In the summer of 2019 (sooooo long ago, right?) I (Virginia) participated in the ICA Deep Dive conversation on maximalism. At this event she met, Mel Taing, a Cambodian-American photographer who had graduated from MassArt. Mel's photos from that event are some of my favorite photos of myself in my element, talking about creating with color and texture and specifically fiber as well as making something. I've stayed in touch with Mel since then, mostly on Instagram. I noted that in Mel's email signature there was a link to the MassArt JET (Justice, Equity, and Transformation) BIPOC Fund and was immediately interested in learning more.
The Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Fund is a student-led initiative to provide financial support to MassArt students in their studio art practice, senior degree and thesis projects to assist in their successful completion of their degree and ensure their contributions are reflected in our society. MassArt's Justice, Equity, and Transformation Office has mapped out goals to guide and lead work to achieve systemic equity in all areas of MassArt and does so by engaging faculty, staff, students, and the community. In the last year alone, I have worked with a number of MassArt graduates and have been struck by their creative resiliency in the face of the ongoing pandemic. We recognize that continuing a student art practice while navigating "uncertain times" presents multiple challenges, we hope that by fundraising for the BIPOC Fund we can help alleviate some of that uncertainty. Did you know that gather here offers a 15% student discount? Simply show us your student ID at checkout!
*Since launching the We Care Wednesday initiative in January 2017 we have donated over $44,500 to a variety of nonprofits doing essential work in our community as well as other places. From the Mayor's Disaster Fund to Girls Rock Boston to Movement Voter Project and Found In Translation. We select organizations that we feel represent not only our commitment to a better, more equitable world but also our desire to "do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."