“My biggest passion is women of color,” says Nakia Hill. The Boston-born writer, educator and journalist is talking to me via FaceTime from London, her first time in Europe for “restoration, relaxation and some exploration.” She’s talking about the driving force behind her artistic collaboration with the city of Boston’s Department of Resilience and Racial Equity and the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement, but that statement also speaks to the core of her many projects.
Mayor Marty Walsh announced the seven artists who’ll participate in the city’s third annual Boston AIR (Artist-in-Residence) program. Hizzoner praised this year’s eclectic group, which includes painters, poets, choreographers, visual artists, and musicians.
The AIR program is designed to bring local artists, city employees, and community members together to collaborate on projects exploring local issues, such as racial and social inequity, and intertwining art and public policy.
If you’ve ever sat around with a group of girlfriends and spoke about everything from your hair to an interesting entrepreneur you’ve met, then you’ll definitely want to listen in to Girl, Hi! Girl, Hi! is a podcast that focuses on highlighting the creative and innovative women in Boston. The name is a play on the popular phrase “Girl, bye,” however Girl, Hi! is all about inviting people in to learn more about some of Boston’s talented women.
The hosts of Girl, Hi!, Nakia Hill and Sheena Quintyne, first met in high school while on the same modern dance team. They later reconnected through friends of friends while at an event in Boston. After reviving that bond, Hill had the idea of creating Girl, Hi! and reached out to Quintyne, as a friend and a fellow creative.
Shai Mendez is a senior at Jeremiah Burke High School in Dorchester, planning for his future.
“I’ve always been a writer, ever since I was eight,” Mendez said. “That’s when I discovered I had talent with it … I could write for anyone and you know, they’ll always need me.”
Yes they will. That’s the idea behind “The Writers’ Room,” run by the local chapter of national non-profit 826. Students get help improving their writing skills from trained tutors from universities like Northeastern and UMass Boston.
What started in San Francisco 15 years ago at 826 Valencia Street now has 6 chapters, including Boston. It’s all free of charge.