From tech-inspired textiles to line dancing: CIC ArtWeek 2019 retrospective

Place-based floral arrangement was just one of many art forms on display at CIC ArtWeek.

Place-based floral arrangement was just one of many art forms on display at CIC ArtWeek.

The influence of art in the workplace is often underestimated. A splash of color in a painting can alter the mood of a conference room, or a unique piece of artwork can spark a conversation in an otherwise mundane office.

 At CIC ArtWeek, a yearly event coinciding with Boston-wide festival ArtWeek, CIC puts art front and center in our Massachusetts innovation campuses. The fifth annual CIC ArtWeek took place on April 29 through May 3, 2019, drawing over 800 visitors across five days of free programming.

Each day featured a specific theme curated by a CIC Art Team member, drawing upon their own backgrounds, interests, or communities.

“This idea of empowering staff members to spearhead projects is closely linked to CIC’s mission to encourage employees to be innovative thinkers and experiment with new ideas that might have an impact on the greater world around us,” says Shakti Rowan-Lena, wellness team member at CIC and one of the organizers of this year’s CIC ArtWeek.

The result was an eclectic mix of interactive art, hands-on learning, and conversation spanning dance, design, culinary art, music, digital fabrication, and more.  

We asked each event curator about the inspiration behind their contribution to CIC ArtWeek. Here’s what they had to say — and a peek into the vibrant spaces they created.

BioMaterials Workshop

“The Materiom Boston biomaterials meetup has, for the past six months, been exploring and developing recipes that use locally abundant, biodegradable ingredients to make materials that can be used in crafts and digital fabrication. For ArtWeek, we wanted to share our recipes and processes, get others excited about the potential of making our own materials, and crowdsource ideas for products using biomaterials,” says Julia Hansen, FabLab Manager at Fab@CIC, CIC Boston’s community fabrication lab. She co-organized this event with CIC’s Aisling Hunt.

Fashion Pedagogy and Innovation

“Having come to CIC after a few years as an adjunct in fashion design education, I realized the potential networking possibilities of bringing students, faculty, and staff from these local programs to the innovation communities fostered at CIC,” says Dave Bermingham, a member of the CIC Cambridge concierge team.

“My goal with Fashion Pedagogy and Innovation was to link these two communities through conversation and establish a shared outlook on the future of fashion design and garment making.”

Humpday Hoedown

“I was initially inspired by the ArtWeek team’s desire to do something involving dance and my own interest in doing something with a larger social impact, particularly one that would allow me to give back to my own community,” says Joey Lindsey, Fab@CIC Graphic Design Lead and Community Principal at CIC Boston. It all came together when a coworker told him about Gays for Patsy, an LGBTQIA+ line dancing group in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, that she was a part of.

“I thought together we could create an exciting opportunity to celebrate country western dancing in an environment that was inclusive and open to all.”

Massivemuse Concert and Open Mic Night

Out of his own passion for classical music, Community Lead Jason Connell decided to bring to CIC a Massivemuse event — a larger format version of the increasingly popular Groupmuse model, in which professional classical musicians play intimate house shows. Local opera singers Junhan Choi, Kathryn McKellar, Sophie Michaux, and Fran Rogers performed, followed by an open mic portion hosted by CIC operations team member Frank Wilkins, aka DJ Let’s Be Frank.

“Having opera singers perform in such an intimate setting gave us the opportunity to break down the barriers between the audience and the artists. Folks were able to experience this music in a unique and informal way and engage with the artists afterward, bringing community and humanity to an artform that often gets overlooked as being stuffy or unapproachable,” says Connell.

Global Arts, Eats & Beats: Japan Edition

Shakti Rowan-Lena’s inspiration to create Global Arts, Eats & Beats came from hearing the Dalai Lama speak about healing the rifts between cultures. “He suggested that we need to understand each other better before we can begin to trust one another and have more in-depth conversations about reconciliation,” Rowan-Lena says. “The first step is to celebrate and learn from one another.”

Each Global Arts, Eats & Beats event celebrates a region of the world through art, music, and food. This year, Rowan-Lena partnered with the Japan Society of Boston, a member at CIC Boston, to celebrate the creative roots of Japanese culture through culinary delights, artistic expression, music, and dance.

Thank you to our many sponsors and artistic contributors for making CIC ArtWeek 2019 a success! Special thanks to Music Drives Us for their grant sponsorship of CIC ArtWeek programming.

CIC displays local art in our workspaces year-round. If you are interested in sharing your work with our community of innovators, fill out this submission form.

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