Augment and inPUBLIC Festival come to Upham's Corner!


We are so excited to be partnering with Nick Cave, Now + There, Upham’s Corner Main Streets, Upham’s Corner Health Center, Company One, BAMS Fest and so many local artists to bring this event together!

As part of our two-day inPUBLIC festival of public-making—day 1 at Downtown Crossing and more details soon!—we will be connecting public art, collective healing, play, music and movement building. Don’t miss it!

Many thanks to our generous funders, including the Barr Foundation, the Hyams Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), the Kresge Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.

Stories from the Womb: Afro-Colombian Activists' accounts of Resistance and World Building

Stories from the Womb: Afro-Colombian Activists' accounts of Resistance and World Building

Thursday, May 23rd, 6pm

Nonprofit Center, 1st floor

89 South Street
Boston, MA 02111


What are the situations black organizers and movement builders face in South America? What are the connections between black struggles there and here in the US? Can a hemispheric black movement be built?

DS4SI is hosting a small group of Afro-Colombian activist women from Casa Cultural el Chontaduro, a completely grassroots and autonomous organization at the heart of the largest Black neighborhood in Cali.

Vicenta Moreno Hurtado, a leader in Casa Cultural el Chontaduro, will talk about situations she and other activists face in Colombia.

Beatriz Balanta, Professor, Art History Southern Methodist University, will facilitate our larger conversation about how to support and collaborate across struggles.

Hope to see you there!


AUGMENT: A Community Joy Project Led by Nick Cave

COLLAGE WORKSHOPS are coming to Upham’s and you’re invited!

Our friends at Now + There are producing Augment, a dynamic new public artwork by internationally-acclaimed artist Nick Cave. The installation includes a giant sculpture made of lawn inflatables (!) and a building wrap in the heart of Upham's Corner.

For the community element of the piece, DS4SI is partnering with local artists to facilitate a series of collage workshops that will bring community members together to explore and express what brings them joy. Our awesome crew of partnering artists include Ekua Holmes, L'Merchie Frazier, Destiny Polk, Wilton Tejeda and Barrington Edwards. The collages will be incorporated into the building wrap, hung on street banners and on display in local storefront windows. Workshops are being held at the Cape Verdean Day Center, the Upham's Corner library, local schools, Bird Street Youth Center, St. Mary's Church, DS4SI and more. You can also find Wilton Tejeda out with our Augment Cart engaging residents as they head to the bus, store, or  home.

This project is in collaboration with DS4SI and Now + There. Read Now and There’s blog post to learn more about this collaboration.

The next workshop is at DS4SI and is FREE and OPEN to all!


New Strategies Lab!


Don’t miss our closing event with Marsha parilla! Dance for social justice Friday, 6-8pm !

New Strategies for New Atmospheres

Open Dojo / Studio Hours: Monday-Friday (January 28th-February 1st), 4-6pm
Workshops: Monday-Friday, 6-8pm
ALL FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (intergenerational, elders, families, teens and children welcome)
At DS4SI: 572 Columbia Rd, Dorchester (Upham's Corner)

Part dojo / Part studio / Part workshop series
This week-long creativity lab will be part dojo (come work out--your ideas!), part studio (come try out new materials!) and part work shop series! It will be a chance to dive deeper into the design and strategy of holding spaces that build capacity and imagination for communities and community-based organizations to take on the new normal. The lab will bring together community organizing groups, artists and other radical thinkers in a container that challenges them to try out new ways of holding space, enacting social healing, and imagining new social arrangements that could challenge the status quo.

Why a New Strategies Lab?
In 2018, the scale of systemic attacks on immigrants, the environment, young people, Muslims and public systems at large has been devastating.  We believe what we are seeing now is the new normal—not individual moves that outrage us and demand protest, but a systemic move towards heightened repression, state violence, terror and hatred towards communities of color. When we respond to each new atrocity with the force it deserves—but with the approach that each atrocity is an individual one—we become emotionally drained and too worn out to imagine new solutions. To move away from a case-by-case treatment towards more sustainable practice-building, DS4SI will create a space that builds the capacity of local organizing groups and artists to find more creative and commensurate ways to address this new reality. We want to create the conditions that will help us collectively strengthen our efforts—emotionally, spiritually and strategically.

All free!
The New Strategies Lab is generously funded by the Hyams Foundation so all workshops are free!

We look forward to seeing you!
DS4SI team

Orange Fly Contemporary Art, 2018

Orange Fly Contemporary Art is a video installation specially developed to be viewed in the historic vault of the old Citizens Bank building (now occupied by DS4SI). The video is produced by Afro-Brazilian Artist-in-Residence Tiago Gualberto and features a partnership with performance artist Hannibal Hopson of Houston. It was filmed at the SERC (Social Response Emergence Center) which Tiago co-created with Maria Molteni and DS4SI for Project Row Houses in Houston. Orange Fly takes about 5 minutes and brings together images from different contexts and periods, seeking to navigate a non-linear route between the dream and the current social and political moment. The fly with large eyes and disposable life occupies the metaphorical role of the artist.

