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Program Officer, Public Art

Join us as we continue to celebrate this year's Newell Flather Awardees and their impactful contributions to creating more just public culture in their work within public art across Massachusetts. Rosemary Tracy Woods (advocate, curator, and gallery owner in Springfield for over 25 years) and Ekua Holmes (community artist, educator and mentor based in Roxbury) join last year's awardees, Kate Gilbert from Now + There and Silvia López Chavez, award winning muralist, to connect across intergenerational wisdom, visions for the field, and insight into their journeys as leaders in public art. 

As Ekua Holmes shares about her approach to public art making, “It’s about telling all of the stories of our city, not just one narrative that seems safe and comfortable for a certain segment of society but telling all of the stories. I don’t know about you, but when I’m picking books, when I’m picking movies, when I’m picking tv shows – I want good stories! I think the public has a hunger for good stories and I’m so thrilled to be a part of that.”  

Click to watch or listen and enjoy the stories both Rosemary Tracy Woods and Ekua Holmes are generously offering back to us in the field...and beyond!  

This video includes closed captions and a transcript below.  

Learn More About the 2021 Awardees

Learn More About NEFA's Public Art Program

Read the Transcript

Kate Gilbert (KG): I'm happy to kick it off and maybe I'll start with you Ekua. We've known each other for a while now. It's been a great pleasure and honor to learn from you in your many, many roles as an artist, working with The Boston Art Commission, observing you lead that through the take-down movements, some really, really tricky things that you guys have had to do. And of course through the Roxbury Sunflower Project which you started in the Now + There accelerator program. And let us not forget the Sparc! ArtMobile. I loved being part of that and watching you two of those paint nights, which feels like a long time ago now. I'm curious. From all these different vantage points, how do you see public art shaping our city? And if you want to talk about your definition of public art too that would be helpful.

Ekua Holmes (EH): Yeah, I think my definition is expanding. Someone suggested to me that even a children's book could be considered public art because it's housed in a public institution and public library. It's accessible to everyone. It's free and all of that. So I think we're at a time when the definition is evolving, coming from a time when there were bronze statues of men on horses as a definition of public art memorials to today where we have living, breathing, moving monuments, projections, just so many different things that we can utilize to have a conversation in the public space. And it's really exciting being able to launch the Sunflower Project for instance and it was only supposed to be one year and now we're in year four and it keeps growing because it's a seed. And I feel like some of the work that Kate, you and Silvia are doing, those are seeds that are being planted in public space and therefore have public influence. I came up during the Black Arts mural movement here in Roxbury. We were one of the first parts of this city to have a lively public art mural conversation. And I can name four or five artists that say that they're artists today, because they looked at those murals, because they realized that they could dream big and they could have big conversations with their community members and with the public. And now they're doing that. So I think we have a lot of influence. I think during the Black rights mural movement there were very few women involved. I think Sharon Dunn was the only woman who did a mural here in Boston. But now look at this panel. So we are kicking down doors in many different ways. And the main focus is about access. It's about telling all the stories of our city not just one narrative that seems safe and comfortable for a certain segment of society but telling all the stories. And I don't know about you but when I'm picking books, when I'm picking movies, when I'm picking TV shows, I want good stories! And I think that the public has a hunger for good stories. And I'm so thrilled to be a part of that.

KG: I love that, and your work is very much about storytelling and evolution and helping people sort of even choose their own narrative through it. You know, the Sunflower Project, someone can take a seat and decide which path that seed is going to go on, where they're going to put it and how much they're going to water it. And I do just so much appreciate those doors that you've been opening up for decades now. Thank you.

EH: Thank you too.

Silvia López Chavez (SLC): Yeah, and thank you so much for sharing that. I so agree with the fact that we do need more and continuing to support this through the work that we do, and I have a question for Rosemary, as we were reviewing the panel, the different groups in the panel discussions that we had--it was just so remarkable to see for how long you've been supporting artists of various backgrounds and, but very much focused on BIPoC, artists of color, and diverse groups. And supporting them in the making of public art right there in Springfield, Massachusetts. That's like 25 plus years or so at this point. And my question to you just, as I'm also a woman of color, it's why it's important to you that artists of color are also creating public art? And how have you even seen public art made by artists of color change or impact Springfield, the city you live in?

