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Local artist Mithsuca Berry encourages ICA visitors to get creative

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Local artist Mithsuca Berry encourages ICA visitors to get creative
Mithsuca Berry opens a door of their installation "Destiny Doorways: Creating the Doors We Walk Through.” PHOTO: Lauren Miller

The Institute of Contemporary Art, in Boston’s burgeoning Seaport neighborhood, strives to be a place of community engagement rather than a stiff shrine to famous artists. The latest part of that initiative is “Destiny Doorways: Creating the Doors We Walk Through,” an installation by Boston native and local artist Mithsuca Berry in the museum’s Bank of America Art Lab.

“I do not want to settle for a life where making art is not possible for those who need it.” — Mithsuca Berry PHOTO: Lauren Miller

Berry is a Haitian artist, educator and storyteller, and this installation is a full circle moment for them. Years ago they were a member of the ICA Teen Arts Council and Slam Team, now their work adorns the museum’s walls.

“As an alumni, we have continued to follow their work because they’ve grown into an amazing professional artist,” says Janna Doherty, the creative arts manager at the ICA who worked closely with Berry on the project. “We were also excited about some of the themes in Mithsuca’s work where they use a lot of nature inspiration and a connection back to journeys and pathways.”

“Destiny Doorways” centers on a large mural of a tree-like structure with branches that extend out and hold literal miniature doorways that can be opened to find additional artwork.  The work is bright and joyful.

The Art Lab is a space designed for creativity and art making. Museum visitors of all ages are welcomed in to paint, draw, color, collage and create anything that strikes their fancy.

Visitors to the Art Lab enjoy art making. PHOTO: Lauren Miller

The museum is free for youth ages 18 and under, and as part of a new mayoral arts initiative, on the first two Sundays of every month, Boston Public Schools students can bring three adults to the museum with them, also for free. The Art Lab is generally open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12–4 p.m.

The lab with Berry’s installation opened for its first weekend Feb. 10, and Doherty says the space was completely full within 15 minutes of the doors opening. Guests stayed an average of 45 minutes and a range of art-lovers from toddlers to senior citizens utilized the space. This kind of inclusivity is exactly what Berry was hoping for.

“I do not want to settle for a life where making art is not possible for those who need it,” wrote Berry in an Instagram post after the opening weekend of the Art Lab. “The joy I got to witness so many people experience this weekend is one I wish for all. I am grateful to be one of many artists advocating for the possibility. May we all hold the same hope.”

“Destiny Doorways: Creating the Doors We Walk Through”, arts, ICA Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art