Erin Genia (SMACT ’19) Named Boston Artist-in-Residence

ACT at MIT

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture announced the five artists selected for the fourth year of Boston Artists-in-Residence (AIR).

Through this program, the artists will work with a parallel cohort of City partners to explore, critique, and re-imagine City initiatives at the intersection of civil service, social justice, and artistic practice. Projects may respond to current public health emergencies like COVID-19. They may also look for ways to make systemic changes that address all levels of social emergency experienced by the people of Boston.

Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota) is a multidisciplinary artist, educator and organizer whose practice merges cultural imperatives, pure expression, and material exploration with the conceptual. Erin, who graduated from ACT in 2019, seeks to create a powerful presence of Indigeneity in the arts, sciences, and public realm to invoke an evolution of thought and practice within societal instruments that is aligned with the cycles of the natural world and the potential of humanity. Erin’s work has been seen by national and international audiences, at the US Pavilion – Venice Biennale, the International Space Station, and the Urbano Project in Boston.

Erin will be working with the Office of Emergency Management, which plans for and helps to coordinate the response and recovery efforts to any major emergency impacting the City of Boston.

“We’ve seen great projects and powerful relationships come out of the Boston Artists-in-Residence program,” said Mayor Walsh. “I look forward to seeing this new cohort help us think creatively about how we can enhance our services and programs for all Boston residents.”

Experienced artists, cultural practitioners, and cultural workers across all disciplines were invited to apply. A selection committee made up of local arts leaders, former Boston artists-in-residence, and City officials selected the following artists

In the program, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture brings together artists and staff from City of Boston departments. Artists learn more about government, and City departments learn about creative problem solving. They co-design projects that test new approaches to City policies and processes. They will explore how City initiatives impact the experience of all Bostonians. Projects are often responsive to the social and political context of that year.

“This is an unprecedented time in the City of Boston, and having a group of diverse, talented artists who can help us envision a stronger city is more valuable now than ever,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture. “I’m optimistic that this cohort will utilize their creative disciplines to help guide us through many of the issues we’re currently facing as a city.”

Since the creation of the Boston AIR program in 2015, the City has had a total of 25 artists-in-residence. This year’s program incorporates core learnings from previous years. Artists receive a $30,000 artist fee and up to $10,000 for project materials during their residency.

Building off of Mayor Walsh’s record-breaking investment in Boston’s arts sector, the City of Boston is investing $250,000 for the artist residency program, as well as an additional $200,000 FY20 investment in sustaining key grantmaking programs for individual artists.

To learn more about Boston Artists-in-Residence, visit the Boston AIR website.