Picasso painting on loan to JFK Library

Chris Harding, Special to the Reporter
Nov. 1, 2012

Rape of the Sabine Women (1963) by Pablo Picasso is currently on display at the JFK Library.

The most famous and most valuable painting ever to visit Dorchester is currently on display at the JFK Library and Museum. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has loaned the larger-than-life-size Pablo Picasso canvas “Rape of the Sabine Women” (1963) to the Columbia Point landmark through Jan. 6, 2013.

This multimillion dollar masterwork, created shortly after the 13-day Cuban missile crisis of 1962, is on display to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s announcement of a blockade of Soviet vessels upon the discovery of Russian missiles with nuclear warheads in Cuba.  Read more

Lower Mills mural to depict bygone village

Gregg Bernstein at work on the side of The Sweet Life restaurant. Photo by Bill Forry

Gregg Bernstein drew his inspiration for a new mural he’s painting this week in Lower Mills from an old postcard. Bernstein, the man behind many of Boston’s largest and most celebrated wall murals, has been commissioned to paint the scene by the owners of The Sweet Life, a restaurant and café that opened at the corner of Richmond Street and Dorchester Ave. in September.  Read more

Ragtime hits Strand Theatre with special deals for Dot attendees

Ragtime: Actors Damian Norfleet and Tia DeShazor star in the musical, now running through Oct. 7 at the Strand Theatre.Ragtime: Actors Damian Norfleet and Tia DeShazor star in the musical, now running through Oct. 7 at the Strand Theatre.On Sept. 15 at the new Taj Boston Hotel, controversial playwright/librettist Terrence McNally received the Beacon Award from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts.

The festivities continue this week as “Ragtime,” the 1997 Broadway musical for which McNally received a Tony Award for Best Book, opens at Dorchester’s Strand Theatre on September 28 and runs through October 7. Producers chose the ethnically diverse Uphams Corner as a particularly fitting neighborhood in which to present this exploration of America’s proverbial status as “melting pot” and “land of opportunity.”  Read more

Mattapan native takes star turn on Project Runway

Elizabeth Murray and Bill Forry
Jul. 25, 2012

Sonjia Williams: Project Runway designer hails from Mattapan.Sonjia Williams: Project Runway designer hails from Mattapan.A Mattapan native is taking a star turn on TV’s most well-known fashion-themed reality show. Sonjia Williams, 27, has already built a strong following in Boston and New York with her clothing designs. Now, she’s hoping that international exposure on the Project Runway program will take her to a whole new level.

The show – now in its tenth season on Lifetime— airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m. Expert judges critique the work of the contestants, who are assigned to make new creations for each episode. Designers are voted off each week until there is a final winner. Her first challenge during the first episode – which aired July 19 – took place in the middle of Times Square.

Williams grew up in Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury and has not forgotten her roots since moving to New York.  Read more

Historical Society showcases Dot artists past and present

Chris Harding, Special to the Reporter
Jul. 4, 2012

Last Friday at “Dorchester Artists: Past and Present,” Kyara Andrade, at left, a contemporary Dot artist, chatted with Karen MacNutt, daughter of deceased Dot artist Glenn Macnutt, whose “Mother and Child” canvas is seen behind them. The painting depicts Ms. MacNutt as a baby. Photo by Andrea Kunst

As part of its second annual Dorchester Descendants festivities last weekend, the Dorchester Historical Society (DHS) threw open its doors for a double-barreled, century-spanning art display at the William Clapp House, the DHS headquarters at 195 Boston Street.

The three-day “Dorchester Artists: Past & Present” featured works by painters, photographers, sculptors, ceramicists and cartoonists who lived at some point in their lives in the neighborhood. Works by artists largely from the nineteenth century were selected by DHS President Earl Taylor and hung in the “second best parlor” while an unjuried show of contemporary pieces was coordinated by Andrea Kunst, Chair of the Board of the Dorchester Arts Collaborative (DAC), in the “best parlor.”  Read more

DotArt’s ‘Snazzy Jazzy’ gala has its most Cape Cod flair ever

Next Thursday’s Snazzy Jazzy Arty Party promises to be Dot Art’s  biggest fundraising event yet, according to organizers. It will certainly be the one with the most Cape Cod flair ever.

