Carolyn Lewenberg-73

My practice is driven by a desire to demonstrate reciprocity in action. To create opportunities to care, contribute, and connect with the Earth and with other people. Different expressions of art and culture can engage people in different ways, and I’ve learned to work with a variety of people and media to create site responsive work that may stand alone or create space to highlight other activities or modes of expression. I often collaborate with other artists and culture bearers, and engage community members in  developing ideas and creating work. My practice is driven by my skill as a listener, observer, and question-asker. I often center community engagement in the design and artmaking process around relevant themes that ground the work and drive the spirit of it. Guiding questions that have driven past project include “What keeps you afloat?” “How do we cultivate peace in the community?” “What makes (or would make) this place feel like home?” 

I am skilled at navigating relationships with multiple stakeholders (including schools, community groups, planners municipal government, and real estate developers) to find common goals and shared values to drive the work, figure out what questions to be asking, and how do it in creative ways that will engage people in conversations. (See Sole of Rockland, Muddle The Puddle, Transformed, and Hull Artwalk for some examples.)

 My ability to creatively incorporate the answers to these questions is one of my strengths, and to visually “speak” the language of a place and community through innovative art interventions and use of materials. My objective is to be present with people, lead with an open heart, and value their perspective in an artmaking process that leads to the creation of artistic interventions or products that will create authentic positive shifts in the community and empower people who may have been left out in the past. As the emphasis in the work is often to lift up underrepresented voices, strategy in the engagement process and building trust is central to the work. Whenever possible, I incorporate opportunities to connect with the Earth in new and authentic ways – ways that heal the land, nurture our spirit, build community, and empower people to take care of the Earth and each other. 

I’ve worked with institutions including Charlestown Navy Yard (National Park Service), the Boston Children’s Museum and Franklin Park Zoo to create site specific art installations. I’ve also worked with municipalities including the towns of Hull, Rockland, Natick, and Cities of Everett, and Boston on community engaged public art projects. I have worked for 12 years with the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park on several different initiatives that use art as a point of departure to develop interpretive programs focused on history and ecology. These initiatives include a summer on Bumpkin Island creating sculptural installation; organizing and co-curating the Bumpkin Island Art Encampment from 2007 to 2011; and developing the Boston Harbor Artist in Residency.

I was the first Artist in Resident at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) for an 18 month term from April of 2017-November 2018. I navigated the agency’s various departments and melded my own artistic practice with MAPC’s developmental work in communities across the region. At MAPC I was encouraged to initiate public art processes out of which site responsive and participatory projects would emerge. The projects I developed were primarily in collaboration with Public Health, Land Use, Community Engagement, and Environment. My practice during the residency focused on creative ways to build inclusivity in planning efforts, increase stewardship of the natural world, and engage residents in downtown revitalization efforts. The work includes the creation of a new sculptural community garden on a utility corridor, pop-up informational kiosks, sculptural vehicles for participatory art, and delivery of creative placemaking workshops with the Arts and Culture Team.

I earned a Masters in Art Teaching from Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) in 2012, and BS in Landscape Architecture from UMass Amherst in 2003. My practice is informed by these educational experiences, as well as working in landscape architecture, park stewardship, arts education, public art administration, and a continued desire to make things and play outside. My areas of expertise include sculpture, sculptural installation, social practice, environmental art, natural resource management, relationship building, youth development, curriculum development, and artistic collaboration.

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