Somerville Cultural Ambassador Bios
Murshid Buwembo is an art and culture enthusiast who currently works with the Boston Center for Independent Living. He has served as a policy maker at the Kampala Capital Authority in Uganda, serving as a member of the gender and community development committees. In 2022 he represented Somerville at the Smart City World Congress in Barcelona and presented a paper on inclusive cities.
Callie Chapman is a multi-disciplinary artists focusing on the intersections of media, dance, design, and experience through time. She has directed Zoe Dance Company since 2002 and has danced for 20 years with Prometheus Dance. Callie has received multiple grants, fellowships, residencies, and awards including the Massachusetts Cultural Council's 2020 fellowship in choreography, the Boston Center for the Arts Dance Residency, the Boston Foundation's NextSteps Grant, multiple fellowships from the Somerville Arts Council, and a grant from RedBull. As an arts administrator for 20 years, Callie has worked for organizations such as Boston Dance Alliance, Somerville Arts Council, and founded Studio at 550, a multidisciplinary arts studio. She also has consulted with other non-profits in designing systems and branding elements for the organizations.
Born in Colorado to Brazilian parents, and growing up in Rio, Brazil, Julia Csekö moved to Boston, MA in 2010 to pursue an MFA at SMFA at Tufts. In 2022, Csekö received a Collective Futures Tufts University Galleries and Warhol Foundation Grant, an AiR at the Boston Center for the Arts, a Somerville Arts Council grant, a CTV MassCreative Fellowship, and a Somerville Museum Community Curator Grant, she was also invited as an AIR at Sculpture Space, upstate NY. In 21’ she received a SAC Visual Arts Fellowship and was an AiR at the Umbrella Art Center 20-21’ in Concord MA. In 2020 she was invited as a Visiting Artist by Emerson College. In addition, she has public murals on view commissioned by the Downtown Boston BID, and by the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association. In 2018 Csekö was invited as an AiR at the A4A MassMoCA. Csekö is also the recipient of a 2016 Walter Feldman Fellowship awarded by ABC Boston.
Her passion for organizing dates back to her BFA at the Federal University of Rio UFRJ, when Csekö participated in negotiations demanding an increase from 0.3 to 1% of Brazilian national funds be allocated to arts and culture. She was also a member of a committee in conversation with representatives of the Brazilian Ministry of Culture.
Ben Demers is an Economic Development Planner for the City of Somerville, where he focuses on neighborhood plan implementation in Union Square, Boynton Yards, and Gilman Square, and small business support citywide. Ben also works closely with the Somerville Arts Council on efforts to support local artists and arts-focused businesses. Prior to working with the City, Ben worked for the San Francisco Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District, and recently graduated from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where his capstone focused on supporting San Francisco nightlife.
Dr. Janeann Dill is a research-based and concept-based humanist, artist, and author. A teaching artist and cultural producer, Dill is
an international filmmaker in the fine art modes of cinema and critical thinking.
Cidjud (CJ) Felix has been involved in community engagement and community development practices in the Greater Boston Area for almost a decade. Utilizing art and genuine connection, CJ curates environments geared for holistic health that are not only centered in liberation but joy, and fun.
Lynn Gervens has been the Executive Director of Mudflat Pottery School since 1993. She first came to Mudflat as a studio artist and faculty member in 1978, after receiving a BFA in Ceramics from the University of Illinois, and she has continued to teach and create her own clay work since, for over 45 years.
Jason Polins is currently a resident of Somerville MA and is also a self employed artist and teacher in Somerville. He has maintained his studio at Joy St Studios for the past 17 years, where he continues to teach and create his paintings, drawings and sculpture.
From theory to practice, Joshua Sariñana, PhD, connects the multi-dimensional networks of the brain, art, and the humanities. As an artist and curator he directs cross-disciplinary projects emphasizing representational networks and narrative construction, integrating internal autobiographical and external social identities.
Ajda Snyder is an independent voice teacher, original singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist musician who's been performing live and recording for over 25 years. A proud Somervillain, she is passionate about art and culture in our community.
Joe Wight is a creative professional based in Somerville, MA with a background in art, design, manufacturing, engineering, and music. He is passionate about protecting creative spaces dedicated to art and music and is currently focused on public art installations, teaching, producing events, community organizing, roller skating, and DJing house music.
City Advisors, working with our Ambassadors:
Nikki Spencer, Chief of Staff to Mayor Ballantyne
Willie Burnley Jr, Somerville City Councilor-At-Large