lounge, Vivian’s work jostles expectations and shows how a perfectly resolved sculptural form can ask questions.

Laura Evans


August 3 - October 30, 2015
Artist Reception: Monday, September 21, 6pm

Laura Evans, Conductivity

In 2008 Laura Evans created a pair of companion art benches for the Greene-Rose Heritage Park in the Area IV neighborhood (“The Port”). Entitled “Conductivity”, the sculpture is based on a typical park bench that the City usually selects from a catalogue but which has been altered by the artist. Cambridge Arts is pleased to present a selection of Laura’s studio work that sets “Conductivity” in the context of her ongoing artistic explorations.

Laura’s work often combines elements from the natural and the built environments, shaping materials that vary from the traditional to the throwaway. She is as attracted to the common cardboard tube or paper bag, with their physical, cultural, social, and historical attributes, as she is to a classic material such as paper or bronze, which have their own set of associations. Other materials Laura has employed include fabric, wood, Sculpey modeling material, plaster, wire, paper, paint, and found objects. Taking these materials in hand, she twists, squishes, knits, wraps, tears, joins, and bends, choosing low-tech methods and processes. In every case there is a reach into the possibilities of connecting literal, symbolic, and metaphorical approaches to forms and materials. What results can be both hard and soft, quiet and active, creepy and comforting, geometric and free-form, amusing and sad, strong and fragile.

The work presented in the exhibition represents a range of experiments and finished pieces over the course of the last decade, showing continuing themes and methods of working. We invite you to visit the Greene-Rose Heritage Park to experience “Conductivity” in person, and then to see its connection to Laura’s body of work installed at Gallery 344.


It seems like it was decades ago that the arts were drastically reduced or removed from the curricula of elementary and high school programs around the country. Although many of our most creative cities find that innovation in the arts and sciences helps them develop vibrant communities, studio arts, theatre, music, and dance are still minimally represented in the hours that children and teens spend in school. Yet the arts remain unique as an experience for developing adaptive creativity and numerous important life skills as well as a medium for strengthening neighborhoods and cities.

Cambridge Arts, in collaboration with an upper-level architectural studio class at Boston Architectural College (BAC) led by David De Celis, is pleased to present this exhibition that demonstrates possibilities for how architecture can make the arts more visible, more relevant, and more accessible within our urban centers.

Central Square is a cultural district filled with venues, organizations, and individuals engaged in the arts. The built environment visible to citizens on the street could reveal this wealth more fully. The architectural students represented here have been given an apt site on which to envision a hypothetical school for the visual and performing arts.
In four stages, this exhibition will evolve over the course of three months. The BAC students will use Gallery 344 to show their process of exploring how strategic infusions of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design can transform a community. We encourage you to visit throughout the process.

Magazine Beach - A place apart

Cambridge Arts and Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association present 'Magazine Beach - A Place Apart' November 3, 2015 - February 27, 2015 in Gallery 344.

Opening Reception - Monday, November 17, 6-8pm

From 1636 to the present... Examine the forces that shaped our 15-acre largest park and share your ideas for its future.

In 2015, landscape designs for Magazine Beach- Cambridge 2nd largest park - will be updated and its future cast. This exhibition looks closely at the history of the site from its being a wooded island on a tidal estuary to its current form. It examines the forces that have defined its uses - for gunpowder storage, a river bathing beach, a boathouse for rowers, a storm water sewage treatment plant, and a s a favorite swimming, soccer and picnicking destination.

"A Place Apart" offers a meditation on the past, present, and future of this dynamically changing place. We invite you to contribute to the conversation. What does Magazine Beach mean to you and what do you hope for its future?

Magazine Beach A Place Apart

Magazine Beach Memory Party
Saturday, Jan. 31, 12-3pm
Do you have a memory of swimming or picnicking or just hanging out in the part?
Share it over lunch with us.

Dessert Café
Monday, Feb. 9, 6-8pm
With remarks by Charles Sullivan of the Cambridge Historical Commissio0n and Renata von Tscharner of the Charles River Conservancy. Co-hosted by Cambridge Arts, the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Assn., Cambridge Historical Society, Cambridge Historical Commission, Charles River Conservancy, and the Riverside Boat Club.

Community Potluck
Monday, Feb. 23, 6-8pm
With Bluegrass by Best Ever Chicken. All are welcome. Bring a dish to share.

Let the Public Play


Play is fundamental to human development. Difficult to define but universally experienced, free play appears to have no function and yet has persisted throughout evolution. It can be observed in an infinite variety of forms, sometimes with intricate rules, sometimes with no rules at all – a “behavioral kaleidoscope”. It can be solitary or social. At its best, it is imaginative, generated from the “player”, improvisational, challenging, open-ended, and multi-sensory. Play is an activity where we learn and think with our bodies as well as our brains.

