New Art in Old Colony

Dear Friends,

SPOKE and its South Boston partners invite you to be part of New Art in Old Colony, an initiative to create public art for the Old Colony neighborhood as part of its next phase of redevelopment.

Old colony flyerSPOKE commissioned Boston artists Allison Maria Rodriguez and Franklin Marval to lead a series of workshops with Old Colony residents at the Tierney Learning Center to explore how works of public art can best reflect their vision, ideas, concerns, and hopes for the neighborhood.

The two part  workshops are July 29 followed by August 5th, Each session will take place from 6:00 pm- 7:30- Pm Participants will be asked to attend both sessions, one week apart.

The artists request each participant to bring an item to the first session that makes them think of home – this can be a photograph, a memento or physical object, an article of clothing, etc. If it is a digital image, you can send it in advance to if you would like to. The artists will ask you to share the meaning of your item with the group.

We are grateful to co-host New Art in Old Colony with South Boston En Accion, Tierney Learning Center, and the Old Colony Task Force. This project is possible through the generous support of the BHA, Beacon Communities, and the National Endowment for the Arts

To register, go here

To indicate that we have permission to use your photo in our promotional materials, please fill out this Media Release form here: MediaPermission , Spanish Media Permission Form

For questions call 781-820-3053 or email

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YouthSpeak Collaboration with the Boston Housing Authority

Dear Boston Friends,

We have a great summertime opportunity for city youth to share their stories, learn new skills, and earn money.

SPOKE (formerly Medicine Wheel) and Trend Stream Entertainment invite Boston public housing residents between the ages of 15-18 to be part of YouthSpeak, a paid digital storytelling program.

Working with skilled, creative teachers, young people will create photo- and video essays about topics that are important to them and their communities. They will share their work with instructors, staff, and other young people throughout the summer, culminating in a final photo- or video documentary for each participant.

With funding from the Boston Housing Authority, the YouthSpeak project will launch Wednesday, July 14, and conclude at the end of August. Youth will be paid a minimum of $13.50 per hour for 20 hours weekly. We have the capacity to engage up to 100 young people in this exciting new program.

To register go here.

To complete the Massachusetts Employment Permit for youth aged 14-17, please fill out this form: Massachusetts Employment Permit

To indicate that we have permission to use your photo in our promotional materials, please fill out this Media Release form here: MediaPermission

For questions call 781-820-3053 or email

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SPOKE Presents Allison Maria Rodriguez: Once in a Lifetime

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Once in a Lifetime: A Project of Allison Maria Rodriguez

Latest in Layered Time Series in South Boston Gallery

Once in a Lifetime: A Project of Allison Maria Rodriguez
(The 3rd of 4 in Layered Time series of solo exhibitions)


Exhibition Dates: June 28 to August 6, 2021

Reception & Gallery Talk: Wednesday, July 14

Reception  6 to 7pm  (In-person)

Gallery talk 7 to 7:30pm (Hybrid: Zoom & in-person)
A new video installation by celebrated Boston artist Allison Maria Rodriguez will be on view to the public beginning Wednesday, June 28 at the New SPOKE Gallery in South Boston. Entitled Once in a Lifetime, the exhibition is the latest in a series of solo shows called Layered Time, in which Boston artists working in a range of media explore themes of time and its passage. Kathleen Bitetti is Curator of the Layered Time series.
“We’re honored and delighted to present Allison’s work at our New SPOKE Gallery,” says Greg Liakos, Interim Executive Director. “It is provocative, immersive, and invites deep reflection on our relationship with our environment and with each other.”
Rodriguez’s new silent video installation has four large scale monitors and she has painted the gallery wall gray. The genesis of this work, and the video footage for it, comes directly from Rodriguez volunteering in Costa Rica to support researchers who are working to ensure the survival of leatherback sea turtles and their hatchlings, Bitetti writes in her curatorial essay for the show. Many of the remaining Pacific sea turtles nest in the sands of Playa Grande, Playa Ventanas, and Playa Langosta on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.(1)
During Rodriguez’s time volunteering in Costa Rica, a juvenile blue whale became stranded on the Playa Cabuyal beach. The blue whale, like leatherback sea turtles, is an endangered species. The blue whales’ endangerment is a direct result of humans nearly hunting the species into extinction. Rodriguez chose to paint the gallery wall a color called anchor gray, underscoring humanity’s direct role in endangering blue whales.
Three of the monitors are dedicated to the artist’s blue whale footage, while the fourth monitor is devoted to her footage of sea turtle hatchlings. The work, according to Rodriguez is, “both a memorial to and a witnessing of this particular whale, as well as a summoning within the viewer of a sense of the presence of interconnection. . . Multiple biologists stated that to see a blue whale this close is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity. The title of this project comes from the tension I experience in this phrase.”
Allison Maria Rodriguez is a first-generation Cuban-American interdisciplinary artist working predominantly in video installation and new media. She creates immersive experiential spaces that challenge conventional ways of knowing and understanding the world. Her work focuses extensively on climate change, species extinction and the interconnectivity of existence.
Through video, performance, digital animation, photography, drawing, collage and installation, Rodriguez merges and blends mediums to create new pictorial spaces for aesthetic, emotional and conceptual exploration. She uses art to communicate beyond language – to open up a space of possibility for the viewer to encounter alternative ways of connecting to the emotional realities of others. Rodriguez’s work has been exhibited internationally, throughout the country and extensively in the New England area, in both traditional and non-traditional art spaces. Her work is also on view in the recently opened exhibition, A Thread, Extended, at Northeastern University’s Gallery 360.
A 2021 finalist for Mass Cultural Council’s prestigious Artist Fellowships, Rodriguez is a 2019 recipient of SPOKE’s (then Medicine Wheel’s) Activist Artist Award.  She is also working alongside fellow Boston artist Franklin Marval on a SPOKE-led creative placemaking initiative in S. Boston’s Old Colony neighborhood. Funded by Beacon Communities and Boston Housing Authority, the project will engage residents and key institutional partners in Old Colony to create art that improves the quality of life in this neighborhood as it undergoes a complex, decade-long redevelopment. The arts will give voice to residents and community partners as they navigate the creation and growth of this neighborhood.
(1)  Quote from Earth Watch’s website for its program for volunteers.
Read more about Allison Maria Rodriguez’s exhibition here: Allison Maria Rodriguez show essay, Kathleen Bitetti
Register for the event on Zoom here. 