Rosemary Tracy Woods (RTW): Okay, well, I'm going to start from my hometown of Philadelphia. When you say public art along with, I think the concept of what public art is, is so broad and so different. I come from an urban city, Philadelphia, we’re the city of murals, but in my generation the public art was really graffiti art. Artists who are some of the world renown muralists, who were getting on subway trains, doing abandoned buildings, and a different canvas that they had. So it was more of an expression to be recognized to make a statement. So when I got into art in the galleries building part of it, I really didn't view murals as part of public art because it had always had a negative connotation to it. What I would say to artists, whether it's on a canvas inside of the gallery, whether it's on a subway train, which they're not doing anymore. But just with the utility boxes, which was a project that we had. It was that need to make a statement to-- I've always felt that the art had to represent the people that was viewing it, surrounding it. And it always had to have a theme. It didn't really, really matter where, because one of the first projects as far as public art is concerned that I saw was in Europe and they actually did trash cans. I mean, trash trucks, all the trucks. What more can make something that collects waste turn into beauty? So to me, I know, it's hard to define public art. I think coming into the gallery which is open to the public, free and open to the public with an artist, various artists as public art. The public is welcome to see it, to comment on it. And I think that when you say public art, who is the public? Are we now narrowing it down? As far as the mural projects, which I got involved in, I thought it was very interesting that at the time that we sent out the RFP that you didn't find a lot of BIPoC artists applying because they also had in their mind, Oh in order to do public art you had to be at a certain statue in life or certain resume. No, not true. Some of the artists who have never taken a class are also some of the world renown muralists as we now called them. Before they were just graffiti artists. So what I say to young artists, especially emerging artists, that you have to be persistent, you have to treat it like a business. And if you just put your all in all into it, they say if you do what you like, if you love what you do then the money would come or something like that. So that's what I say, you to me, public art, private art, art whatever--you have to love doing it. It can't be just for the reward, the monetary reward. And if that was the case, I know Basquiat is turning over in his grave, what his art is selling for at compared to when I met him. And he was doing graffiti art out on doors or subways or wherever he could get a canvas.

KG: It's definitely true. Yeah, go ahead.

EH: I'm going to say that the city of Boston just awarded a commission to a graffiti artist to put a piece inside of the new Roxbury Public Library. And part of the thinking is that we want to draw, art draws people. And if we keep the graffiti artists out on the street doing you know, Jersey barriers and things like that, we're not really embracing the community of people who can respond to that. So this is kind of like evolutionary for this artist. This is their first big commission. It's going to be on view in a very well-used library. And I wanted to pick up on something Rosemary mentioned, which is the generosity. You mentioned an artist coming in with their artwork in a paper bag. I mean, we all start somewhere and being able to say to that artist, hey, I've got an extra portfolio. That's part of the gig. You know, it's part of the gig when somebody calls you up and says “my daughter is interested in art. Can she come and show you her drawings?” It's part of the gig to look at those drawings and to find the thing within those drawings that can lead her to the next revelation in her own work. And when you work at an art college or in even what you guys are doing Silvia, I'm sure people are coming to you all the time with their cousins, sisters, daughters, friends who are artists, and who admire your work and who wanna do what you're doing and wanna know what the secret sauce is. But it is part of the gig if you are blessed to have a platform to make yourself accessible to people in a way that still allows you to do what you do but also allows you to give from the heart to that next generation that we're always talking about.

SLC: I thank you for saying that. It is so true. I have to say if it wasn't for these artists to have taken so many risks for so long on the streets doing this, that's what really has paved the way for murals to be happening today in a way that they are happening and I'm so grateful to have all the work that I have but I must say that I am standing on their shoulders because I was not one of those artists. I come from a different background and I'm very grateful for that. And I'm also so aware of the importance of that mentorship and that generational aspect of being able to be mentored and to also continue that same ability to share what you know to the younger artists to people who want to do this work and be able to continue to create that pipeline of artists doing this work and doing it well. And I'm astonished to read so much about all that you guys have accomplished and Tracy for you you're so humble and you have helped transform the landscape of Springfield through public guardianship, using that lens of racial justice using that through mentorships to young artists and artists with disabilities and you're working with the public schools and in similar ways for you, Ekua, you've been that mentor on so many levels. So thank you.

