BHCC Distinguished Artist Scholar in Residence

This one-year residency program was launched in 2018 by College President Pam Eddinger to give students opportunities to have meaningful interactions with practicing artists and scholars, and to provide them with a forum for new thinking and approaches to art and culture. The Distinguished Artist Scholar in Residence is selected with input from faculty and from those working at the intersection of art and scholarship. Each resident will have a body of work that align with the College’s curriculum; this work will be shared with the College Community through lectures, workshops, informal meetings, dinners, and other events. The residency provides for a sustained dialogue about the themes, techniques, and implications of the artist/scholar’s work, stimulating both conversation and reflection, and offering the chance to learn together. This enhances educational opportunities for both students and the greater Boston community.

“The establishment of the Distinguished Artist Scholar in Residence reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the work we do, and the reciprocity between art and science,” said Eddinger. “The Scholar embodies the recognition that creativity, problem-solving skills, and intellectual curiosity nurture all academic endeavors.”

The inaugural Distinguished Artist Scholar in Residence was Robin M. Chandler, Ph.D. who brought an extensive record of publications and exhibitions with a focus on social movements, arts and culture leadership, gender equality, post and neo-colonial studies, arts and culture, and race and cultural competency. A collage and multimedia artist, Dr. Chandler has taught at the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg), MIT, Wellesley College, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University and Simmons College, and was a tenured professor at Northeastern University. As a social scientist and gender specialist, Chandler has focused her research in international development on the inclusion of girls and women into leadership by overcoming gender-based violence.

“We have ended up with a model residency that has no comparison at any other community college in the United States” said Dr. Chandler. “I see it as a spiritual journey with art and science feet.”

Dr. Robin M. Chandler’s collective works, Revolutionary Moments: Art, The Word and Social Action, an interdisciplinary exhibition of visual art, poetry, multimedia, and scholarship narrating a career of practice in art production, the social sciences and service to humanity was presented October, 2018 to June, 2019.

Rhina P. Espaillat, selected as the Distinguished Artist Scholar in Residence Program for 2019-2020, brings a wealth of knowledge about writing across cultures to the College Campus. Born in the Dominican Republic, she writes poetry, short stories and essays in both English and Spanish. She has published many full-length books, chapbooks and a monograph. Her work appears in numerous journals, anthologies, and websites, and has been honored with national and international awards, including the T. S. Eliot and Richard Wilbur Awards, several from the Poetry Society of America, the New England Poetry Club, the Robert Frost Foundation, the Ministry of Culture of the Dominican Republic, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Salem State University, Salem, Massachusetts.

“Working with Gallery staff and the faculty of BHCC has been a fulfilling experience, from beginning to end, as it has involved a project dear to my heart: combining the arts in the service of learning, enhancing creativity and imagination and unifying the efforts of devoted professionals doing what they love for their students and the public,” said Espaillat. “So much has come out of it, including poetry, painting, music, and, of course, the history and social concerns that always underlie the arts.”

During her residency, Espaillat has met and worked with students and faculty in numerous classroom settings across the curriculum.  Through numerous poetry readings and other events, she has introduced to the college community many acclaimed writers and musicians with whom she has collaborated for many decades.

During her residency she translated the poetry of well-known writer and artist, Jimmy Valdez Osaku, a fellow Dominican, for his exhibition of poetry and painting Creative Exile, September 7, 2020 – April 23, 2021.

“I hope that my tenure has been fruitful for the students I've spoken to and the faculty members I've worked with,’’ Espaillat said. “But what I can say without any doubt is that it has been a learning experience – and a most satisfying one – for me. It has given me a chance to exchange ideas with, join efforts with, and learn from gifted people who share my lifelong interest in teaching, the arts, and the future of young people.”