Who Are Your Boston Arts Visionaries?



They are the men and women in our midst renowned for their accomplishments — the superstars who have received local and national acclaim for the work they do and the success they have achieved.

WBUR will be profiling some of these luminaries in a new series we’re calling “Boston Visionaries.” We’ll begin with the Arts — by profiling the work of outstanding musicians, actors, dancers and others.

As we plan this series, we want your input. Who are Boston’s most compelling and talented leaders in the arts world? Who would you nominate? We are looking for dynamic arts leaders with a sense of mission.

So share your ideas in the comments, and we might choose to profile them on-air and online.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on wbur.org.
  • Zandeerae

    In the large picture to me, no one really stands out, but two people at New England Conservatory are using the arts (music) for doing good things. 

    Kim Kashkashian began Music For Food last year.  These chamber music concerts are donated by world class musicians, and the only entry fee is a donation for the Greater Boston Food Bank in non perishable food goods or $$ . New England Conservatory has now begun donating to this cause by donating a large concert space to Music For Food. NEC graduate cello student, Debbie Pae, has pggy backed off this idea, and not only participates, but now has organized her own musical donations for women’s shelters.

    Good international level music, doing good. 
    We need more people like these two important ladies.  The arts are always asked to donate and donate and donate (mind you very little tax write off in these donations) but these two ladies weren’t “asked”.  They came up with this idea and are convincing others to participate and do good with their substantial talent.

  • Bikesurf

    Edward Saywell at the MFA. He is a very creative, intelligent, successful behind the scenes  visionary. He’s not the type to draw attention to himself but he deserves to be highlighted.

  • http://profiles.google.com/phyllis.craine Phyllis Craine

    Casting a wider net would be great and I’ll  add Rennie Gold, who is the director of The Gold School Dance Art in Brockton.  His students have performed all over the world, they routinely win national championships  and admission to dance college programs at Tisch,  Alvin Ailey and Julliard.  Kenny Wormald who stared in the recent remake of Footloose studied there as well.   Four young male dancers were also featured on “Dancing With The Stars” this season. As for mission – well Rennie is all about mission; he  advocates strongly for anti-bullying protections in schools and his young Project Moves dancers are engaged in community service dance performance that spreads the anti-bullying message through a program his dancers present in Massachusetts schools.  There is magic happening at at the Gold School trust me!

  • Unknown

    The Gold School Dance Art <3

  • Dancer Parent

    Rennie Gold at The Gold School Dance Art – He not only teaches his students to be great dancers, he inspires them to be dedicated and compassionate  people.  Rennie Gold incorporates messages of hope, community and mutual respect into his dances and performance programs and through these programs, and the classes taught by him and the other faculty at the school, the students are learning how to become better adults. 

  • Satori Bailey

    Iyeoka (ee-yo-kah) is a Nigerian-American award-winning poet, recording artist and TED fellow. She’s a visionary and an inspiration.

    • Klaxto

      i agree. i have performed with iyeoka many times. she is inspirational and on a mission!!

  • http://twitter.com/IamSauerkraut sauerkraut

    Erica Licea-Kane.  Underappreciated fabrics designer, RSDI grad, arts instructor, Wheelock Museum director.  Give her some love.

  • Klaxto

    jason palmer. without a doubt.

  • guest

    Helen Molesworth (ICA)Jen Mergel and Edward Saywell (MFA)
    Marilyn Arsem (Artist, SMFA Instructor, founder of Mobius)
    Taylor Davis (Artist, Instructor MassArt)
    Tony Schwensen (Artist, Instructor SMFA)
    Anthony Greaney (Gallerist)

  • Anonymous

    Anthony Amore, Director of Security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

  • niki z

    actors’ shakespeare project – well known for their plays but the breadth and depth of their education programs, including incarcerated youth at play, deserve a little attention.  

  • Steve

    Amanda Palmer

  • ET07

    Kieran Jordan, Irish dancer and choreographer

  • Mintgum313

    Rennie Gold – The Gold School – Cast of  Accept ME! They are changing the world one step at a time, they bring a message of acceptance for EVERYONE. The are motivating, inspirational…and some of  the most down to earth young adults you will ever meet!

  • Joeyb

    As unlike me as it, I nominate myself. Just over 2 years ago, I co-founded the Boston Jewish Music Festival. Since that time, we have had 11,000 attend our events. Ranging from an evening of creative ritual music to a Hora Down Hanover Street, BJMF present the very best in Jewish music from all across the globe. In just two years, we have grown from a personal mid-life crisis to one of the most respected presenter of Jewish music and culture in America.  It has been a personal mission that touches on issues of class, faith, family sacrifice (we sold our home to make this happen), and community.