KG: I love this idea of standing on shoulders and building on the generosity of others. And when we were running the jury process, this is a leadership award and we really had a lot of conversation about what is leadership and how can leadership be emergent? And it was pretty obvious to all of us that you two, just in the longevity of your careers are leaders. And I've personally been looking at entrepreneurial leadership. You know, if we're thinking about artists I think they are all entrepreneurs. You know, I watch Silvia. She does the painting, she does the marketing, she does the pitch deck, she does like practically all the permitting. The community engagement, and you know, sometimes I think that's unfair that we expect all of that in one person. So I hope there are more organizations that support individuals. I'm curious through this this long transition of watching the field evolve from graffiti to graffiti being sanctioned, to murals, to the recognition of artists as business people and entrepreneurs and getting more financial support. How do you see, or, and what is your hope for the future of the field and how through your leadership are you seeing it evolve? And either of you can take that question.

EH: Rosemary do you want to jump in?

SLC: Yeah.

EH: You're muted.

RTW: Can you hear me?

KG: Yeah.

RTW: Okay. So I stress to all my artists. I tried to start an emerging artists program. I tell all my artists, especially BIPoC artists, because we don't come into, and I don't want to make it a whole picture but most of us don't come into anything with any financial background. So I tell them, look you need to see [how this works] and price their work. I tried to tell them that. Price your work like you're worth what you're asking for. And artists have a hard time with that. I tell all my artists, you need to take a business course until you can afford an accountant and a marketing director and everything else that you need because I can't do it either. But take it as a business, the same way you go to that job and work that, work your art in the same way. So I stress that because it's so important. And I think the younger artists seem to get it because everyone wants the latest sneakers and the latest BMW and the latest that and they have the edge with the social media we're in. I'm still doing paper flyers and old stuff. They're all on social media, but I stress that you have to. Then I say, look at it. Even as far as I asked them, how do you buy your canvas? You know, if you're not buying a roll of canvas cutting it and stretching it, how do you purchase that? Why don't you set up an account, buy it wholesale, and then get that wholesaler to sponsor one of your events. So I tried to give them some of the keys that I have, that I gained. And it hasn't just all been easy to take some courses this and that, but coming from work of having eight brothers and the only girl, I was always trained to be the one. My grandfather had a little corner store. I always have to count the cans, how much it was. So that was ingrained. And even in my work field, working for the State of Connecticut all the years that I did, I used to, I had a habit of writing down every dime that I spent because I would always have to account for that. And I tell artists, get into small habits that can help you and take it as a business. And I think more institutions need to [help], like UMass art extension has an entrepreneur program and art as a business program. And we used to sponsor that through a grant. And I found that artists would always attend. Those who were serious, they did. And it's just that if they're serious about the work they will, and if they're not, then they won't succeed at art, just like anything else. But I stress all of that and paying taxes. Pay your taxes. I know so many artists that-- I mean, well I have some artists that are performers and they never paid into the union. Now they find themselves 70 years old, they went to Broadway, made money, didn't put anything aside and they find themselves displaced. I see you don't want to wind up like that. So like I said, art is a business

EH: I would add to that on that business line, invest in a piece of property.

KG: Yes.

