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Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Tomorrow and the following three Saturdays July 23 and 30, Aug 6 and 13) the Cambridge Water Dept and the Friends of Fresh Pond are sponsoring a table in the vestibule of the main Cambridge library between 9 and 11. We're trying to raise awareness of black swallow-wort, an extremely invasive and destructive plant that is becoming ever more a problem in the Northeast, and whose center of dissemination seems to be -- yup -- Cambridge, MA. We want people to learn to recognize the plant and its seed pods, so they can begin to monitor their own properties and other neighborhood infestations.

I know that many of you on this list are all too familiar with BS. But some may not yet have encountered it, or perhaps have encountered it but not recognized it.

Either way, if you're interested in this problem, stop by the library. Knowledgeable folks can share their expertise, and newbies will be able to acquire some, to the benefit of everyone's gardens. The more people who know about the Pod Patrol campaign, the better chance we'll have to contain this plant.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Peace Drum 2011 Awards & Exhibits

It was an exciting awards ceremony this year for Peace Drum teens as we were able to celebrate their accomplishments in our new space at AAMARP Studios. The third floor gallery was alive with creative teens and their families as the proceedings got underway. After a brief introduction, teens read excerpts from the elder's stories sharing their favorite adventures from the lives of Assefa deGiffe, Albert Carter, Bernice Simmons, and Jimmy Wright - all elders from the Amory Street Apartments. There wasn't time to read from all of the stories, but the complete collection is currently available at the Jamaica Plain Branch Library (BPL) along with the exhibit of 2011 drums. The stories and photos of the drums will be posted on CAI's website this summer for all to enjoy.
The awards ceremony was accompanied by three separate exhibits of the teen's work created during the year. Peace Drums were displayed in the third floor gallery, while prints of the teen's paintings (now on exhibit at Northeastern University) were exhibited in the Peace Drum Community Space, also on the third floor of AAMARP. Pop-Up creations made as part of our partnership with the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum's Community Creations Project are on exhibit on the fourth floor at AAMARP Studios through September. All of this visual productivity was complemented by a performance of original poetry and music by teen participant Joseph Ruiz who was accompanied by Joel Perea and Johan Caminiero of Roxbury.
Finally, seventeen awards were presented including two Community All-Star Awards. These were presented to Gloretta Baynes of AAMARP Studios, and Kerith Conron of the Institute on Urban Health Research at Northeastern for their outstanding advocacy and support of the Peace Drum Project during this year. All of the teen participants received awards, with the Special Leadership Awards going to Ivan Richiez, Joseph Ruiz, Jasmine Dozier, Janéa Williams, Jenny Nguyen, Joel Perea, and Livymer Cáceres. Livy also received the Charles M. Holley Memorial Scholarship Award. She will be attending Worcester State College in the fall. Five other teens also graduated from high school this year, and all will be attending college or community college in the fall. They are Ivan Richiez, Denzell Beasley, Jasmine Dozier, Rogenzo Cruickshank, and Tashia Ezell-Cuff.

In This Issue

Peace Drum 2011 Awards

Special Thanks

Peace Drum Flashback

Elder's Stories

What is the Peace Drum Project?

This project is Cooperative Artists Institute's after-school teen leadership initiative that combines performing and visual Arts in a fun, exciting process that helps teens develop while becoming a greater asset to their own communities. Boston teens learn important life and leadership skills like critical-thinking, problem-solving, listening and communication, creativity, empathy and understanding. This 30-week project brings teens together with Boston elders to help them recall and record their life stories. After interviewing the elders, each teen makes a personalized Peace Drum for each elder that reflects their life story. This sharing of stories builds common ground and connects the two generations with each other in a positive and lasting way. The blending of the Arts with the community service helps the teens develop maturity and build supportive, positive peer relationships. 
For more information call 617-524-6378, or check out

Special Thanks

Very special thanks to: 
The Janey Fund, Boston Cultural Council, Alice Willard Dorr Foundation, and to the many individual contributors who made the project possible this year
Your contribution to support The Peace Drum Project will ensure that we can continue to provide this one-of-a-kind experience to help at-risk youth transform their lives through the arts and their connection with elders in the community.