Layered Time is a series of four solo exhibitions connected thematically by visual artists who explore facets of time through painting, drawing, video, and multimedia. The three additional artists exhibiting in this series are David Lloyd Brown, Naoe Suzuki, and Shea Justice.

SPOKE Gallery @ MW Productions
840 Summer Street, Suite 103 South Boston, MA 02127 (Note New Address!)
Gallery hours by Appointment. To schedule email or call 617-315-7318
Directions by MBTA: Redline to South Station: #7 City Point Bus OR #11 City Point Bus
to East 2nd Street OR Redline to Broadway Station: #9 City Point to Broadway & L St.
There is limited street parking.
 Info about the image: Image courtesy of the artist and is a video still from the project: Once in a Lifetime, video installation 2021


WeSpoke Gallery Talk – Art, Climate, and Boston

Title: WeSpoke Gallery Talk – Art, Climate, and Boston
Date: 2021-07-28


This timely discussion with Allison Maria Rodriguez, Franklin Marval, and Carolina Aragón, will explore how and why these artists have put climate change at the center of their work here in Boston and beyond. Donna Brown, Executive Director of South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation & SPOKE Board member, will moderate the panel.

This WeSPOKE Gallery talk is presented alongside “Once in a Lifetime,” Allison Maria Rodriguez’s show at New SPOKE Gallery, and “New Art in Old Colony,” our creative placemaking initiative in South Boston’s Old Colony neighborhood. It also coincides with ”FutureSHORELINE,” Aragón’s temporary art installation that illustrates projected flooding in Boston due to sea level rise.

Register on Zoom here

Courtesy of

Courtesy of Photo credit: Matt Conti

First Old Colony workshops with Franklin Marval and Allison Maria Rodriguez

Title: First Old Colony workshops with Franklin Marval and Allison Maria Rodriguez
Start Date: 2021-07-22
End Date: 2021-07-23

SPOKE and its South Boston partners invite you to be part of New Art in Old Colony, an initiative to create public art for the Old Colony neighborhood as part of its next phase of redevelopment.

SPOKE commissioned Boston artists Allison Maria Rodriguez and Franklin Marval to lead a series of workshops with Old Colony residents at the Tierney Learning Center to explore how works of public art can best reflect their vision, ideas, concerns, and hopes for the neighborhood.

The first workshops will take place Tuesday, July 20 & Thursday, July 22, with follow up sessions Tuesday, July 27 & Thursday, July 29. Each session will take place from 10:30 am to noon. Participants will be asked to attend two sessions, one week apart. To register, go here:

SPOKE is a nonprofit organization that works to activate art to heal, transform community, and drive social progress. The organization (formerly Medicine Wheel) will make its future home in Old Colony by converting the former Boston Housing Authority headquarters building into a public arts center and the hub of a cultural campus that will serve residents of Old Colony and visitors from across Greater Boston.

We are grateful to co-host New Art in Old Colony with South Boston En Accion, Tierney Learning Center, and the Old Colony Task Force. This project is possible through the generous support of the BHA, Beacon Communities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.