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Featured Artists || Seat at the Table

Featured Artists in the "A Seat at the Table" Exhibit

Following a national call, twenty artists were selected to create chairs for the “A Seat at the Table” exhibit. The chairs represent the stories of both historic and contemporary trailblazers.


The artists represent seven U.S. states — Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and South Carolina — and a range of medium.


Ashley and Mic Billingsley

Ashley Billingsley’s paintings, drawings and installations address landscape as a site of human vulnerability, turbulence and doubt. Her influences range from martial arts philosophy, practice and cinema to the folklore and sense memories of her home state of Virginia. She maintains a studio in East Boston and works at the local and national levels in Community Action, a network of nonprofit human services organizations creating opportunity for people with low incomes to build economic resilience and thrive. She received a BFA from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis and an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Tufts University combined degree program. Select exhibitions include Indefinable Nature: Ashley Billingsley and Sarah Wentworth at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA; An Aesthetics of Slowness at Dorsky Gallery in Long Island City, NY; and On the Streets, an exhibition at JavaArts in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, sponsored by apexart, NY. Mic Billingsley is a creative collaborator, problem solver and museum exhibition professional. He works with institutions and individuals to realize projects ranging from one-of-a-kind art objects to large scale installations. He comes to art by way of science, engineering and furniture making, and makes work that revolves around a core interest in identifying individual features and amplifying them to bring forth qualities that are present but often unnoticed. Past projects include casework construction and archival lighting design for the Declaration of Independence at the Massachusetts State Archives; and design and construction of “Underpinnings,” a kinetic, drawing sculpture created in collaboration with artist Ethan Murrow as part of the Currier Museum of Art’s fall 2018 through spring 2019 exhibition “Hauling.”

Jane Brucker

Jane Brucker engages the viewer through her reverence for familial and historical memory. In large installations and intimate small-scale sculpture, she touches on the poetry of existence by examining legacy, fragility, and death. Combining found objects and heirlooms with textiles, wood, glass, and cast metals, Brucker reveals her strong tactile sensibility while simultaneously exploring the visceral and the spiritual. She has exhibited in the United States, Nepal, Germany, Scotland, France, Japan and the Czech Republic. She is a professor at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.

Marc Bushelle

Marc Bushelle was born in Barbados. Since his father worked for the U.S. Foreign Service, the Bushelle family’s home quickly became different places around the world, including the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. This unique childhood informed his imagination, fostered a love of art, photography and film and enhanced his ability to connect with a large cross-section of society. As an adult, his disruptive thinking coupled with his family’s compelling history and now residing in Brooklyn New York, Marc Bushelle as a photographer and artist, has gravitated to projects focused on the human condition. Delivering a strong message is a constant focus, and, as a father, surrounding his young daughter with positive images is vital. His work shows emotion and he enjoys capturing them and evoking them with his work.

Jaleel Campbell

New York-based artist Jaleel Campbell is translating the root of black beauty to the language of the digital age with his stunning portraits. Depicting the scope of the modern brown body –ranging from black love, to Illustrations of stone-faced black men and women – each one is made up of geometric layers and fused together in complementary deep shades. Rich powerful and emotive, his work feels familiar and new all at once. Campbell’s pieces help to create a new expectation for black representation.

Jeffrey Chandler

Jeffrey Chandler is a self -taught artist who lives and works in Boston Massachusetts. He creates art from wood that has been reclaimed from things thrown away. He is fascinated by finding an object and problem solving how to transform a discarded piece of junk into a treasure. He uses recycled wood and other materials out of necessity and also as a statement about this “throw away society.” Recycling is necessary to sustain the planet’s resources and his small way of using these materials to be innovative and creative as an artist. Chandler’s artwork often depicts people. Sometimes it is a portrait, at other times a couple dancing , a musician playing an instrument or person singing. Masks are a recurring theme in his work. He is inspired by African and Native American art and often uses symbols from these cultures in his work. (Edited from artist statement.)

