March is Women’s History Month, and two local women are showing their leadership skills in arts promotion and sales. This Saturday, March 23 from at 4-8p.m., former Mattapan resident Joëlle Jean-Fontaine is heading up the first of what she hopes will become a monthly event, the “I AM KRÉYOL” Bazaar. She bills it as “a monthly arts’ market showcasing a variety of creative disciplines, including but not limited to fashion, visual art, music, culinary, and film.”
This 32-year-old designer and entrepeneuse is experienced at organizing free arts afternoons to attract customers to her fashion shows and displays. For example, she held one such event at the Great Hall in Codman Square during the 2011 Dorchester Open Studios.
The four-hour sale will take place at the Dorchester Arts Collaborative’s brand-new the Erick Jean Center for the Arts at 157A Washington Street, a multipurpose space named for the late Haitian community activist and lawyer.
Jean-Fontaine, who also offers styling services for photo shoots and music artists, says her KRÉYOL fashion line is inspired by her native land. “It is very important to me to show the Haitian people, especially Haitian women, as very strong, very passionate, very sensual.”
However, despite the name “I AM KRÉYOL,” which relates to KRÉYOL, Jean-Fontaine’s business, the bazaar will not be restricted to Haitian goods or artists. Appropriately for March, this month’s edition will feature the work of some of Dorchester’s most talented female artists in a wide range of genres including paintings by Destiny Palmer and Ana Sol, music by indie/pop/soul singer Tavonna Miller, a short film by Exfailures, crocheted art by AiRam KeFira Crochet, and knitted clothes by Maria Cardoza. Other vendors retailing home décor, jewelry, and more are still being added. For further details check out “I AM KRÉYOL” on Facebook.
Dot Woman Named Program Manager at Discover Roxbury
Dorchester resident Marisa Luse has been hired as Program Manager at Discover Roxbury. She will plan and coordinate the organization’s public and private tours, events and other community related activities. She is responsible for planning and implementing an annual series of programs, assisting with the creation of new ones, and attending trade shows.
Previously, Luse worked for SCI Dorchester and launched the “MyDorchester” portal in 2006 and organized MyDorchester evening entertainments celebrating local food purveyors and cultural groups. She also worked for DotWell as Director of Site Planning and Community Development.
According to Discover Roxbury’s Executive Director, Derek Lumpkins, “The position is key to partnering with a diverse range of organizations and collaborators. Marisa will work enthusiastically with community and citywide partners on joint programs.”
An artist herself assaying jewelry, painting and photography, Luse told The Reporter, “Art has always been a huge part of my life, especially helping the young find their voice and bringing the community together through arts events.” As an example of the latter she points to the time during her DotWell days when she secured and distributed free tickets to the stage tour of “The Color Purple” at the Wang Theatre in 2009.