Related Links

JP PATCH Peace Drum Article

My Hopes & Dreams Exhibit

Intergenerational Connections Through the Arts 

Over 80 Elder Stories on CAI's Website

AAMARP @ Northeastern
Peace Drum Flashback

This year we've decided to add a feature that lets you hear from some past Peace Drum participants to see how their lives are going. In this newsletter we share some thoughts from Yolaida Martinez Garcia who was one of the early participants in the project. (She was interviewed by Danielle Moran, a graduate intern with the project last year. Danielle just received her Master's Degree from Simmons College.)

“Yolaida was a parent at age 15 and had a very difficult family life during the time when she was a participant. Yet her strong spirit and love of art gave her a resilience that is inspiring to those who know her. She is now married with two children, is finishing college, and is a Boston EMT. As with many of the young people who take part in the project, she has stayed in touch over the years and shared some of her thoughts with us recently.
"At the Peace Drum, there was a lot of diversity; there were people from different backgrounds. I learned about other communities, about other teen's lives, and we became family. When we came to the program we were listened to. There was always someone to talk to about what you were feeling. There was always someone to ask what your plans were - what you wanted to do with your life. Peace Drum staff members were like second parents, and I never wanted to leave. There was always laughter, always smiles. Even when someone had a bad day, we would all leave smiling.

My life at home was very difficult, but at the program there was an escape. The staff believed in me and told me I could accomplish things. They gave me the love and encouragement that I wasn't getting at home or in school. They told me not to quit school and that if I kept trying, things would get better, and they did. They helped me feel like a role model, and the other teens looked to me for counseling because I had already experienced a lot. I learned from the elders, too. Their stories helped me to stay grounded. The elders were a positive part of my development."

The Elder's Stories

The complete version of all of the elder stories will be posted on our website in August, 2011.,
Excerpted from the story of Priscilla Morris 

(Interviewed by Steven Casiano & Megan O'Neal)

"We moved quite a few times while I was in school. We lived with friends or had our own place. I lived in Arlington, Wakefield, Melrose and then Medford. There was one adventure that I had in my teenage years; yes - I did have an adventure! My mother and I were living with a family for a time in West Medford, and they had four or five boys all around my age. They were from teens to early 20s, and they were all into roller-skating. So, I used pick up the living room and the dining room and the kitchen for the mother, and she would give the boys a buck so they could take me roller skating. They were delighted to do that, and she persuaded my mother that it was fine - they would take care of me. So it was a real adventure rolling skating with them, because here are all these teenage boys fooling around and skating. To me this was like a wild movie. It was completely different from my usual life, and it was fabulous fun!

I absolutely loved school. School was the only place where if I did what I was told to do I was praised for it and people respected me for it and liked me. When I transferred to Medford High School, I think I was a junior. I was taking the college course because my mother didn't want me to take a business course. So I took Latin and French and all that great stuff, and it was good because I learned a lot. Seriously, I did!
There was this French Teacher who was about 60 years old then, and I was 16, or 17. Everybody loved her; about 30 people wanted to take her class, and I got in! She taught us Christmas carols in French and we put on plays, funny plays! We did all kinds of interesting things in French class and everybody in school loved the ground she walked on. She was a very excellent teacher. That was the one class I really dearly loved"

Excerpted from the story of Albert Eugene Carter

(Interviewed by Janéa Williams)

"The most important thing I learned from my family was love. We were poor, but what we really had was love. We cared so much about each other that I guess we really didn't care that we didn't have a whole lot of things. I would have to say that love is what they brought us up with. And, it rubbed off on my own family because you don't have to have a whole lot of money to have love. You have to care for everybody, so we cared for everybody. Through hard times and stuff, my mother always had love to share with her children and everybody.
So we never had any conflict when I was growing up. Even though our family was big - there were twelve of us - we never had an argument because my mother would stop any dispute right off. She would say, 'Uh uh, we don't have any argument here.' So we grew up realizing that there was no reason to argue because she was going to step in between us and stop it by whatever means necessary - even if she had to beat us both! So we took the lesson not to argue, and in my own family we don't argue either - we have a conversation. And if it doesn't work out, we jump to something else, so it cuts down on arguments. 
That also helped out in the long run because I'm more of a friend to everyone than an enemy. You can't rub me the wrong way; I don't get upset. I may lose my temper a little bit, but all of a sudden I sit back and it's over. I can't argue, because it doesn't solve anything. I learned this at an early age from my family.”