In past years the swanky soiree was held in private homes in places like Melville Park. This year supporters will be reveling at Dot’s  First Parish Church on Thursday, June 21, from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.  Read more

O’Neill play 'Murph' heavy with familiar pol references

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
May. 3, 2012

Catherine O'Neill: Playwright leaned on in-depth knowledge of Boston's political culture.Catherine O'Neill: Playwright leaned on in-depth knowledge of Boston's political culture.The political drama 'Murph' wrapped up its run at the Boston Playwrights' Theatre last week, with its director hinting that the play could eventually make a return to the stage.

The play, written by Dorchester's Catherine O'Neill, packs the constant drama of the Massachusetts State House into 90 minutes of fast-paced dialogue and unraveled secrets, with winks and nods for the Beacon Hill insiders in the audience.  Read more

Walter Sickert & Army of Broken Toys fuel steamy sci-fi theater ride

Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys: Pictured clockwise from  left, Mike Leggio, Jojo Lazar, Edrie, T.J. Horn, Rachel Jayson, Meff, and Walter Sickert. Photo by Hans Wendland Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys: Pictured clockwise from left, Mike Leggio, Jojo Lazar, Edrie, T.J. Horn, Rachel Jayson, Meff, and Walter Sickert. Photo by Hans Wendland

Okay, so they’re transplants who’ve yet to experience their first Dot Day. They’re still new enough to the neighborhood that they marvel at the speed and efficiency of the Red Line from Ashmont into town.

Yeah, that new.

But, this week, we’re claiming Walter Sickert, band co-founder Edrie, and their assorted Army of Broken Toys band-mates as unequivocally ours. After you see their current production — a steamy, immersive, sci-fi theater ride called 28 Seeds that is now being staged at the Boston Center for the Arts through May 12— you’ll want to claim them, too.  Read more

Underground potential: Is your ‘hood home to Boston’s next break-out artist?

Melissa Tabeek, Special to the Reporter
Mar. 22, 2012

Shea Rose performs on the Red Bull Soundstage at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas last week.: Photo courtesy Rox www.roxnrollin.comShea Rose performs on the Red Bull Soundstage at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas last week.: Photo courtesy Rox www.roxnrollin.comBoston’s neighborhoods have launched their share of music superstars into orbit in past decades. Donna Summer, the original disco diva, hailed from Dot. Gang Starr’s legendary MC Guru (aka the late Keith Elam) honed his rap chops in Four Corners. And, of course, New Edition and New Kids on the Block served as the twin pillars of boy band stardom in the 1980s and 90s.

The landscape that spawned those artists has changed dramatically. Local artists are now able to utilize tools such as social media, pirate radio stations, and the Internet to market their music and create hype for themselves, rather than having to depend on a record company or promoter to do it.

This autonomy has made it easier not only for musicians to share their music and build a fan base, but to capitalize on opportunities also. Through a Twitter competition among Red Bull Soundstage artists, Shea Rose — an up-and-coming singer who has lived in Dorchester, Braintree, and now Mattapan — was able to rally her fans to help her win an all-expenses paid trip to Austin, Texas, to this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival. She performed at the Red Bull Soundstage at the Universal Music Group Showcase.  Read more

Liz Carney takes up DotArt challenge

Meena Ramakrishnan Special to the Reporter
Mar. 8, 2012

Liz CarneyLiz CarneyComing back to Dorchester means a lot to Liz Carney and even more for the Dorchester Community Center for the Visual Arts, or DotArt, as its more commonly called. After a year-long search for the right match, the non-profit center has found the perfect fit in Carney as the new executive director.

Much of the youth-oriented programming has been scaled back since founding director Leslie MacWeeney stepped down. The organization was largely volunteer-driven with fewer classes being offered. But Carney is determined to get the center back on its feet with new classes in the spring, future partnerships and summer fundraising.  Read more