Artist-in-Residence Chanel Thervil’s ‘Portraits of Black Arlington’

ACAC’s third Artist-in-Residence is Chanel Thervil, a Haitian-American artist who is making waves and spreading joy in the Greater Boston area with her vivid and compelling mixed-media portraits of friends, family, and informal community leaders. During her residency, Chanel will focus on capturing the likenesses and spirit of some of Arlington’s Black community members – living, working, or going to school in the town – for a celebratory public art project. At a time when social and racial justice challenges are urgent around the nation as well as here at home, our goal is to shine some light on our town’s diverse Black community. Jill Harvey, Arlington’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, is working in close partnership with Cecily Miller, ACAC’s Public Art Curator, to plan and implement this residency.  RepHAIRations, a welcoming storefront space selling Black hair products, locally made fashion items, and an outstanding selection of books on Black culture, has joined us as a partner; the store’s 3 co-owners are helping with outreach and hosting activities. 

Chanel facilitated several gatherings in October and November inviting Black folks to gather and share stories of living in Arlington.  At the end, Chanel encouraged everyone to fill out a poster with the prompt “I celebrate my Blackness by: ____” Some of these are currently on view in the storefront window of RepHAIRations (1339 Mass Avenue in Arlington Heights).

The next step is a photo shoot with Chanel on November 15 and 20 to collect source material for the final artwork.  If you are interested in participating, please email Cecily at cecily.apa@gmail.com for more information. Read more about the photo shoot here!