‘Mini Meets’ artist brings Porter Square stories together at event with Lesley, History Cambridge, PSNA

Miniature ceramic sculptures of sirloin steaks will reward stories and conversations during Saturday’s “Mini Meets” event. (Photo: Cambridge History)

What stories are visible in the Porter Square neighborhood? How can we discover stories that remain untold in public spaces?

As an artist, I ask in an effort to understand public social history and the function of public space, beginning with the Porter Square MBTA station site. In my role as an education researcher in the Office of Community Engagement at Lesley University College of Art and Design, I developed a pop-up performance and community exchange project called “Mini Meets” – at its core, conversations with residents, students, commuters, and anyone passing through Porter Square Station and other public spaces along Massachusetts Avenue.

“Mini Meets” uses comedy, history, social engagement and performance to collect and highlight the contemporary social history of the Porter Square neighborhood, including the stories of those who use the area. The project begins with the history of the Porter family and its cattle business, which helped define the development of the square in its current function as a transport and trade hub. Through the use of miniature ceramic sculptures I made from grocery-wrapped sirloin steaks, the story is altered to fit in the palm of your hand. These “mini meats” serve as barter tokens for participants in exchange for stories and conversations.

A brief quiz will provide conversation starters about Porter Square’s public spaces, their function and their effect on the neighborhood.

Stop by to engage with “Mini Meets”, have a cup of coffee and learn about other programs from the Art + Design Community Engagement Office.

Excerpts from these conversations will help generate content for a mini ‘zine that will be available for free at Lesley Art + Design’s Lunder Arts Center, 1801 Massachusetts Ave.Porter Square and future “Mini Meets” performances.

  • The “Mini Meets” interactive pop-up performance is scheduled for 1-3 p.m. Saturday in the outer courtyard of MBTA’s Porter Square station, next to Commonwealth Lock, 1853 Massachusetts Ave. (There is a rain date from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.) All are welcome.

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“Mini Meets” is presented by the Office of Community Engagement at Lesley Art + Design, an art and design initiative that connects the college and its Lunder Arts Center to the communities of Cambridge, Somerville and Greater Boston, in partnership with Cambridge History and the Porter Square Neighbors Association. Mini Meets and the Lesley Art + Design Office of Community Engagement recognize and honor the unceded ancestral lands of the tribes of Massachusetts and their neighbors, the Nipmuc and Wampanoag peoples, upon which Porter Square, Cambridge and Lesley University stand .FacebookTwitter

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