Freelance Writer focused on art, architecture, design, the trades, higher ed, and parenting

The Moment Where You Push Yourself: Jorge Gomez-Gonzalez, MFA ’22 | School of the Museum of Fine Arts | Tufts University

Jorge Gomez-Gonzalez arrived at SMFA at Tufts University in 2020, outspoken about their identity as a gay-Mexican activist artist and how it guides their practice. “All my work is about how trauma looks and changes and how it can appear differently from one person to another,” they said. Their photography and performances center around the aftershocks—the scars, bruises, and weighty burdens that marginalized individuals carry as a result. Image: Jorge Gomez-Gonzalez

How to Tell a Fortune: Rebecca Wakim, MFA '22 | School of the Museum of Fine Arts | Tufts University

Born in the United States but growing up in the village of Edde El Batroun in Lebanon, Rebecca Wakim, MFA ’22, threw herself into painting, but never considered seriously pursuing the visual arts. “I always convinced myself that art should be a hobby—because that's what everyone tells you in many parts of the Middle East where it’s regarded as more of a craft than a field,” she explained. Image: Courtesy of Rebecca Wakim

Perspective | Why visualizing images is so important for young readers, and how to foster the skill

I try to explain that my brain lifts off in flight. With “Firekeeper’s Daughter,” I become an avatar of the main character, Daunis Fontaine, an 18-year-old Ojibwe woman, sprinting through the damp reservation woods in Michigan, chest heaving, trying to bust up a local drug ring. It feels so real, and I am so focused on trying to understand and respect her world, which is so unlike mine, that when I am interrupted mid-paragraph, it takes me seconds to land back on the couch, into my 41-year-old m

Is job sharing the solution to our flexible work problems?

The nine-to-five in-person American workday is rigid, arbitrary, and increasingly outdated. Yet, if an employee wants to trim their hours to part time they often risk losing opportunities for advancement, getting caught in a slippery slope of pulling far more than 20 hours a week in exchange for more flexibility but less pay. And for women who are parents, they frequently end up getting slapped with the “mommy track,” label and taken less seriously by colleagues who relentlessly value a 60-hour

North Bennet St. School Portrait Project

Despite the pandemic, North Bennet Street School (NBSS) Retail & Exhibit Manager Kristen Odle couldn’t stand to cancel the Annual Celebration of Craft: Student & Alumni Exhibit, a favorite tradition in which students and alumni display and sell their strongest work from the past year. Instead, she ambitiously reshaped the exhibition into a series of unique studio portraits of NBSS students, staff, and faculty.

What Does a Good Paid Parental-Leave Policy Look Like?

Working as designers at a real estate company, Brittney Hart and Justin Capuco felt pressured to take just two weeks of paid leave when their twins arrived. They remember the time as one hard, delirious blur. Having since gone on to found their own firm, Husband Wife, they now have the flexibility to be home in the evenings, when their preschool-aged kids are still awake, says Capuco. If you’re pregnant, adopting, fostering, going through surrogacy, or managing someone who is about to welcome a

Bribery, rewards and other ways to motivate your kids without feeling guilty

There’s a difference between rewards and bribes, but it’s subtle. Bribes are offered in desperation to get a child to cooperate in a difficult, often unplanned situation — as a kind of prepayment for compliance. Rewards are considered in advance, given upon completion of a task, and structured to motivate. For Ferdaws Seraj, a mom of two in Fairfax, Va., the toughest part of parenting after an intense workday followed by the dinner-prep grind is not giving in to the kids’ nagging or crying.

