"Just because people are saying no, it doesn't mean you're not making great stuff."
June Krinsky-Rudder, cofounder of East Boston Artist Group, shared this advice during our recent Open Doors event in East Boston, and we think it offers some powerful motivation for creatives across Boston.
The event in Eastie's Shipyard was a celebration of creativity and self-expression, thanks to our partners at the ICA Watershed, Windy Films, Downeast Cider, Neon Williams, and the Nantucket Lightship. Each of these institutions welcomed attendees into the East Boston spaces where their creations come to life.
Read on for some highlights from the evening.
What's a creative ecosystem, anyway? A panel discussion at the ICA Watershed kicked things off in a setting fit for a conversation around creativity. Justin Pasquariello of East Boston Social Centers moderated the session, including Krinsky-Rudder of East Boston Artist Group; Matthew Pollock of HarborArts Gallery; Corey DePena, Youth Development and Performance Manager, ZUMIX; artist Veronica Robles; and Kelly Gifford, Director of Public Engagement & Planning, ICA/Boston. These community leaders cited the power of connection and collaboration in East Boston's development into a creative haven.
#NoFilter - Over at Downeast's Cider House, tours of the production space were followed by lessons in cider making from some of the craft's masters. While apples are at the core of every Downeast cider, we discovered how ingredients like pineapples, pumpkin and grapefruit are tossed into the mix to produce flavorful seasonal varieties.
Lights, camera, action - At the Windy Films studio, a quote on the wall asked, "The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit. What are you planting?" This prompt planted seeds of inspiration for creative exploration from attendees; from digital photoshoots to wall painting, a Polaroid selfie station, and even pinball, the Windy team promised no restrictions. See some of the evening's creations here.
Speaking of lights... The Shipyard is filled with warehouse space, perfect for storing neon signs in progress. Dave Waller, a neon sign preservationist, demonstrated his plans to restore his neon "Diving Lady" from a 1950s motel in Lake George. Once it's finished, East Bostonians are in for a treat: There are only a dozen or so neon Diving Ladies left in the U.S. You can view Dave and Neon Williams' finished creation in the Shipyard in just a few weeks!
Come sail away - The historic Nantucket Lightship, docked in our very own Boston Harbor, isn't your typical 100+ year-old boat. Acting as a floating lighthouse, the ship is equipped with lights that help to keep other boats from sailing too close to shallow waters. Attendees got on deck for a tour of the lightship to understand its illustrious history.
Missed out on our East Boston event, but want to join us next time? Open Doors Dudley Square takes place in just two short weeks! Come together in the commercial and cultural heart of Roxbury on September 9 for discussion, performances, mentorship, food, and much more.