EH: Because you know, all of us that are here right now have been, well, most of us have been displaced or in the process of having to rethink where our studios are, where we're living, and how we're living. So I say, if you can invest in a piece of property so you will never get that notice that says 30 days and, you know, [worry about the] continuity of your work. But from a different perspective, as a member of the Boston Art Commission, I think what we need to do as a city is provide more scaffolding. What tends to happen is those artists who have done public art are those artists that get to do public art. And when you're coming from being a studio artist and you're trying to make that breakthrough you don't know about the permitting. You don't know about the rules. You don't know about how to get a wall or how to get a field or something like that. And I think the city can do some things, some educational things, along with just looking at proposals and saying, yay or nay. We can, and I think should do some educational things so that younger artists or less experienced artists who want to make that transition have a pathway that they can follow. So I would love to see during my tenure as some kind of a either a series of workshops or something like that maybe in partnership with a group like Now + There because that's basically what you do. And I know that there's some artists that I've talked to about why they don't apply for some of the proposals that come out from the city and it was kind of heartbreaking to hear someone say that you know, you put your soul out there and people just act like it was nothing. They just say no, and there's no follow through. There's no, we said no for this reason. And this is what you could do better next time. That whole education and mentoring that Rosemary has been doing, that I've been doing over the years; it could be a more formal thing. It could be just a part of the way we do business in the City of Boston. So I would like to see some things like that.


KG: That seems easy. That's just like put together some courses and some money and water those seeds.

EH: Yeah, I mean, not to say that the city hasn't because I love the Boston AIR program, for instance where you're matching artists with municipal offices and doing some things. I think that's a great start, but we could do more.

KG: Yeah.

SLC: Indeed, and I just have to say I'm so grateful for Now + There, Kate's organization because really, my very first big public project is the picture she has behind her head right now. It's the mural at the Charles River Esplanade. And doing that mural, I learned so much during that process from planning all the way to completion. I learned so much that all these things that I learned through that project, I've been applying over and over and getting better and learning those things some depending on the projects but that is crucial for being able to ask the studio artists come out to the street and actually do this work, especially also as a woman. So it's super important to be able to.

KG: And again, what I appreciate about your work and all three of you is the generosity because it wasn't just you painting. There were all these other women that you were training alongside you who have now gone on to do other murals themselves within three years.

SLC: Indeed.

KG: So you guys are all kicking down the doors and bringing a whole lot of people along with you.

SLC: Yeah, so I just want to say because this was a question I had when Rosemary you started talking about all of the things that you like, what are those things that you would actually share with others, right? And so I think that just recapping this for me is so important is to take charge, right? Treat your art like a business.

SLC: Take charge and find sponsorship, take courses, learn to manage your money, create those small habits that can help you, right? And pay your taxes. I love it.

RTW: Know that you are worthy. Know that you are worthy. I mean, artists are afraid. I know I used to be afraid. They said, well, what is your fee? So I looked it up and to find out what are other consultants in my field charging. And I would say, ah, but you don't get it if you don't ask. Know that you're worthy. I look at people. I've seen people out in the hot sun or you, I mean, paint, I don't draw, but I can appreciate the art. You spent hours. First of all, how many hours you spend on it? What was your paint costs? What did you give up? Price it with that [in mind], you can't ever out-price it. And the more ridiculous, I find some artists price their art because they don't really want to sell; it is their baby. But I tell them, leave all the kids at home. Don't bring anything to the gallery you don't want to get rid of because it will get sold, but price it like that. You know, if they can sell a banana on a wall for whatever at Art Basel then you can definitely sell your art for something. And if they were paying dollars and cents, they could never pay you for your talent or the creativity of the love that goes into a piece of art. So, I mean, it's bad with me because I just advocate for the artist because I see so many times artists just get robbed. I've seen galleries take artists work. I had a gallery I was working with in Canada and they were actually taking my artist's work that he sold for $700. And when it got to Canada that $700 piece of work went for $7,000. I'm like, you're not only making 100% more but you're not sending anything back to the artist. Absolutely not. So we renegotiated our prices with them. But yeah, and it's something that people will take advantage of, because you know, all of the artists we're such humble, such kind people and a lot of people say, well I can give it away. I say, you're kidding me? Giving your art away?

SLC: Yeah its tough, right? It's so difficult to me working.

RTW: Or they want to negotiate?

SLC: Yes.

