July Newsletter: Thank You For Helping the Eliot School Shine!

Thank You For Helping the Eliot School Shine!

Changes in our Team  

We bid farewell to three valued staff members who have helped build our community: Claudia Fiks, Charlotte Huffman and Angie Arriaga Millet. 

Claudia Fiks joined us in 2018 as Director of our InHouse Program. She brought many wonderful new teachers into our schoolhouse, coordinated events and did mountains of work behind the scenes. In the meantime, she created a new organization of her own, New England Art Administrators, which meets monthly to strengthen our sector.

As our first Teen Arts Coordinator, Charlotte Huffman built our Teen Bridge program into a force. Currently, 15 teens form a tight community at the Eliot School, staying together through high school, meeting on Saturdays and during the summers as they grow as artists, leaders and peers. Charlotte shaped the program with the teens themselves, bringing with her a commitment to leadership development through active participation. She leaves us to work full-time for Girls Rock Campaign.

Angie Arriaga Millet has been our Registrar for two years, making herself a warm presence and contributing to improved operations. She registered some 1,600 people each year for a total of thousands of classes and helped us transition to our new website. She leaves us to work full-time as a Junior Analyst at Aquanima, a subsidiary of Santander.

We would also like to thank four departing teachers who also served on our staff: Nalitza Valentin, our Teen Arts Specialist, who has moved out of Boston, Taylor Dean, our School and Community Partnership Assistant, Ian Haines, our Assistant Registrar, and Tam Willey, our Custodian for many years.

Finally, we’d like to welcome Camila Bohan Insaurralde, who will work closely with our teens and Artist in Residence. Camila interned with us this year through the Center for Art & Community Partnerships at Massachusetts College of Art & Design. She steps onto our staff this summer. We wish her best congratulations on graduation, and welcome.


THANK YOU to our Partnership teachers

This spring and summer, our partners at Boston Public Schools, Boston Public Libraries and elsewhere closed to flatten the curve of the coronavirus spread. But our students continued to learn remotely. Our  School and Community Partnership art teachers pivoted to teach art and creativity, creating space for students to express themselves during unprecedented times via Zoom. We are extremely proud of all of our teachers!


Watch our Virtual Teen Bridge Celebration 

During a live Zoom event, we recognized our Teen Bridge students and all they have accomplished this year. If you missed the celebration, you can still see the teens present their artwork, receive awards, and give their fellows some well-deserved shout-outs. Watch the video here


InHouse Faculty Spotlight: Rob Stull

Eliot School faculty member Rob Stull teamed up with muralists Rob "Problak" Gibbs in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts exhibition, “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation.” As MFA artists-in-residence leading the Mural Project, both Robs have collaborated with youth to engage the hip hop culture of street art to create a community mural. Rob Stull illustrated a comic-style publication documenting his journey in the residency as well as a map of murals in Boston. Learn more here


Eliot School Board Retreat

Eliot School trustees and core staff are holding a 3-part virtual retreat to chart an extension of our strategic plan and affirm our commitment to racial equity in service of our mission: “to inspire lifelong learning in craft and creativity for all.”


Welcoming Diversity at the Eliot School

This moment in history, like similar moments before this, calls on people everywhere to recommit to building a world of inclusion and belonging and to eradicate racism against Black people and other people of color. This past month, we had an opportunity to engage in training about how to build a space of safety, love and belonging for all.

In the 3-part virtual training, Eliot School teachers and staff assessed and addressed their biases, shared their experiences and began to come up with actions that can be taken to make the Eliot School a more welcoming and belonging space. 

Creative changemakers Susan Naimark and Aisha Shillingford co-facilitated the sessions. Both Susan and Aisha have worked with the Eliot School in the past, as program participants and trainers on racial equity and anti-bias efforts. Susan is a long-time Jamaica Plain resident who works with nonprofits and public agencies, locally and nationally, to understand and address racial divides. Aisha is an artist and social transformation strategist living in Brooklyn after spending 20 years in Boston. They have both been Eliot School students.


Thank you for your Generosity

This year has brought many blessings along with unexpected challenges. We could not have made it this far without your generous time and gifts. The Eliot School is able to continue shining because of the star that you are! We appreciate and thank everyone who made a donation this year. If you wish to help us shine brighter, consider making a gift today.

Many thanks to Kurt Meyer Fine Woodworking, who donated beautiful inlaid stars for us to pass along to our leadership donors. Kurt has taught Inlay in our wood shop in the past, and we look forward to working with him again.