Profiles

‘Keep It Kind. Keep It Creative’

Somerville-raised Rapper Forté On His Art and His City Forté never leaves the house without his crystals, which he wears around his wrists. Most are gifts, and they’re meant to promote creativity. While leaning back in his chair, the artist pulls a jagged Amethyst crystal out of his pocket and turns it over a few […]


‘Giving Joy’ Through Artisanal Gifts, Entrepreneurship, and Mentorship

Joy Kolin first came up with the idea for Giving Joy while at the salon, when her hairdresser complimented her purse and proposed that she sell the artisanal products that she had collected from around the world. Drawing off her experience in international development and economics, Kolin launched Giving Joy in November 2018. Giving Joy’s […]


Will Mbah Brings An Immigrant Perspective to the City Council

When Will Mbah attended community meetings, he often glanced around the room and noticed missing voices. He was frequently one of the only immigrants in the audience at the meetings, he says—which seemed problematic for a city whose population is almost 25 percent foreign-born. Now an at-large city councilor, Mbah aims to ensure that conversations […]


Do-Gooders, Key Players, and Game Changers: Indivisible Somerville

Indivisible Somerville, the local chapter of the national Indivisible movement, fosters local activism by helping people mesh social action with their lives.  “I went to a meeting and found myself talking about what really frustrated me about what was happening,” says Steering Committee Co-lead Peter Kollm. “You know, people who individually really care about this […]


Do-Gooders, Key Players, and Game Changers: RESPOND

When four local women formed domestic violence agency RESPOND in the early 1970s, the organization was the first of its kind in New England and only the second in the nation. Since Jessica Brayden became the CEO of the organization roughly a decade ago, she’s noticed organizations crop up across the region and the country […]


SCOUT’S HONORED: The Boston Tattoo Company

Tattoo or Piercing: The Boston Tattoo Company 260 Elm St. Suite 102, (617) 625-8282 bostontattoo.com As soon as he got his first tattoo at 18, Jason Zube was hooked. “I liked the whole vibe of the shop, I liked the music they were playing, and I just remember how comfortable everybody looked. The guy was wearing […]


The YouTube Icon Next Door

The Creator of ‘Potter Puppet Pals’ Talks About Finding His Voice Online and In Somerville Thirty minutes into our conversation, Neil Cicierega politely suggests that he’s open to talking about his experience of living in Somerville for the past eight years. Between tales of phone calls with the Warner Bros. legal department over unlicensed merch […]


The Arts Council’s Rachel Strutt On the Language of Food

Rachel Strutt, program director at the Somerville Arts Council, has always been interested in helping to amplify marginalized voices. She got her master’s degree in medieval art history at Tufts, studying the “people on the margins.” She continued with her passion of promoting people’s stories as a journalist, and eventually carried that drive to the […]


The SheBoom Sisterhood

They have many names for themselves. “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Drums.” “The Rolling Crones.” A “post-menopausal percussion and vocal ensemble.” They are many things—women, activists, mothers. One was a realtor, another’s a former professor, and a third has written five books about Halloween. They came together haphazardly. “It’s a small world in Somerville and […]


Ellie Tiglao Brings ‘Narrative Cuisine’ to the Table With Tanám

“It’s important to tell your own food story.” That’s the driving force behind what Ellie Tiglao, one of Boston’s rising culinary talents, describes as “narrative cuisine.” Her new restaurant, Tanám—slated to open in Bow Market in late summer—blends artistic inspiration and historical awareness to create intimate and memorable dining experiences. A career scientist with a […]


Meet Fluffy, Creator of Community at the Mystic Learning Center

You matter, and your community has your back. That’s the fundamental message Florence Bergmann has tried to impart to thousands of East Somerville children over the past 45 years through her work at the Mystic Learning Center (MLC). MLC works to break the cycle of poverty by providing a safe, low-cost space for kids and […]


How the Bicycle Committee Is Making Our Streets Safer

A recurring theme in our conversation with Ken Carlson, the chair of the Somerville Bicycle Committee, is the championing of “good frustration.” “People who aren’t used to biking in a place that has decent bike facilities will come and say to me, ‘Wow, I really love biking in Somerville,’” Carlson says. “My response is yeah, […]