RTW: I see people buy BMWs, Jags, and don't blink an eye. And they come into the gallery and right away they want to negotiate. I said, did I have a sign up that said flea market? The sign says free. A browsing is free. Not the art is. And I have a problem with artists. I tell them when your work is here, you will not negotiate. [The price tag] on it will stay. Now, after it leaves the gallery do you want to sell it for a dollar? You do that. But while it's here, it's $1000. And do not cheapen yourself by negotiating a lower price because they don't negotiate when they go to Macy's. You can't negotiate when you go to the dentist or any place else. I mean, sometimes you can but how are you going to make a profit? How are you going to sustain yourself? You want to be a working artist working where? So you have to stress it to them and make them know that they're so worthy because they are what makes us any different. I'll say, although I'm not an artist, but I'm more so in the art realm than I am in the real world.

SLC: And I have to say it's so challenging to actually make a living as an artist. I think that it's so important to also think about like what is that thing that brings you joy through this process? Like what replenishes you and what inspires you to keep going and doing the work that you're doing. And I wonder what that is for you guys. It's a good question. I wanted to ask you two.

EH: I can't wait to get up every morning. Can't wait. I go to bed thinking about, “okay, tomorrow morning, I'm going to put some blue on that. I'm going to put black on that. I'm going to call this person. I'm going to write this.” I feel very excited. I've always been excited by the arts, the art world. I'm a student of Elma Lewis. If you don't know who she is.

RTW: Oh my goodness.

EH: She changed the Boston landscape with her passion and her determination, and just the force of her character where she was brought up in a Garveyite household. And so she taught us as young ballerinas about the value of who we were and that we were long stemmed American beauties and that we could dance The Ballet Russes and all of that kind of stuff. And that was a little girl's dream. But that confidence transferred into other parts of my life. And I still think of her quite a bit as I go about working in the visual arts world. She created a museum through the National Center for Afro-American Artists. She had a three legged strategy: visual arts, theater, and dance. And so I've been excited about arts since I was five years old. A new box of 64 crayons with the built-in sharpener, my little turntable where I would play Three Billy Goats Gruff over and over again. Music. Theater. Black nativity. It just, it runs through my veins. And I feel like on my last day, on this earth if I could be in a museum or in my studio or at someone else's studio (hint, hint, Silvia, and Kate) then that would be just life for me. And when I, when you find your tribe, I think as an artist some of us are in situations where we're kind of the odd person in the classroom. You know, everybody else wants to play football and we want to draw little people. When you find your tribe that is a moment of sheer joy. And when you can usher someone into the tribe someone who is that odd person, a teen who maybe isn't being encouraged at home because their parents, like my parents didn't see, “well, what are you going to do? Just because you can draw, what are you going to do with that?” If you can be a bridge for that person into this world of joy that we live in. I think that that is like another special moment that we have.

SLC: That's beautiful.

RTW: That's good.

KG: Rosemary, what about you? What replenishes you and keeps you going and inspired to do the work you're doing?

RTW: Well, really, probably the same thing. I've never felt like I belonged. I mean, like I say, growing up with eight brothers in South Philly, between South Philly and the Carolinas, and I always had been made to feel like I was strange. I mean, I am so good with the social distancing. COVID didn't never have to come to me. And I always tell people, I mean it may sound terrible to say, but I would say I don't like humans. I do not like humans. They're not mine. I don't like people. I don't like humans. So I used to be an avid reader. I mean, I would go away and read I would read two or three books. I love music. And when I would listen to opera, although I didn't know anything about it, it was a calming. It's always been such chaos with the music business and everything that was going on, art seemed to be my relax. Like I was in the cocoon. So it's always brought me so much peace. So when I get up I want to say, okay, this is going on. And that going on. I can immediately put the music on. And I asked people, if you didn't have art what would you do? If you couldn't listen to the radio, if you couldn't see someone sing, if you can open up your eyes, artists, everything. So like I said, [art] saved my life. It's my comfort zone. I don't go to the mall, but my girlfriends do. People say, oh when you went to Paris, did you shop? Nope, but I don't know any museum or gallery that I missed of all of Paris. So that's what I do. I can go. I remember the first time I went to the New York Museum of Fine Art. Before I got there, every security guard was sitting in a lodge, sleeping. The moment I got in, they got up and start following me around. I'm like, am I going take one of these masterpiece off the wall? I wish I could, but I could sit and look at not even just look at a piece of art but just be in that comfort zone. Because like I said, I really don't like people.

