In every major city, it can become all too easy to get lost in the shuffle, unless of course you go the extra mile to get to know your neighbors. For our new week-long series, “Know Your Neighbors,” we’d like to introduce several people in each major borough of Boston that are working to help create strong communities. Some of these strangers are up to radical work in the non-profit, arts, and music world as well as just being wonderful human beings. By looking around, asking questions, and working to get to know the people we pass by each day, Boston will hopefully begin to feel stronger and more connected.
We start this series off with Centre Street in Jamaica Plain. Our first subject: Lindsay Metivier, the founder of Aviary Gallery and Photo Lab.
A: I don’t know how I decided to move to JP, specifically, but I’d heard it would be the similar to Burlington Vermont, where I’m from. I was studying and living at Mass Art, then moved in with some friends in JP. Upon moving into JP, I got a job at Boomerangs and spent 5 years working there.
A: After graduating from MassArt in 2008 I got a job teaching Photography at the Gann Academy in Waltham. In addition to working at the thrift store I was also doing a lot of freelance work at the time. I wanted to create a space for emerging and established artists to share and show their work. I wanted to create a non traditional exhibition space that in addition to serving as a gallery would host workshops, lectures, concerts, film screenings and readings. While at MassArt and after graduating I put on an art/craft fair twice a year called Mass Market. Through producing this event I met a lot of wonderful artists and crafters.
Q: What sorts of projects are you currently up to at the Aviary?
A: Aviary opened the photo lab this past year and we are hoping to print artist’s books at some point. We had our third year birthday recently. I’d like Aviary to be both a gallery and a space to make and buy artists books. We also use our space for performance art, films, and book events. We even rent our space for birthdays and weddings sometimes!
A: Aviary has a new exhibition every month opening on the first Thursday. Our openings are part of Jamaica Plain’s First Thursday Artwalks. The events are huge. Our space fills up pretty quickly especially when we have group shows.
Q: What was the last show at the Aviary like?
A: We just took down a show from featuring first year Mass Art photographers’ graduate work. We’re showing Ryan Arthur’s work this week as well. Our photo shows predominantly feature local artists, but we show work for international artists as well. We get most of our submissions through friends of friends or artists who have seen their friend’s show here as well.
A: I think it’d be great to have a small movie house in JP! Jamaica Plain and Boston in general are missing a space to see and buy art and photography books. I love shopping at the MFA bookstore when there, but you can’t go in to look at books without paying admission to the museum first. Aviary just started carrying art books this year. In addition to selling art books, we’re hoping to be printing and publishing our own in the coming years.
A: My students are doing presentations today. I asked them all to give a 10-minute presentation on something photography related. It could be a genre of photography, a photographer, or to teach us something photography related. Someone actually did their project on me! It was interesting because I don’t have as much language about my work, or at least on my website. So this person had to talk about my work for 10 minutes and give his own take on what my photographs are about. He said that, “my photographs are often about, or of things, that if you were to explain, they wouldn’t sound as interesting as the photographs look.” Someone else did a presentation on food photography. She incorporated her own photographs of cupcakes she was making and then at the end, surprised us by bringing the actual cupcakes in for us to enjoy.
A: My favorite place to eat in JP was Tacos El Charro. Sadly it closed last year. I loved their tacos and also the woman who ran it. City Feed and Supply is also a favorite! While I get coffee at City Feed every day I’ve been trying to branch out and coffee shop hop with friends and other freelance artists.
A: Yes! I recently got an email from a couple that was in need of a photographer who is comfortable with goats and dogs. Their wedding will be at the animal sanctuary in Belmont because they volunteer there. Those kinds of weddings are my favorite. Goat weddings – to be specific! I also love a backyard wedding or a campground wedding. I recently photographed Adam and Kate’s wedding. They rented a campground and had a bonfire and music playing. It was really beautiful.
A: I’m actually looking around to buy property in JP, so I think I’ll be here for a while.. Eventually, I want to own land at some point in Western Mass or NY so that my dog, Ava, can run around in a backyard.
Q: What are you looking forward to this summer?
A: I’m looking forward to music shows, Turtle Pond hangouts, photographing, gardening and having the door open at Aviary. Something I like to do in the summertime is get ice cream at JP and birch beer at City Feed and make a birch beer float to walk around with. Something I like about JP is that everything you need is within a couple of blocks.