2021 – Healing, Recovery and Hope

Healing. Recovery. Hope.

The promise of 2021 is that we can heal the wounds of 2020, whether they came from the Covid-19 pandemic, economic hardship, racial injustice, or assaults on our democracy.

So this year Medicine Wheel Productions redoubles its mission to activate the transformative power of art to heal individuals and communities, and build bridges of hope and understanding. We urgently need art, story, music and dance to make meaning of this unique moment and work our way through it to a more beautiful Boston, a greater Commonwealth, and a more hopeful nation.

Medicine Wheel builds on nearly 30 years of work opening art as a threshold to drive social change in Boston and beyond. In 2021 that starts by strengthening the foundation of our organization so it can effectively meet that mission and expand its reach. With a generous capacity-building grant from the Devonshire Foundation, we’ve hired veteran arts and cultural leader Gregory Liakos as Medicine Wheel’s Interim Executive Director. Greg joins Michael Dowling, Founder and Artistic Director, and a talented, committed team of Board and staff to create a sustainable, strategic plan for Medicine Wheel. While doing so we’ll advance our work through several exciting new initiatives, including:

  • Days Without Art: Expanding our signature World AIDS Day vigil with a wider, multimedia, virtual conversation with the Greater Boston community. It starts with a 24-hour, virtual vigil Sunday, Feb. 7, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and continues through February. We’ll remember our Black brothers and sisters whose lives have been impacted by HIV & AIDS and highlight the links between health and race that the Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare. Leading this innovative project is Amanda Shea, a spoken word poet, social activist, and teaching artist.
  • Witness, a powerful new documentary film chronicling the work of two venerable New England churches–one suburban, predominantly white and Unitarian, the other a historically Black Methodist Church in Boston–as they work to overcome histories of segregation through art and the Christian message.
  • Rising Waters: The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Medicine Wheel a prestigious $20,000 grant to bring the voices of artists to the conversation on climate change and its impact on our city. Renowned artists Franklin Marval and Allison Maria Rodriguez, whose practices are informed by social justice, will engage and create with some of the most socially vulnerable residents of Boston living in Old Colony, the oldest public housing projects in the country. We must match this grant to fulfill this ambitious project.

Old Colony takes on special importance this year as it will also be Medicine Wheel’s new home! The City of Boston and Beacon Communities generously donated the development’s historic former headquarters to our organization as part of their redevelopment of the neighborhood. Once transformed, this new building will allow us to provide a much broader, more diverse array of exhibitions and programs to our public, and expand our award-winning work with artists and young people. The new space reaffirms our commitment to South Boston as it undergoes significant growth and change.

Meantime we’ve moved into a gorgeous new temporary space at 840 Summer Street. Here Curator Kathleen Bitetti will activate a new SPOKE Gallery with Layered Time, a series of solo shows by David Lloyd Brown, Shea Justice, Allison Maria Rodriguez, and Naoe Suzuki starting next month. Each of these exceptional artists works at the intersection of art, culture, and social action.

There’s so much more we have envisioned for 2021 and beyond. We’ll share more details in the coming months. Now, though, Medicine Wheel needs your help. Your gift will enable us to match the generous donors who have allowed us to weather 2020 and advance our creative work of healing, recovery, and hope.

Thank you.

With deepest gratitude,

The Medicine Wheel Productions Team

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