EH: You would never know that Rosemary. But I have heard that from other artists too, like, oh, I don't like people, and I'd rather be in my studio. I would rather be in my studio too. COVID's definitely given us a two sided blessing by being able to stay at home. And if you have a moment, you can just go over there and work on a painting and then scoot over to your computer and do a Zoom. Transitioning back is definitely going to be a transition.

RTW: But I'm not an artist, but if I'm on the web and all that, I will look for artists or read articles. What's new? What's happening? Just, I don't know. It's hard to explain. There's such a difference, but I read, I go to Goodwill and buy an art book and look through it. I don't know. It's hard. It's very hard to explain. And I don't really get along with people that are not artists or not creative. I mean they're not creative, My girlfriends that like to do the mall. I'm saying you guys are so superficial. How many pairs of heels are you going to buy? I mean, you got a million chords on your feet. What you need? I mean, I just can't see the reasoning.

KG: Well one of the things that we can wrap this up with, one question to go here, and what I see is this theme that you're talking about. Someone made you, made me, probably Silvia feel not normal because we were valuing creativity. We were valuing expression over what society was telling us that we were supposed to be doing, right? And I wonder if we can make this leap back to public art as the vehicle force for, there's this phrase that my friend Lori Lobenstine from DS4SI says, making the normal strange, sorry, making the strange normal. Do you guys see that in your work in any way and/or can you see a way that public art can either make these abnormal things normal or support us in sort of coming back together post COVID, maybe? Ekua?

EH: Yeah, I mean, one of the things that I'm loving is that more artists are being invited to tables that they were usually excluded from or were a secondary thought like, oh we'll have the artists come in and do a vendor market. But now artists are being invited to the table where decisions are being made about what's happening in our city and what's happening in our institution. So I think that that is definitely one thing that might've been considered strange five years ago, 10 years ago. And now it's becoming normalized. I think that young people that are coming up, I'm so proud and energized by the generations coming after me, who are coming in with a sense of positive entitlement. Like I deserve to have my say, I deserve to have my space, and I deserve to control and be a part of what happens in that space and with my voice. And I feel like my generation, we were a little bit more you know, timid, we have been told that Black people didn't do that. Hispanic people don't do that. We don't go there. We don't. But now I see this bold movement among young people of all races that are just saying you know what? Not good enough for me. So that's another thing that I think might've been strange in my day coming up, but is now becoming normalized. And it makes me feel, I said this to one of my former students. Like, I feel like I can exhale a little bit now because I think when you've been doing work for a long time you begin to feel like the work isn't going to get done unless you're there. And they have made me feel like, “you know what Ekua? You could really, you could sit down for a little while and just kind of like watch. Get on Zoom and listen and watch them.” That kind of thing. And that's how life should be. We were passing the baton. We're in a relay. And when you put that baton out there to pass it, if there's nobody to take it, that's so disheartening. But I feel like there's so many talented, powerful, articulate, poetic young people out there (and young to me means anybody under 50) doing awesome things. Starting businesses. Seeing their art as a business. Starting right from there instead of when they turned 50. Figuring out that, “oh yeah, I have to invoice people.” And I could probably think of some other things. Even the changes on the Boston Art Commission, which as, you know probably, started out as a group in the 1800 of little ladies drinking tea and deciding which hero they were going to make a myth about and make a statute about it. And now it's this dynamic force, with landscape architects and professors and scholars in murals and things like that. And so it's great to be a part of that too. And that will become the norm. Dynamism will become the norm in this city. That's what I'm looking forward to.

SLC: I love that. I just wanted to also mention, Ekua, that your Sunflower Project, earlier you were mentioning how we're planting seeds, right. And that those seeds are growing and they are and that's what you've been doing also. And the idea, just thinking through this, that you mentioned as well earlier of kicking down the doors, right? It's through public art. Who are the people in leadership who are those new doors that need to start opening up to think through why we are selecting certain people that suppose they should be awarded. Selecting both of you, Rosemary and Ekua, was very challenging in terms of the amount of people that we had to, the panel overall, had to look through. And it was a very difficult decision. There's so many things that we have to consider, but you know, we asked a lot of questions about what does leadership look like? What is leadership and you were mentioning in previous conversations about location, I can always say location. We said experience, is it. what are those elements that we're looking at, through the lens of social justice and racial justice, right? That aspect of that. And I think that's definitely part of that future that we hope to see more of in public art.

