Dot Art looking for a new home, and reinvigorated programming

Dot Art Board of Directors, from left, Vice President Janelle Nanos, Clerk Benjamin Britten Harter, board member and senior advisor Kristen Nichols, Treasurer Evan Hershenson, board member Allen Redwing, President Raymond Czwakiel, and Executive Director Deniz Ozturk.
Photos by Ayden and Amirah Redwing for Dot Art

Dot Art, the non-profit youth program, which serves children ages 5-10 but hopes to expand to older kids, held a gathering on May 23 at home.stead café to raise funds as the organization prepares to vacate its home at The Little House in Columbia-Savin Hill in August and find a new operating space.

The board has been charged with finding a new location once the summer program is concluded at Little House.

“It was wonderful to see the community come together to celebrate Dot Art’s legacy, and to offer us support as we plan for the next 25 years,” said board vice president Janelle Nanos. “We look forward to continued collaboration as we begin to expand our offerings and locate a new space.”

Part of the fundraiser was a tribute to DotArt founder Leslie McWeeney for her years of work in the neighborhood. “We honored our founder and raised over $7,500 in total to ensure our community legacy and operational continuity,” said Deniz Ozturk, who was recently hired as executive director.

DOT Art Auction-155.png
Founder Leslie McWeeney speaks about starting Dot Art 25 years ago, as Lilliana Marquez looks on.

“We also received $2,500 from the Carney Family to the Paul Hansen Scholarship Fund that we launched at this community meeting,” Ozturk said. “Stay tuned for new programming from us for children, youth and adults including full August programing to meet the growing needs of families in Dorchester and Roxbury.”

The organization is planning a pop-up program at a location in Mattapan once a month on Saturdays, with more details to come.

Speaking for Mayor Wu, Dorchester mayoral liaison Ross Cochran said: “It was an honor to celebrate Dot Art’s 25th anniversary and present a citation of recognition to Leslie MacWeeney, founder of Dot Art. … Congratulations to the Dot Art team for 25 years of remarkable service.” 

The program has an office on Adams Street, but for the last five years has operated out of The Little House on East Cottage Street, courtesy of owner Adam Sarbaugh of Cornerstone Realty. That will end in August with a farewell cookout on Aug. 30.

Ozturk said they have centered on the Uphams Corner area for a new space since it has been designated an Arts and Cultural District. In the interim, they will operate out of Adams Street.

With the search in mind, the fundraising portion of the May 23 gathering was a start in that direction, with photographer David Stokle donating limited edition prints to be auctioned off at the gathering, with some still available for purchase. Performances at the gathering featured the opera artist Justine McCarty, Frankie Always, and members of the Walter Baker Artist Collective.

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