Turning the Wheel 2018
MW Productions Honors four outstanding citizens with Awards
Ifé Franklin has worked as a professional artist and community activist for over 25 years. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Ifé began her arts education in high school, focusing then on black and white photography. Ifé entered The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in the late 1980’s Ifé enrolled in, “The Art of Africa,” course where she met her mentor, Master Adire Artist Mr. Stanley Pinckney. Ifé continues to created Adire (traditional West African resist and dying techniques. Ifé owns and operates IféArt®. which produces sculpture, installations, drawing, collage, photography, and fiber arts. Ifé often works collaboratively with other social justice organizations, and artists Ifé believes it is her destiny to create and use her voice to convey her passion for the arts and her love for freedom, peace and justice.We were thrilled to launch her Indigo project at MWProductions and look forward to more collaborative efforts that use art to help people locate themselves in these urgent times.
William Stoddard-Bill started his career back in 1977 at the Condon Community Center. After a couple of years he moved on to the Boston Parks & Recreation Department and then on to the Executive Director of the Boston Police Athletic League. He was introduced to MWProductions and Michael Dowling around 1996, 1997 at a meeting behind South Boston High School in an area called No-Man’s Land. That is where the relationship with MWP began in the 90’s. As the Executive Director of the Boston Police Athletic League, Bill still supports MWP and the great work they do in collaboration with cops and kids, specifically the Hand in Hand program. Bill has been a true and dear friend to all of our work at MWP.
Carly Craig-Since I was a young girl I always struggled. They say some people are born with a “hole in their soul” and I definitely know mine is deep. After using alcohol and drugs through high school I found myself at my first treatment center, The Cushing House, at age 19. That was my first taste of hope that stayed with me. I was with a bunch of girls my age who struggled like me. We worked with MWP on the Serenity Garden at No Man’s Land and it was a huge influence in my life. Expressing myself through art has always been helpful to my recovery. Unfortunately that wasn’t it for me. I struggled in and out of treatment for years with periods of sobriety but never really surrendered. My family lost my dear brother to suicide who also suffered from addiction and that didn’t stop me. I’ve lost so many brilliant friends due to addiction and that didn’t scare me. Even becoming a mother in sobriety with all the love in my heart for my child, I couldn’t find my way. It wasn’t until my late 20’s, still experimenting with drinking and failing miserably, that I said this is enough. I said a prayer and meant it that I couldn’t do this anymore. That nothing made me feel okay anymore. I asked God for help that day. I told him I was finally ready and I’ve stayed close to Him since. I’ve had to do a lot of work on myself this time and I still am. My daughter is now 8 and I can finally say I’m being the best mother I can be for her. I’m currently switching careers to a licensed barber and working at a family shop. I have an amazing relationship with my family and daughter. I love Alcoholics Anonymous and I’m not ashamed to say it. My family has a Summer camp in memory of my brother to be a positive influence on young adults. I’ll be running a mediation class for them this year which I’m really looking forward to. We took them to MWP last year and we are hoping to again soon! I’m so grateful for all the chances I’ve received and with the help of God, family, and friends, I didn’t give up. Because what a blessing it is to not just be alive, but to feel alive.
Damarius B. is a young man who came to MWP while in DYS custody. Last summer while working with us at No Man’s Land he was confronted by some hateful, racist graffiti painted on the outdoor classroom at No Man’s Land. In the years that we have worked at No Man’s Land this has been an ongoing problem and one that is difficult to explain to young men and women of color, particularly if we are asking those young people to reclaim this site as a community sanctuary. Rather than get angry Damarius showed amazing leadership and made friends with many of the local youth who regularly might “hang out” at No Man’s Land and who might also be involved in the vandalism. His question to them was “Why do you destroy the place where you live?” His work in stopping the vandalism was brilliant and has led us to deepen our work at No Man’s Land to create a sober and safe gathering space for all you live, work or go to school in south Boston
I wanted to thank you for your generous and continued support of the work we do to create a brave new normal; a normal where each of us can claim our voice; a normal where we feel witnessed in the neighborhoods where we live, work, and go to school. Your help has allowed our to deepen in these urgent times. Our motto has been, moving beyond diversity to inclusion, building community from the inside out, using art as the threshold.
We have been so lucky to use our participatory public art projects to address some of the most significant issues and populations of our times including, race, violence, addiction, court involved youth, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, police and community relations, the environment, and poverty. Our public art projects recognize that we are all spokes of the wheel that if one spoke is broken the wheel is broken.
The Barr-Klarman Massachusetts Arts Initiative, Building Adaptive Capacity, has recently invited us to submit a concept paper. This comes at a time when our work is expanding into new territory. Our acclaimed Hand In Hand Project, pairing Boston Police Officers with young people is expanding into East Boston to work with immigrant families and police. We were also recently invited and funded by the Linde Family Foundation with a two-year Youth Arts Funding, Bridge Grant Initiative. This invitational RFP was in direct response to the funding gaps that the youth arts sector in Boston has been experiencing.
We have also being considered by the BPDA, Boston Planning and Development Agency and 50 Liberty LLC to create a new cultural space on the Boston Waterfront. This bold move would allow us to scale and scope our work, while creating a legacy organization that continues to use art to heal and address the issues of our times.
This recognition has been the result of your belief in our work! I cannot thank you enough for your support. Others are investing in Medicine Wheel because of your investment and belief in our work!
Each year we hold our annual “Turning the Wheel Event” in June. The event is schedule for June 14th. This event provides us with the unrestricted dollars that we need to continue our projects and our programs. I hope you will commit to being a sponsor this year or to serve on our Host Committee.
Artistic Director and Founder