Merill Comeau

Merill Comeau is a mixed media artist creating installations, murals and garments examining narratives of repair and regeneration. Comeau deconstructs, reconstructs, and alters clothing and linens to disrupt, reorder, and build stories exploring common human concerns. She is known for her work exploring women’s history, gender identity development, and autobiographical narrative. Comeau has participated in over 70 exhibitions including at Fuller Craft Museum, the Danforth Art Museum, Southern New Hampshire University, and FiberArt International 2019. Comeau has completed ten artist residencies including three month-long stays at Weir Farm National Historic Site in CT where she researched Weir family women’s lives to use as art-making inspiration. Comeau’s work has been showcased in numerous publications including, Fiber Art Now, Mass Cultural Council’s ArtsSake blog, and World of Threads Artist Interviews. In addition to her solo studio practice, Comeau has extensive experience as a teaching artist. Committed to the use of visual expression as storytelling, transmitting knowledge, and teaching values, she has facilitated over 30 community art projects. Since 2012, she has been a teaching artist for the Department of Youth Services making art with youth at risk involved in the Massachusetts Court system and residing in secure treatment centers.


Sally Fine

Sally Fine is a washashore to Cape Cod from a town just west of Chicago. She holds a BFA from Ohio University and an MFA from Boston University. Fine’s sculpture is constructed of a wide array of materials, ranging from wood, metal, glass and new media. Her work is represented in local and international collections both private and public. Fine exhibits her work locally at Boston Sculpture Gallery in Boston’s South End.

Marlon Forrester

Marlon Forrester, born in Guyana, South America, is an artist and educator raised in Boston, MA. Forrester is a graduate of School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, B.A and Yale School of Art, M.F.A. 2010. He is currently a painting lecturer at School of The Museum of Fine Arts Boston at Tufts University and BPS Visual Arts Teacher. He is a resident artist at African-American Masters Artist Residency Program (AAMARP) adjunct to the Department of African-American Studies in association with Northeastern University. He is an artist who explores through painting, drawing, sculpture, and installation the corporate use of the black male body, or the body as logo through the lens of basketball.

Dwora Fried

Dwora Fried is an assemblage artist creating mixed media sculptural spaces in wooden boxes. Her small rooms evoke what it was like to grow up as an outsider in postwar Vienna: being Jewish, lesbian, and a child of Holocaust survivors, she learned to see everything through the prism of loss, danger, and secrecy. Dwora studied art at Anvi School of Fine Arts in Tel Aviv, Israel. She has had solo shows in London, England; Venice, Italy; and at the Jewish Museum, Vienna. Austria (her art is in the permanent collection of Austria’s MUSA Museum); and Los Angles, California. She has exhibited in Chicago’s Elmhurst Art Museum, Grafiska Sallskapet in Stockholm, Sweden, San Francisco’s Arc gallery, and Orange County Center for the Performing Arts. Her work was shown at Launch LA/Korean Cultural Center, Irvine Fine Arts, and her newly opened MASH gallery in Downtown LA. Her life-size interactive installations were part of her solo show at the Los Angeles Art Association and a political group show at Fullerton College Art.

Ellen Hanauer

Ellen Hanauer is a sculptor and installation artist who has focused much of her work on science-based art, gender issues, interior spatial relationships of the natural world and, most recently, the human condition. In the past four years, she has worked primarily in fiber and digital arts and has been traveling her continually expanding exhibition, Transform. Hanauer has exhibited nationally and internationally in museums, universities and galleries where she has had several one person exhibitions. Her work has been included in many scientific conferences overseas and she has been awarded the First Theoretical Prize from Oxford University, UK. Hanauer’s national commissions have been exhibited in Tarpon Springs, FL and throughout the tristate area including Rockefeller Center and Riverside Park. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Noyes Museum of Art, NJ; Montclair Art Museum Education Collection, NJ; (the late) Ivan Karp, OK Harris Gallery, NY; The Princeton Review, NY; Organon, NJ; Lynda Zycherman, Chief Conservator of Sculpture, MoMA, NY; Kevah Konner Bus Company, NJ; Atlanticare Foundation NJ, and National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC.