Above: Opening Reception

While the desire to engage in playful activity persists throughout life, we tend to think it should be abandoned upon exiting childhood. Our built environment reflects this view, evidenced by “playgrounds” confined to fenced-in areas in parks – where play is supposed to take place. If play nurtures cognitive, sensory, and social development and contributes to our well-being, then creating more playful public spaces also nurtures stronger communities, and our cities should physically and visibly reflect these facts.
Let the Public Play is a three-part project offering experiences of playfulness in daily life.

1) An interactive exhibition in Gallery 344.

water brushing

2) Playful sculptures by Adam Simha & Skylar Tibbits for outdoor installation.

3) An interactive deck of cards designed by Rick Rawlins. All together, these three components present activities indoors and outdoors as well as in a range of scale from small to large. Let the Public Play is an invitation to take play seriously, to be inspired, to remember the critical value of play throughout our lives, and to envision along with us a more playful city.

In 2007, the City of Cambridge formed the Healthy Parks and Playgrounds Task Force to determine goals and write recommendations for designing and building public spaces that incorporate, to a greater degree, the principles of healthy play for all ages and abilities. The resulting report in 2009 was followed by a citizen advisory committee that met to discuss ways to bring the mission of the Task Force to the wider public. The work of the Task Force is meant to be continued by all who design, construct, manage, maintain, and use our City.

Nancy Simonds - Reverie in Color and Shape

July 22 - September 27, 2013

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here
A three-part Exhibition of Artist Books and Broadsides
January 7 - July 21, 2013

Round: Cambridge by Halsey Burgund
October 1 through November 23, 2012

Round: Cambridge by Halsey Burgund

MOVE ME: A Public Art Project
Roberta Paul and Beth Kantrowitz/bkprojects
April 2-June 15, 2012
Move Me van

SPUN – Artist-Designed Bike Racks
February 1 – March 9, 2012
Spun exhibition in the CAC Gallery

Rosalind Murray: Lateral Canal Ahead
October 11 - December 13, 2011
Rosalind Murray

Breathe Cambridge: Gately Youth Center
June 20 to September 12, 2011
Breathe Cambridge: Installation by the Gately Youth Center

Brian Kane: Free Wifi
March 14 - May 13, 2011
Free WiFi by Brian Kane

Drawing in Public
December 6, 2010 - February 18, 2011

All Together Now by Cassie Jones

Of, By, and For: Work by Daniel Peltz and Paul Notzold
September 7 – November 19, 2010

Citation Salutation

Remediate/Re-vision: Artists Engaging the Environment
July 15 - August 20, 2010


Cambridge Street Project: An inside look at the process of public art
April 1 - June 11, 2010

Cambridge Street Project

100 from Cambridge: A Preview Exhibition for Cambridge Open Studios
January 25 - March 12, 2010
100 from Cambridge

Breaking Ground: The past, present, and future of the
Maud Morgan Visual Art Center

September 28 - December 18, 2009
Maud Morgan Visual Arts Center rendering

Sound Off: Public Art Youth Council
August 3- September, 2009
Sound off card

Children of Arcadia
April 24 - May 15, 2009

gallery view

March 10 - April 17, 2009
Art Force Install

Michael Oatman: You are Here
June 1 - July 15, 2009
Oatman shooting in the gallery

Gail Boyajian: Peaceable Kingdom
April 24 - May 15, 2009

Mela Lyman: Anxiety of Beauty
February 25, 2008 - Jan 5, 2009

Nancy Selvage
November 19, 2007 - February 8, 2008

Heidi Whitman: Brain Terrain
September 24 - November 9, 2007

Public Art Youth Council: "What is Public Art to Us?"
July 30 - September 14, 2007

Ready, Set, Bloom
May 14 - July 20, 2007

Material Choice: Science, Conservation & Public Art
April 9 - May 4, 2007

February 1 - March 30, 2007

C'mon In, The Water's Fine
September 7 - November 2, 2006

Works in Architectural Space
June 5 - August 18, 2006

Of(f) the Table- everything must go
April 18 - May 26, 2006

Model Citizens: 42° 22’ 12.11” N, 71° 06’ 11.45”
February 27 - April 7, 2006

Dimensions Variable; Site Fixed
November 3 - December 28, 2005

September 22 - October 27, 2005

August 4 - September 9, 2005

May 5 - June 30, 2005

Walking Central Square
March 17 - April 22, 2005

Reaching Water
December 2, 2004 - February 2, 2005

Pamplona Inside
January 9 - February 17, 2006

Randall Thurston: Night Garden
November 16, 2006 - January 19, 2007

September 16 - November 18, 2004

Walls of Heritage, Walls of Pride
May 5 - June 30, 2004

Mike Glier: Backyard
February 23 - April 30, 2004