Monday, January 15, 2007

The Somerville Museum Imagines Somerville

By Doug Holder

After savoring my usual oatmeal scone at my favorite haunt in Union Square Somerville, the “Sherman” cafe, I had the good fortune to talk with the curator of the Somerville Museum, who has yet another ambitious project in the works. Michael O’Connell has been the curator at the museum (which is well-appointed on the corner of Westwood Ave, and Central Ave. in the Prospect Hill section of our burg) for 20 years. His upcoming brainchild titled “Imagining Somerville, “ will according to O’Connell: “ Provide a unique opportunity to those on the leading edge of local creative culture to influence the way that Somerville is perceived and defined as a physical place as well as a social, cultural and historical construction.” O’Connell said that this comprehensive exhibition will include work provided by community groups, as well as individual artists who address contemporary issues of identity, context and sense of place in relation to Somerville. And even more intriguing to this dyed-in-the-wool poet, is the auxiliary programming and events that will include a poetry and narrative reading that O’Connell has asked me to organize.

“Imagining Somerville” will consists of one or more works of up to 12 artists working in any medium amenable to exhibition in the galleries of the Somerville Museum. This would include painting, photography, sculpture, video, site installation, etc… The works presented will reflect: “an ever changing Somerville as a literal subject of figurative experience,” according to a press release.

O’Connell’s collaborator in this artistic enterprise is Jessie Chamberlain, a Tufts college student at the Tish College of Citizenship and Public service. The Tisch School is providing partial funding for the event.

O’Connell, who has experience as a working artist living in the Fort Point Channel artist community in Boston, and as an art installer in the prestigious “List Gallery” at MIT; hopes to have the exhibition up and running by the first week of May. During that week there will be associated events as well as poetry reading with members of the “Bagel Bards, “a Somerville group of poets and writers. Local writers of all stripes will be asked to participate in an open mic section of the reading. The poetry, like the visual component, should reflect as O’Connell put it”…the wonderful diversity of the city of Somerville.”

Contact: Michael O’Connell
Jessie Chamberlain

Poets/Writers contact:

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