Janine Harper

Janine Harper worked for many years as a journalist. She covered breaking news throughout the western hemisphere, and then she went onto a career in tech. Harper became interested in the Shirley Chisholm legacy when she and her husband did a project called the Heroine’s Project. She also guides visitors to the Brooklyn Art Museum through virtual reality experiences and digital arts installations.

Brian Holbrook

Brian Holbrook started building weird things when he was young. He enjoys playing with angles and how everyday things are perceived. He studied at the Vermont Woodworking School and has been doing fine woodworking for three years. (Edited from artist statement.)

Carol Krentzman, Jeff Olsen, Jason Cheeseman-Meyer

Carol Krentzman has been creating public art for many years with a focus on stained glass and mosaics. She has studied with numerous mosaic and stained glass artists in many locations. Carol uses a variety of tiles, individually made fused glass, clay elements and other materials when fabricating her indoor and outdoor mosaics. Carol creates commission mosaics, leads community mosaic projects, and teaches mosaics to many different age groups. Jeff Olsen is a carpenter, woodworker, and remodeling contractor by trade who has been making furniture, mobiles, and sculpture for over thirty years. Jeff particularly enjoys repurposing things that have been thrown out, like the base of the chair he will be using for this project, which he found by the side of the road in Waltham. The chair is intended to evoke the benches and chairs Bethune made herself from discarded crates to furnish her first school. Jason Cheeseman-Meyer’s oil paintings blend the tactile and illusionistic natures of paint to capture motion and depict human bonds and aspirations. Jason has studied painting on both coasts and works as an illustrator and a portraitist. (Note: Carol will be creating a mosaic timeline of Bethune’s life to go into the seat of a wooden chair made by Jeff, with paintings on the front and the back of the chair by Jason.)


Verneda Lights

Verneda Lights is a visual artist/ photographer and griot of the Gullahgeechee Nation, located in South Carolina’s Low Country, USA. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (MD), and Strayer University (MBA). She also holds a certificate in International Arts Management from the International Leadership Program in Visual Arts Management from Deusto University School of Business, NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, and Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao, Spain). In addition to her career as an artist, Verneda is founder and CEO of E-graphX Omnimedia, a design firm and business consultancy located in Port Royal, SC. Verneda is well-known for her Afro-surreal and Afro-futurist photomontages and collages. Last year, two of her photomontages were included in the “Portraits Americana: A 100 -Year Retrospective of Portraiture by American Photographers,” (group exhibit), at the Albrecht- Kemper Museum of Art, (St. Joseph, MO). Her exhibited works will be included in the Museum’s permanent collection of contemporary photography. Her work will also be published in “Maintenant 13,” an international journal of Dada art and writing.

Kristina McComb

Kristina McComb is an interdisciplinary artist from western Massachusetts. She graduated with distinction with an AS in visual art with a concentration in photography from Greenfield Community College. She earned a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, where she focused on sharpening her skills in sculpture and continued her studies in photography, which resulted in being awarded the Yousuf Karsh Prize in Photography. Her work has been exhibited since 2014, most notably at the Brattleboro Museum and Arts Center in Brattleboro, Vermont, and the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is represented by the Abigail Ogilvy Gallery in Boston, MA.

Patricia Michaels

Patricia Michaels, of Taos Pueblo, is a world-renowned fashion and textile designer. She has studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts, 4-year independent studies at Chicago Art Institute, with Nick Cave as her mentor, worked at Santa Fe Opera in the costume department and with an Italian tailor in Venice Italy. She was first runner-up in Season 11 of Project Runway. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian awarded her the inaugural “Arts & Designs Award”, and she was a speaker at the Bill & Melinda Gates Scholar Foundation, amongst her many other accolades. Her work as a Native CEO of her PMWaterlily LLC, takes her around the world to do fashion, lectures, presentations, workshops, fundraisers, artist in residencies and inspirational speeches. She has completed a home collection with, “Akin Homes” and uniforms and boutique collections for Hotel Chaco in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as the boutique collections for Hotel Eldorado, Inn and Spa at Loretto in Santa Fe, and El Monte Sagrado in Taos, New Mexico. Patricia works as an activist with many organizations. She also sits on Taos Historical Museum Board and her works are continually emerging in 5 Star resort hotels, museums, museum shops and boutique galleries throughout the USA. She is actively working on the first Native American Opera as the designer for costumes and sets. In between this, she manages time for lectures and an active involvement with her Taos Pueblo cultural lifeways and beliefs.