Destination Upham's This Weekend!


THIS WEEKEND in Upham's Corner:

The Gentrification Game , Oct 25 & 26, 4-7pm (and November 1&2!)
Tory Bullock
A life size board game where players try to keep up with the cost of living in Upham’s! Tip: Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Check out Tory's teaser video and details here!

Print Ain't Dead: Pop-Up Bookshop, Oct 26th, 7-10pm and Oct 28, 12-5pm
Arielle Gray and Cierra Peters

A series of pop up bookshops and storytelling events that focus on the works of writers of color--particularly Afro-diasporic femmes. Check out their splash page here!

Onwards & Upwards Jazz Series, Oct 27th, 2-5p
Fredrick J. Woodard and friends

Featuring the Lance Martin Trio. Check out his facebook event here.

Radical Black Girl x L'Merchie Frazier of Cross Cultural Collective, Oct 27th, 7-9pm
A healing evening of visual art making, dance movement and open-mic performances. See flyer below!


Announcing Destination Upham's Artists

DU Announcement Poster-final.jpg

DS4SI is proud to announce our selected Destination Upham's Artists! Together they represent a diversity of approaches and perspectives and a collective rich in talent and vision. As we continue to work with our programming and space partners around Upham's Corner, we will update you on the exact times and locations. In the meantime, take a look at all these reasons to come to Upham's:

Radical Black Girl

Part open forum discussion, part rising talent showcase and part dance party--Resist(d)ance is a family-friendly celebration and call to action.

Hip hop, BreakDancing, Graffiti Art Shows +
Frenell Jean-Georges

This interactive 4 part hip hop event includes a Graffiti Art Show, a DJ Showcase & Dance Party, a Break Dance Lesson & Performance and a Local Hip Hop Music ShowCase/ Rap Cypher.

Pop-Up Bookshops
Arielle Gray and Cierra Peters

A series of pop up bookshops and storytelling events that focus on the works of writers of color--particularly Afro-diasporic femmes.

Melissa Nussbaum Freeman and Red Sage Stories

A multi-sensory creative storytelling tool that uses images, smells and sounds to inspire and enable multicultural, multilingual storytelling with Playback Theatre dramatization for Upham’s seniors.

Live Jazz
Fredrick J. Woodard and friends

Four live jazz events for the whole family to enjoy. Featuring  The Fred Woodard Collective, The John Kordalewski Trio, The Kurtis Rivers Quartet, and Lance Martin Trio
Community Square
Cross Cultural Collective : Allentza Michel, Ashleigh Gordon, Daniel Callahan, L’Merchie Franzier, Melissa Alexis, Tiffany Cogell

The Community Square will function as both a collectively-built 3D square and a space for community members to come together for conversation & performance.

 Afro-Futurist Interviews and Afro-Mixer
Jordan Holmes
An intercultural afrofuturist audio-theater piece featuring the voices and languages of Upham’s diverse Black community of the future--complete with an Afro-Mixer listening party!

The Gentrification Game
Tory Bullock
A life size board game where players try to keep up with the cost of living in Upham’s! Tip: Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Destination Upham's is funded in collaboration with the Fairmount Cultural Corridor, the Barr Foundation and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA).

Stay tuned for Dates and Locations!

DS4SI featured in YBCA 100!


The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts has released their 5th Annual YBCA 100. In their words, "The YBCA 100 is an annual list of the people, organizations, and movements that are using their platforms to move society forward. The 5th annual YBCA 100 is a diverse list where celebrities rub elbows with unsung heroes, and activists and artists are as revered as pop stars."

Basically, we'll be rubbing elbows with everyone from Marlon Bundo (the gay bunny) to Janelle Monae! (The whole list is here.) Super fun. We just wanted to share the good news and say that we are honored to be a part of it. And we're very excited about picking our outfits...=)

RFP: Destination Upham's

Photo from Black Citizenship Project.

Photo from Black Citizenship Project.

Attractors turn places into destinations. For communities of color here in Boston, there aren’t enough attractors in the mix such that we have adequate destinations. We want to create regular public spaces where people of color know they can drop by to relax, be inspired, dance, listen, and more. The Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI), in collaboration with the Fairmount Cultural Corridor, the Barr Foundation and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), seeks proposals from artists to “make space” in and around Upham’s Corner.


DS4SI is particularly interested in proposals from artists of color and local artists who live along the Fairmount Cultural Corridor. Our hope is that collectively we can contribute to making Upham’s Corner a destination for residents along the Corridor and beyond.

What do we mean by “making space”?

