I've attached quick overviews of my participatory design projects: From Dad, With Love and the Social Justice and Media Symposium. I was the lead designer for both, as well as the co-organizer for the Symposium. For Melody, I've attached two examples of her stage scenic design and production design work. I have also attached a quick, informal mockup of what our proposed project could look like.
I am an emerging multimedia artist and graphic designer whose work primarily focuses on creating joy and healing through creative healing activities, participatory design, play, and community art. I create both virtual and physical experiences that are rooted in community and social justice. My most recent work includes: Planetogether, a virtual, Zoom-based activity that encourages local Boston youth to envision and create new worlds through play and civic imagination, and From Dad, With Love, a participatory design project in collaboration with Boston's Office of Returning Citizens. As the lead designer, I worked with formerly incarcerated fathers to create AR postcards addressed to their children, which contained paintings, letters, or songs when opened. As a graphic designer, my work has focused on amplifying the mission and messaging of non-profits, local grassroots movements, and women-owned businesses and collectives through vibrant, accessible design.
My collaborator, Melody Hsu, is a multidisciplinary designer from Taiwan who is based in Boston.As a designer, Melody is soulfully inspired by both her cross-cultural identity and her background in fine arts. She rocks between impressionism and modernism. When designing, she guides her team to experiment, to adapt, and to thrive through their learning experiences. To her peers, she is the wild card; the one to say "this is going to sound crazy but what if...". As Melody uses her gifts of intuition and motivation to thrive and to elevate the community in which she lives, she looks forward to continuing to grow into the empathetic and impactful designer that she knows herself to be.
Artist StatementWe are both human-centered designers who find joy in creating inclusive, safe, and playful spaces for BIPOC individuals and communities to come together and connect through shared experiences, storytelling, and creativity. We believe that art is a powerful tool for connection - it allows us to tap into our thoughts, ideas, and desires and share them with the world in a way that can inspire change, understanding, and healing. A shared experience through art can create loving connections that are centered in care, vulnerability, and understanding, which is why we are passionate about community co-creation and designing shared experiences.
Our preliminary concept is a public sculptural installation that consists of three to four eye-catching, life-sized, multi-colored mushrooms that will serve as places of shade, gathering, and rest. Each mushroom will be around the size of a street lamp and contain different sensory experiences, art-making activities, and prompts to encourage conversation among participants. We would specifically like our conversational prompts to encourage reflection about BIPOC identity in Boston, the process of reconnecting after a year and a half of isolation, and civic imagination for a more joyful, inclusive future.
As BIPOC individuals living in Boston, we've personally found very few spaces, both public and private, to come together in conversation and connection with other BIPOC folks. Our dream is to have this installation be that gathering space during a time where connection is so desperately desired. We have gravitated towards mushrooms because of their symbolism and meaning in nature: rebirth and transformation. We'd ideally like to install this public art experience on a green space in either Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Roxbury, and Allston -- all neighborhoods that we are invested in and have close connections to. We'd also love to find ways to activate local organizations, businesses, activists, and community leaders and incorporate them into the design process to ensure that we are designing for the community and with the community. We want to be highly conscious of how we enter and exit our location and create an impact that can live on beyond our installation.
As mentioned in the previous response, there are few known gathering spaces for BIPOC communities to come together in a safe, joyful, and inclusive space for discussion. After Sumi attended a mixer for women of color (Rooted, hosted by First Year Project and Zone 3 Western Ave) in Allston, they realized how necessary it was to have more events and spaces that are dedicated to us and created by us. Every individual they met that day expressed a need to connect with more folks of color in the Boston area as our communities are typically siloed away. We want to use this post-isolation moment to build and expand the way BIPOC communities gather in Boston and to create new connections and communities along the way. We also want this installation to be open, playful, and a place of healing -- a celebration of our identities and a refuge from some of the hardships we may face.