  • Misskenzie11

    Fernadina Chan & Sheryl Pollard-Thomas – Boston Arts Academy

  • Kwhite1620

    Rennie Gold and his Project Moves students… not only is Rennie creating dedicated, brilliant dancers, but he is showing them the power artists have to change minds and touch hearts. Last year’s Accept ME dance concert (performed both locally and at the Joyce Theater in NYC) was filled with moving, powerful moments about anti-bullying–many moments created by the students themselves. A brilliant choreographer, Rennie could probably work with top industry professionals, but he chooses to stick by these kids–he believes they can change the world through their artistry, and so, the kids believe it too. And they do.

  • Deveautrain

    Reuben Reynolds and Chad Weirick and the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus have been a part of the Boston arts and GLBT Landscape for 30 years.  Their shows are a tremendous example of the diversity of choral music. Reuben is a triumphant conductor with creative and unique vision, and Chad is more than an accompanist – he is one of the most well regarded arrangers in the GALA chorus movement.  In addition to their shows, they have an award-winning outreach program, that shows their commitment to their mission “Creating a More Tolerant Society through the Power of Music”. Their holiday shows are going on this weekend.  If you haven’t taken them in, you must do so!  Tickets are on their website (www.bgmc.org) and they perform in the NEC’s Jordan Hall – which is a great place to see a show!  So intimate and the 150 member chorus sounds fantastic!

  • Erica

    Rennie Gold and The Gold School!!!! Rennie has taken a passion and made a cause for changing the world!!!! An inspiration to all of us dance artists!!!!

  • Amcphee1

    The Gold School, Project Moves Dance Company, and their director Rennie Gold. I don’t know how to explain it. You have to see it to believe it. Something happens to these kids when they dance. They come into their own. They are artists. Rennie and his staff teach these kids so much more than dance. He
    teaches them to believe in themselves and to make this world a better

  • Anne

    Washington – Kera is the founder of the award-winning Zili Misik (an all female
    world music ensemble that retraces routes of forced exile and cultural
    resistance through diasporic rhythm and song: roots music of the African
    Diaspora). As a student at Wellesley College in 1988, she founded the student
    ensemble Yanvalou, a folkloric group that performs the traditional music and
    dance of Africa. She is now a member of the faculty of the Music Department at
    Wellesley and directs Yanvalou, She also teaches in Boston Public Schools
    (she’s an Integrated Arts Teacher at the R. W. Emerson School in Roxbury). 

  • Marita

    Fay Chandler, founder of The Art Connection, and the small but incredibly dedicated staff who help turn some of the most unexpected spaces into inspiring, colorful art galleries. As a volunteer, I think it’s a really cool collaboration of so many people in the Boston community! 

    Tons of artists and art collectors are involved, donating all different kinds of art to local community organizations from major hospitals to local schools to homeless shelters. I think it’s even inspiring similar organizations in other cities! 

    Here’s the huge list of amazing places who’ve received art: http://www.theartconnection.org/receive-or-donate-art/receive-art/participating-agencies

  • Beata

    Tod Machover – Professor at the MIT Media Lab, composer and musician.  Check out: 

  • http://twitter.com/larjack1 Lawrence J. Cohen

    Ralph Helmick, http://helmicksculpture.com/
    Sculptor whose local commissions include the beloved Arthur Fiedler head on the Esplanade and the piece in the atrium of the new Dana Farber building.  He has major installations at airports, stadiums, and other prominent locations–including crime labs– across the country and around the world.

  • guest

    VISUAL arts…they do exist here.

  • http://www.gwarlingo.com Michelle Aldredge

    The person I’m most eager to talk to in the Boston arts community is contemporary arts curator Trevor Smith at the Peabody Essex Museum. Smith is doing the impossible–bringing top quality contemporary artists into a traditional museum setting and asking them to do create new work in response to PEM’s collection. PEM’s Freeport series has been a knock-out so far with works by filmmaker Peter Hutton, visual artist Michael Lin, and the fabulous (and controversial) Marianne Mueller. Smith is breathing new life into the conservative Peabody Essex. Because of Trevor Smith, I now make regular trips from Southern New Hampshire to Salem, Massachusetts, just to see the latest Freeport installation.

    Michelle Aldredge
    Editor of Gwarlingo.com
    Gwarlingo : Art . Ideas . Community

  • Joanne Barrett

    From The Top – Co-Founders and Co-Executive Producers Gerald Slavet and Jennifer Hurley-Wales http://fromthetop.org/node/84

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