We want informal, public community-building and engagement; we imagine things like Claudio Prado’s whimsical “Rua Augusta” project in Sao Paolo, where he’d bring his living room furniture out to the street every late Saturday night to make his community’s own Saturday Night Live, or our Black Citizenship Project, where folks waiting at a busy bus stop might find themselves a part of Kizzy’s Appeal, with local poets, actors and dancers collaborating to bring to life the modern day losses of young Black sons and daughters. We imagine chances to dance to live music, eat fresh local food, engage with art and artists, do yoga in public, talk about daily life, and imagine the future.


We have access to do pop-up “activations” and performances in the beautiful old Bank of America Building (555 Columbia Road) in Upham's Corner. Artists can also use nearby outdoor spaces.


We are looking for events to occur between July 14th and October 14th. Each proposal should include at least 4 days and/or evenings of programming.

Proposals are DUE July 6th by midnight.

How much?

Awards will range from $1000-$2500. We are looking to accept 7-10 proposals.

How to Apply:

Please answer the following questions in no more than 3 pages:

1)      What is your idea/vision for “making space” in Upham’s Corner? Please include some specifics about what you plan to offer.

2)      Will you be collaborating with anyone? If so, please briefly describe collaboration. (Not required.)

3)      What experience do you have doing this kind of public art? (If you do not have experience in this type of public art, please describe what experience you do bring.)

4)      What is your relationship to Upham’s Corner and/or the Fairmount Cultural Corridor?

5)      What is your plan for outreach to the community(s)?

6)      What is your total budget and how much are you asking for? Please include a short description of what the funds are for (including your time). It is okay if you are asking for your total budget.

In addition, please send/attach 2-6 samples of your work. (Photos or video links.)

Send proposals to uphams @ by July 6th at midnight. You may also ask us questions via that email address.

FOR A PDF OF THIS RFP, CLICK HERE. Please share widely!

SERC at PolicyLink's Equity Summit in Chicago


Equity Summit, Chicago
Thursday, April 12th and Friday, April 13th

For anyone attending Policy Link's Equity Summit in Chicago, come check out our SERC!  It will be in the Randolph 2 Room (Concourse Level) of the Hyatt Regency. If you'd like to lead something there, please contact us. If you'd like more information about the social emergency and our on-going artist and activist led Social Emergency Response Centers, click here.

The Creative Force of Black History

Artists, historians and activists came together at DS4SI to explore how Black History is a creative force for imagining, depicting and creating the present and future. Listen to some amazing ideas from our panelists and audience.

Panel included:

Hosted by Beatriz E. Balanta, PhD

Assistant Professor of Art History, SMU | Meadows School of the Arts


Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, HonAIA
Professor of Urban Policy and Health, The New School
Author of Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted-Out Cities

Faith Smith, PhD
Brandeis University
Sex and the Citizen: Interrogating the Caribbean (2011)

Black Panther Black Joy

Today is the day Black Panther opens across the U.S.! Meanwhile, the amount of anticipation and exhilaration--particularly in the black community—is garnering its own coverage. (Already Black Panther is the most tweeted about movie ever.) Efforts far and wide have been organized to make it possible for black children to see the movie for free. Central to this narrative is the power (and rarity!) of seeing ourselves in a black hero.

Along with the narrative of visibility, we at DS4SI believe that the exhilaration for Black Panther speaks to a kind of affective, haptic yearning, a thirstiness for black public joy. We haven’t had a moment of joy like this since Obama won in 2008. That was 10 years ago! We see meeting this need as a political act. We see it as an intentional act of radical, inclusive joy in opposition to the default position of white public joy in the U.S.. Whether it’s symbolically laundered as Red Sox Nation, a Bruce Springsteen concert, the Academy Awards or the Winter Olympics, white public joy gets to be ubiquitous—it doesn’t even have to claim its whiteness. (And if you don’t believe this, read John Moody’s pathetic nostalgia for the white hero in his lament of the U.S. Olympic team as “darker, gayer, different”.)

After we all go see the opening night of Black Panther (and a few other nights too!), let’s be about the making of joyful black experience as part of our political duty. Let’s not assume that Black Panther will quench our thirst. That will take the building of new kinds of public life, visibility and vision. Let’s claim a radical, inclusive black joy—a darker, gayer, different joy—as our collective super power.

Home / Portal: Christopher Cozier and Friends This Thursday!


HOME Series: The Portal

How do we find home?

DS4SI wraps up this season's HOME Series with a return visit from Trinidadian contemporary artist Christopher Cozier. Cozier will present on his piece Home/Portal, inspired by his time in the Upham's Corner area, that has since engaged artists from Kingston, Jamaica to Bogota, Columbia, Port of Spain, Trinidad and here in Boston. Collaborating artists from those cities will join us via Skype, while local artists from HOME 1 and HOME 2 (Intelligent Mischief and Keith Deviere Donaldson) will join us in person. Together we will explore how we find--and make and connect--home in a time of global environmental and political crises. 


THIS Thursday, November 9th, 6-8pm

Design Studio for Social Intervention
1946 Washington St, Roxbury, MA