"abundance among us" was created in Residence Lab 2021 an arts residency that pairs artists with community members to activate community power and respond to the history of the neighborhood.

I worked with Cass, a Chinese immigrant and young mother, to create a space where her daughters could be a central audience. Responding to the site of Mary Soo Hoo Park, a park in Boston's Chinatown named after a grassroots activist who advocated for public space and a family-centered neighborhood, Cass and I designed a table with a tiered design that held people of all ages.


Through regular gatherings of the entire program cohort, we collectively reimagined Chinatown, learned the context of the site, and consitered how we could co-create the site. Through an iterative design process, Cass and I determined to create a functional artwork, clad with a golden dragon.


Cass determined a dragon was an essential symbol for strength for the project. She drew the dragon and through numerous site visits, created a stencil with her daughter with the support of our interpreter, QingQing.

Cass does not consider herself to be a visual artist but was deeply invested in the work, including designing the dragon illustration and supporting the fabrication and installation of the piece. Cass wrote the following about our collaboration:

“我叫Cass是一位住在唐人街的街坊, Sheila 是波士顿一位艺术家。我们很高兴可以和其他居民和艺术家们参与到这次的创作活动。

My name is Cass, a resident of Chinatown, and Sheila is an artist in Boston. We are very happy to participate in this creative activity with other residents and artists.

在疫情期间,我很荣幸地参与了Sheila的艺术创作活动。这段时间里我们一起开会、讨论、制作。Sheila 一直耐心地、热情地用她专业的意见和知识,让我了解、参与作品创作过程。她用心地去了解环境历史、当地文化,把艺术品与这些结合起来,最终创作了一个让居民非常喜欢的作品。甚至,主办单位还延长了作品的展示时间。我和孩子非常高兴一起参与了Sheila 的作品制作,让我们了解到一个艺术品的创作:不简单!她也成为了我女儿的榜样:希望可以像Sheila 一样创作出美好的作品。

During the pandemic, I was honored to participate in this artwork with Sheila. During this time, we met, discussed, and made it together. Sheila has patiently and enthusiastically used her professional opinions and knowledge to let me understand and participate in the art creation process. She tried to understand the environmental history and local culture, combined the art with these, and finally created an artwork that the residents like very much. The organizers even extended the display time of the artwork. My child and I were very happy to participate in the production of Sheila's works, and let us understand the creation of a work of art: it is not simple! She also became a model for my daughter: hoping to create beautiful artwork like Sheila.


In Chinese mythology, the dragon is one of the auspicious beasts. The "dragon" in the hearts of Chinese people represents the supreme honor and the cohesion of strength. I hope through the artistic creation of the Chinese Dragon, Chinatown residents can express the beautiful scene of unity, family harmony, and harmonious coexistence with other ethnic groups in Chinatown.”


The entire team came together, to install the table, learning to utilize tools like drills and finalizing the golden dragon before the opening.


Celebrating the program and activating the table to welcome the community were an essential component of the project. We invited community members to share their ideas, thoughts, and dreams for the community.

back to abundance among us

Thank you for being here.
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