Larry Pierce

Laurence Martin Pierce was born in The Bronx, New York on February 9, 1949, the youngest of three children. After graduating from the High School of Art and Design, he joined the Navy as a Photographer’s Mate serving 31/2 years before being honorably discharged. In 1973 he began studies at the School of Visual Arts, graduating four years later with a BFA. After a 20-year career in advertising in New York, he met his future wife and moved with her to Boston, MA. He joined several arts groups in Boston, participating in group and solo shows. In 2005 he founded the AfricanWInterGallery, showcasing his work and that of several local established and emerging artists. During this time he also began an 8 year career as a head start preschool teacher while continuing to exhibit work in Boston, New York and Atlanta. He continues to live and work in Dorchester, MA.

Esther Shavon

Esther Shavon is an artist, photographer, and textile designer. Esther is drawn to explore nature’s interaction with shapes and patterns. Throughout her artistic journey, she has developed a distinct curiosity and affection for the natural environment, expressing her amazements through abstract artistic expression. Her mixed media visions are expressed through a detailed printmaking process and shared as fine art photography and textiles through her creative studio, E’FLOMAE. Esther’s work is rooted in finding inspiration in daily life; and within those quiet moments celebrating the unexpected treasures of life.

Liz Shepherd

Liz Shepherd, a sculptor and printmaker, received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/ Tufts University in 2006. She is a member of the Boston Sculptors Gallery and is a past the President of the Boston Printmakers. Her sculpture has been exhibited widely in New England. Recent exhibitions include: Interior Effects at the Fitchburg Art Museum, solo exhibitions at Artpace in San Antonio, Texas and the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Itlay. Her prints are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Edinburgh (Scotland) College of Art, Syracuse University, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston Public Library and numerous corporate and private collections.

Margot Stage and David Crane

Margot Stage is a multi-disciplinary visual artist who explores memory and legacy in sculpture, monoprints and fiber art. She worked for 25 years as a National Public Radio host, reporter and producer before turning to visual art in 2001, essentially coming home to an earlier self. Her art was immediately accepted into juried exhibitions and has been shown extensively in galleries, universities and museums around the U.S. Stage is a member of the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Provincetown Artist Association Museum, and Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill. Her work has appeared in Fiber Arts Magazine, The Boston Globe, The Lowell Sun, Wild Apples, The Middlesex Beat, The Ithaca Journal, The Boston Phoenix, and The Westford Eagle. Her art is held in the collections of Enterprise Bank, The Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, The Lowell Health Center and by many private individuals. She lives with her artist husband and their dog in Eastham, Massachusetts. David M. Crane’s original work in sculpture started with welding steel during the 1960s. He later moved to wood carving, and then to wood assemblages. He uses found and cast-off detritus, collecting material from beaches, millwork scrap bins, dumpsters and forests. Everything from exotic wood like purple heart, to CDX-grade plywood, to torn veneer can capture his imagination, becoming the ingredient that conveys messages inspired by the natural world. The process of bringing together various, often discordant, pieces of wood into a composite whole is a challenge that invites viewers to draw their own interpretations. Crane has exhibited in galleries around Massachusetts. His work is held in the collection of Thoughtforms Corporation and by many individuals. He is a member of Cape Cod Museum of Art (where he volunteers on the hanging/installing committee), Provincetown Artists Association Museum, and Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill. He lives with his artist wife and their dog in Eastham, MA.