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Catching Up with Our Winter Cohort

Abel Cano is the founder of ARC Leadership develops social movement leadership capacity for urban young adults, grassroots community organizations, and nonprofits. Abel teaches the craft of organizing through workshops and expert coaching, focusing on teaching six leadership practices that cover everything from defining a public narrative to organizing strategies. Abel is driven by his belief in leadership education, in a time when so many social movements are occurring globally and locally he believes that community organization is an integral tool for communities to build power to move toward freedom. Since January of this year, ARC Leadership has led 30 workshops and trained over 250 participants and just recently has completed his first training with an international client based in Mexico City.


Melissa Nussbaum brings the many threads of her life into her work. Her social interventions, interactive installations, Spanish language productions, and playback theater all tie into her passion to hold up stories that may not otherwise be heard. Red Sage Works is her own project in which she brings playback theater to her community where she feels that it can be a tool for healing. Playback theater is an original form of improvisational theatre in which audience or group members tell stories from their lives and watch them enacted. When asked what the desired impact of Red Sage Works would be, she says “ I would like for the community to recognize theatre as a resource in spaces for restorative justices or navigating difficult conversations in the community, to utilize the multifaceted healing effect of theater. Invited to the lab, Melissa was able to gain insight as to how to scale her business to develop her vision.

Where you can find her

True Story Theater: Eastie Stories,  7:00pm, Zumix, 260 Sumner St, East Boston, June 25, July 2 and 31

Escena Latina Teatro, Spanish language theater in Mozart St Playground, July 12, 19, 26, Aug 2, 9

Merely Players: As You Like It, Longfellow Park, Cambridge, Aug 16-28

James Hobin reviewing artwork with students at the Nathan Hale School on Fort Hill in Roxbury.

James Hobin reviewing artwork with students at the Nathan Hale School on Fort Hill in Roxbury.

James Hobin is currently developing plants to open The Union Art Academy, an independent art school in Dorchester that would provide high school students with a solid foundation in the principles of art and design. The goal is to help students sustain momentum for learning outside of the classroom setting throughout the entire year. Hobin felt the need for The Union Art Academy based on his time as an art teacher in Boston area high schools, “Working as an art teacher in Boston area high schools, I have developed a heightened awareness of the power of art to raise the bar for student achievement. At the same time, recent budget shortcomings have reduced funding for art programs. Now is the time that talented young artists need help the most.” The Union Art Academy is really based in the community, and is now operating with assistance from the Dorchester Arts Collaborative at the Erick Jean Center for the Arts in Four Corners, Dorchester. 

Earlier Event: July 11
FIL Seeks Program Manager