Since their last community event at the Boston Shipyard and Marina in 2015, East Boston HarborArts has slowed down a bit.
“We haven’t been doing a lot of big art events like the HarborArts Festival,” said HarborArts Director Matthew Pollack. “But with all the activity at the shipyard–the ICA Watershed and Downeast Cider moving in and KO Pies an anchor here there’s been a lot more activity. It’s really starting to pick up again.”
While large-scale community events falling to the wayside, HarborArts Shipyard Gallery has remained an important free outdoor art installation in the community. So with the increase in foot traffic in recent months, Pollack thought the time was right to start bringing back community events.
On Thursday and Friday from 8 to 11 p.m. HarborArts will team up with Ryan Edwards of Masary Studios, Downeast Cider, Boston Harbor Now, Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina, Zumix to bring an exciting free interactive outdoor installation.
Pollack said Edwards developed an art installation called ‘HD¥BPM’. Edwards, a trained drummer and percussionists, tries to build an environment through musical performance, projected video and interactive installations.
The ‘HD¥BPM’ installation uses electronic drum pads as triggers that are played by the public to reveal, pixel by pixel, existing paintings by local artists on a huge screen that will be draped over the Downeast Cider distillery.
“The real focus right now for HarborArts is bringing art outside in the Shipyard and use the momentum happening in East Boston to the artists’ advantage,” said Pollack. “This event really involves the community in art and it’s going to be really exciting. Music is the focal point of this piece.”
Local artists that will be featured in the ‘HD¥BPM’ event include Jordan Piantedosi, The Safarani Sisters, Cedric “Vise-1” Douglas, Silvia Lopez Chavez, Aram Boghosian, Cyrille Conan and Ekua Holmes.
Edwards holds a degree from Berklee College of Music and spent much of his 20’s playing djembe in West Africa. He has written extensively for dance and is interested in the intersection of sound and physical forms. He is a father and lives with his son in Watertown.
“I am super interested in the connection between sound and light, and am often trying to find new ways to explore this,” said Edwards. “I have been thinking for a long time about ways to connect a drum stroke directly to a paint brush stroke. This project is the closest we have come so far to find that connection – every drum stroke paints a pixel, so to speak. Working with local artists is super exciting and we have found everyone we approached to be very enthusiastic about having their work in this project. Also – I really love putting projects and pieces in the hands of the public. This one does just thatÉ drum sticks in your hands to drum a painting into existence.”
About the venue for Thursday and Friday Edwards said he choose the Shipyard due to its location, history and openness to the arts.
“The Shipyard is such a great place, there is so much history and also contemporary public art,” said Edwards. “Matt (Pollack) and HarborArts are great partners to present this new work. Matt’s efforts are what is really making this happen. For almost two years, we had an art garage in East Boston, and the neighborhood really grew on us. The relationships formed around the area are really meaningful, and it it feels great to bring a project out into the public space here. Also – the buildings at the shipyard are ideal for projection.”
In the end Pollack said he and HarborArts is excited to have the ongoing support of Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina as his group continue its efforts to bring public art to Eastie.
“Dan Noonan, Joe Sugar, and the Shipyard have been fantastic partners to HarborArts for years and we can’t possibly thank the Shipyard enough for everything they make possible,” said Pollack. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with Shipyard for years to come.”