EH: Oh, it felt great to be in that group of people that I saw. They're all such great artists and communicators and activists that it really elevated the honor for me to be chosen this year, along with Rosemary. So thank you. I thank NEFA for that.

RTW: Well, I've been out of here so long. All I can say is that I am so glad that at this point I would go to meetings And like I said, be the only person of color there. And they would, I would always get that “Do you know where the refreshments are?” And I would say, gee whiz. I got on my Givenchy consignment shop suit here and I looked like I'm serving coffee? But that's okay. I am so glad that I can see the change. After being told, “oh, she's very difficult. She's oh, no.” I used to be termed the angry Black female that now they can see that maybe she's not so angry to have open doors and to see the change after all of these years, I think is worth it. And I'm so glad for that. And I do see younger artists coming out professional, articulate, just so creative. So that's the reward. And that's what I had to do as far as kicking doors in. I don't know if that door is going to go all the way or not. I'll have to get a new pair of shoes, but I won't stop. And that's my reward knowing that somehow I've been able to make a small change for another human being. That's all.

EH: I love it.

KG: Just a little something.

RTW: Yeah.

KG: It's a lot of somethings. I think both of you have made an incredible lasting impact on the art world and the public art world. And I think we've only started to just get to the tip of the iceberg on this conversation. On behalf of all of us, I want to thank NEFA and the Newell Flather Award. Thank you for making this award. Thank you for recognizing public art as an art form in and of itself and the people that it takes to make it. I just, from my own perspective, it takes hundreds of people and lots of money to make public art and the scaffolding and all the shoulders that we're standing on and the doors that get kicked down. So this has been… So the question of what brings you joy? This brings me joy when I can feel your energy through this little screen, and know that we all have a lot more work to do, but just to thank you, Rosemary and Ekua, again for everything you've done and congratulate you… and view a new little future member. [waves at a baby in a baby carriage that has entered Rosemary’s frame] Maybe that's the 20th anniversary Newell Flather awardee over there.

RTW: She's adorable. Asia's assisting me and she has her baby here. We can't wait. I mean, like, this is what I'm talking about. Start them young.

SLC: Love it, joy for sure.

KG: Thank you so much.

EH: Kate, through Now + There, you are launching worlds and, Silvia, your work is such an inspiration along the city landscape. And I hope to, at some point, get involved in one of your community engagement processes, but you know we're all so busy, which is why we're always trying to look in on each other on Instagram. But I do hope to have that opportunity and, Rosemary, you know you and I have a date in Springfield. Or something, we don't know what yet, but I appreciate each and every one of you. I appreciate NEFA, Newell Flather, and all the people who are making this big dramatic change in what Boston looks like, what Massachusetts can look like.

RTW: Absolutely. Thank you so much. And I hope you guys come up and help me rally up Springfield, get them moving. We're in the second stage of fresh paint with Commonwealth murals. So hopefully, and Western mass is not as aggressive as Boston but I'm so glad to see the collaboration. We can collaborate. It's only an hour away. You know, you can drive that and we can plant some flower seeds here and just do it statewide? But yeah, I truly believe in collaboration. And also, in women helping women. I asked my granddaughter, I come from a generation, we women helped women. White, Black, green, whatever. And I said, what's wrong with girls today? They don't help each other. They don't, she says, “Nana it's just too competitive.” So we have to break that down because I have friends who started in the art movement and they said they actually would have to wait until the husbands were asleep at night. Dindga McCannon, famous fabric artists, lots of them. Faith Ringgold. Where they couldn't outwardly express their interest in art. So we need to do more in supporting each other, females. And that fear, I tell everyone there’s plenty to go around. Nothing comes to a closed fist, but if you extend that hand of friendship and keep it open, everything can come in.

EH: Right, and I always say if there's not enough pie to go around, make another pie.