Artist-In-Residence 2020

‘Persistence: A Community Response to Pervasive Plastic’ Project will be on view through end of October, 2021 as part of the Pathways Initiative! Stay tuned for events and special announcements! If you are interested in joining a google group for project updates, please email our public art curator Cecily Miller. 

Artist in Residence 2020: ‘Persistence’, with Michelle Lougee

The Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture’s first artist-in-residence project brings highly regarded sculptor and fiber artist Michelle Lougee to town; many community partners are contributing to make the residency a success, especially the Arlington Public Library, which is contributing a home for the project at the Fox Library.

Working through June 2020, Michelle will create a large-scale collaborative public art project with the community for the Minuteman Bikeway. You are invited to learn how to crochet with “plarn” — a yarn made from recycled plastic bags — and contribute to a collaborative work with a message: if we all work together we can create beauty and protect the environment!

For questions about the Residency Project or Workshops, contact us at!
  • Michelle Lougee with a few of her creations

Project Overview


Michelle Lougee began using plastic bags as a material 10 years ago to draw attention to plastic pollution in our oceans. She creates elegant intricate forms that are reminiscent of organic life  coral reefs, seeds and nuts, insects and single cell organisms, reminding us of the complexity, beauty, resilience and fragility of the natural world around us. Her perspective complements Arlington’s commitment to environmental activism and stewardship.  The Town has been a leader in community-led efforts to reduce plastic waste; from kids in elementary school Green Teams who have eliminated plastic straws from their lunchrooms to the Zero Waste Committee activists who have organized to pass a single use plastic bag ban, stopping plastic pollution matters in Arlington.


Pathways was started in 2017 to bring art to Arlington’s Minuteman Bikeway. Every year artists have created something new for the busy section in the Cultural District near Spy Pond. For 2020, Michelle Lougee is collaborating with community volunteers to create a project calling attention to the dangers of plastic pollution while transforming plastic bags into public art.




We welcome new partners to join the project as it unfolds. Current partners are

  • ACMi (Arlington Community Media, Inc)
  • Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee
  • Arlington Center for the Arts
  • Arlington Council on Aging
  • Arlington Department of Public Works
  • Arlington Knitting Brigade
  • Arlington Public Libraries – the Robbins and Fox
  • Arlington Public Schools Green Teams
  • Arlington Recycles
  • Old Schwamb Mill
  • Sustainable Arlington
  • Town of Arlington Department of Planning and Community Development
  • Zero Waste Committee
  • The Roasted Granola Café
  • Arlington Scouts
  • ArtLinks

Pathways: Public Art on the Minuteman Bikeway

The goal of the residency is to create a new sculptural work for PATHWAYS, the ACAC’s initiative to bring public art to one of the busiest public spaces of Arlington: a section of the Minuteman Bikeway located in the Town’s Cultural District.

Michelle will be developing a site-specific design during January and February. At the same time, she will lead workshops to teach people how to create sculptural shapes; these shapes will be assembled to compose the finished work. The completed sculpture will be installed in 3 areas near Spy Pond, between Linwood Street and Swan Place, joining work by Christopher Frost and Johnny Lapham.

This collaborative “craftivist” project was inspired by RIPPLE, a vibrant knitted work created by artist Adria Arch and the 57 member Knitting Brigade in 2017.  RIPPLE transformed 12 trees with colorful patterns and unexpected textures, creating surprise and delight for the thousands of people who cycle and stroll by.  Many of the members of the Knitting Brigade are working with Michelle Lougee this year, forming the core of our new “Plarning Brigade.”


The residency is funded in part by grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the Grants Committee of the Arlington Commission for Arts & Culture. Library workshops, meet-ups and installations are supported by the FRIENDS OF THE FOX.  Additional funding provided by people who have created and purchased painted chairs at CHAIRFUL WHERE  YOU SIT, our annual fundraiser, and other individual supporters.


Advisory Group

  • Adria Arch
  • Lorri Berenberg
  • Leah Brouder
  • Kimberley Harding
  • Jill Manca
  • Stephanie Marlin-Curiel
  • Charlotte Milan
  • Rachel Olivieri
  • Elizabeth Rocco
  • Aneliese Ruggles
  • Amanda Troha