Cooperative Artists Institute

The Peace Drum Project is an initiative of the Cooperative Artists Institute, which has a 41-year track record of using the arts to create positive change in Boston. In 2010-11, nearly 15,000 children and adults took part in CAI's community-building multicultural art programs, and many others visited our website For more information, or to make a donation, call Susan Porter at (617) 524-6378 or mail to: 311 Forest Hills St, Jamaica Plain MA 02130-3605

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Blue Cloud Gallery at 713 Broadway, Ball SQ, Somerville is showcasing Medford artist Tamara Major's original framed watercolors of summer gardens, landscapes and sunsets. Tamara has been making art for as long as she can remember. Over the years, she has experimented with many different materials. It is important for her to convey 'states of being' in color & mood in whatever media she chooses to work in. She meditates on a scene or feeling, then conveys her impressions on paper. Much of her art is representative of a reflective, quiet experience as when observing nature; the garden & landscape images at Blue Cloud Gallery are some examples. Blue Cloud Gallery sells her cards and prints of local scenes year round. Summer Hours: Tues. - Sat. 11-7, Sundays 11-5, Closed Mondays.



Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The Whole Foods Market in Medford is looking for artists and crafts people working with and creating items from recycled, up-cycled, and repurposed material and hope to have a “trashion” show at their August 20th Green-Up Medford event. They plan to combine art and local green organizations/information about green lifestyle. Tables will be provided at no cost and the artists are free to keep whatever profit they make from their sales. The event will be held outdoors in their parking lot and they hope to make it a fun, festive inspiring and informative time for all ages.

If you’d like to participate, please contact:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


My husband Dan and I just signed the lease on a great retail location in Roslindale Square (20 Birch Street), where we are opening a shop called "Sarida". Sarida is Hebrew for the name "Bunny" – Dan's late grandmother's name. The shop is an "An Artist-run Marketplace for Local Art, Handcrafted Objects and Unique Findings". The lease begins this Saturday (July 16th) and we hope to have a "grand opening" shortly after Labor Day (but will have a soft opening prior to that -- basically as soon as we get enough product).

After participating in craft shows and artisan markets for a while, we've decided to take the indie route and open a year-round marketplace to showcase and sell local and regional art. We may include some interesting and unique retail items as well. Our goal is to provide a community-driven, creative space for artisans, designers and vendors to sell their wares. We will manage the shop, carry the lease, pay the bills and handle all operations – taking as much care and motivation to sell other's work in addition to our own.

The shop will be open a minimum of 4 days per week (more around the winter holidays), including two evenings in the warmer months… as the back door opens onto an adorable patio – which is the outdoor dining space for three popular restaurants! We plan to participate in the Roslindale Open Studios, have in-store artists' events (including but not limited to an "Artists of the Month" program), eventually facilitate art and craft classes and more.

We are currently accepting applications for artists, craftspeople and designers. You can visit our website at: to download the application and membership agreement. We are also on Twitter (shopsarida) and Facebook:


Wednesday, July 06, 2011


Artisan's Asylum is moving into a 25,000 square foot warehouse in September, where we'll offer bigger and better craft areas (which include woodworking, precision machining, welding, electronics assembly, bicycle repair and fabrication, fabric arts and computerized manufacturing facilities, to name a few), over 100 studio rental spaces for local artists, artisans, and entrepreneurs, and new amenities such as a kitchenette, a craft-focused retail storefront, a computer lab and more. We'd love for you to join us this Saturday, July 9th, from 7-11PM, for a sneak peak at our new space with an open house and fundraiser for our move. We'll have free food and drink, circus performances, installation art and galleries from local artists and craftspeople, music, and presentations about the history of and vision for Artisan's Asylum in the near future. The suggested donation at the door is $25, with funds going towards our move and infrastructural build-out of the new space.

We'll have a ton of information available at the event about our new membership options (several of which are less expensive than our current offerings), how to rent space with us, and how to get involved as a teacher, student, member, renter, or volunteer.

WHAT: Artisan's Asylum Open-House and Fundraiser
WHEN: July 9th, 7-11PM
WHERE: 10 Tyler St, Somerville MA

We hope to see you there!

-Gui Cavalcanti

President of Artisan's Asylum, Inc.

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