Serene Garden Sanctuary on Nantucket

Shaped privet hedges meet untamed swathes of periwinkle hydrangeas and layer upon layer of herbaceous plantings that sway in the Atlantic salt breeze. Greenwich, Connecticut–based landscape designer James Doyle and his team at James Doyle Design Associates have cultivated a Nantucket sanctuary here on the island’s bluffs. The clients had very specific needs and wants because they spend a lot of time on the island from mid-summer into the fall. The large family gatherings that they host form the

This Women-Owned Stone Supplier Does Things Differently

Four times a year, sisters Agnes and Beata Pisalska, the owners of BAS Stone in Long Island City, New York, methodically walk through dusty quarries for 12 hours a day for a week in the Tuscan province of Massa-Carrara, hunting for treasure in their matching black Prada eyeglasses. “We’ll spot a block through the rubble,” says Agnes. “No one wants it.” Beata joins in with a laugh, “And then we’re like, what is back in that corner?” Following their gut instincts, the BAS sisters make their selec

Neglecting Yourself Doesn’t Make You a Better Mother

For Ms. Herold, that can be a therapy session by telephone or even plopping her son in front of a screen for a break. But her needs are always hidden out of sight, she realized recently. When her son is awake, she’s reading him books, washing dishes or working remotely — not stretching out on the couch with a novel. “He needs to see me reading just for me,” she said. Before my neighborhood sandbox in Brookline, Mass., became a potential infection zone, I learned fast that pulling up with the st

When Nobody Wants to Be in Your Pod

Pre-pandemic, barely anyone knew about our personal health, and we liked it that way. In particular, Isaac, who is now 4 and an only child, had no idea. We aren’t sure if my husband’s condition is hereditary and doctors don’t know how to test for it, and all of that didn’t feel right to share with a preschooler. Now, before we so much as go to the park for a masked play date, we have to disclose these health issues, so that other parents know how serious it is that we all keep safe when we see

These Photo Albums Offer a Rare Glimpse of 19th-Century Boston’s Black Community

With a quiet, unflinching confidence, Virginia L. Molyneaux Hewlett Douglass posed for the photographer, one slender hand rustling the pleats of her fine silk dress. Although portraits were trendy and accessible in the 1860s when hers was shot, hand-colored photographs were a luxury, and this one is saturated with shades of emerald and lilac, underlining Virginia’s wealth and high social standing as the wife of Frederick Douglass, Jr., son of the celebrated abolitionist. Her name is handwritten

These Women in Construction Are Cracking the Cement Ceiling

In the United States, the trades are booming. However, according to recent data from the National Association of Women in Construction, women make up just 9.9% of the construction industry in the country, with nearly a third of that stat attributed to female sales and office personnel. To those women seeking to break into the trades, one roadblock can be the intimidation of learning on a job where they are likely the only female. In 2014, in Detroit, Samantha Farrugia set out to narrow the gend

Nina Farmer Brings Exuberant Color and a Globe-Trotting Sensibility to New England

Every home Nina Farmer takes on is either guided by a charming backstory or acquires an unforgettable plot twist by the time she is finished—from seamlessly adding a contemporary wing to a 1920s colonial to revamping an 1880s shingle house while maintaining its historical quirks. Farmer’s own career hasn’t been exempt from such narrative turns, either. Growing up in an artistic family in Westport, Connecticut, she adored childhood trips into New York City to the Kips Bay Decorator show house. H

For Sarah Whiting, Harvard GSD’s New Commander-in-Chief, Business As Usual Isn’t Enough

As Sarah Whiting, the new dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, prepares to publicly meet her community for the first time, her chosen anthem, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” blasts through the school’s Piper Auditorium. Students and professors pour in through the doors, a sea of black jeans and Moleskine notebooks. Whiting takes the stage with her old friend architectural historian K. Michael Hays—a virtual fireplace video crackling behind them—and the muscular banter begins. A stage

The women taking charge in the Gulf's rising art scene

It is no secret that the art ecosystem in the Gulf is dominated by women. Much more than figureheads, there are female royal patrons, experienced expatriates and homegrown professionals leading cornerstone institutions including Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, 21,39 Jeddah Arts, Qatar Museums and Sharjah Art Foundation. Western observers often delight in pondering why so many women are at the forefront of this scene, a relative newcomer to the global art world. “How is it possible that women
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