This Week in Black Art and Culture: MFA Boston Appoints Dr. Mariel Novas, Eddie Bauer Names Christopher Bevans Its Creative Director and more

This Week in Black Art and Culture is sponsored by The Children’s Trust
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston appoints Dr. Mariel Novas as learning and community engagement. Eddie Bauer appoints of Christopher Bevans as its new creative director. The Woolmark Company announces Saul Nash as the 2022 International Woolmark Prize winner, with MMUSOMAXWELL awarded the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation. Anderson .Paak takes a lead role in a new movie about K-pop. Read more in this week’s Black Art and Culture.

MFA Boston Appoints Dr. Mariel Novas

Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), has announced that Dr. Mariel Novas has been appointed as the Patti and Jonathan Kraft Chief of Learning and Community Engagement.

She will begin her new role on May 16. As chief of learning and community engagement, Novas will oversee staff in the areas of learning, community engagement, public programs, inclusion, access, interpretation and teen programs. She will provide leadership to the MFA’s volunteers, collaborating with and nurturing them as they work to extend the Museum’s reach and engage new audiences. Novas will also expand the MFA’s relationship with the Greater Boston community by forging new partnerships and strengthening existing ones, such as Boston public schools and the 12 after-school organizations that participate in the Museum’s Community Arts Initiative.

“Mariel Novas is an outstanding community leader and educator with deep roots in Boston,” said Teitelbaum. “Her unwavering commitment to learning and inclusion has been central to her previous work in a wide variety of organizations, and she has a track record of building reciprocal, collaborative and sustained community partnerships. I am delighted that Mariel is joining us at the MFA at this time, bringing her belief in the role of art and public institutions into our conversations as we continue to build a museum that is reflective of the creative power of art and artists, reflects our city, and is inclusive and welcoming to all.”

Novas most recently served as transition director for Mayor of Boston Michelle Wu. Prior to directing Mayor Wu’s transition team, Novas served as director of partnerships and engagement for Massachusetts at The Education Trust and as director of district and school partnerships at Teach for America, where she founded the first-ever regional “Homegrown Program” focused on recruiting and supporting teachers who grew up in low-income communities in Massachusetts. She also has taught at the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester. Novas holds a doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a master’s degree in curriculum and teaching from Boston University, and a bachelor’s degree in history and ethnicity, race and migration from Yale University.

“I’m thrilled to join the incredible team at the MFA as the new chief of learning and community engagement,” said Novas. “I’m excited to marry my passions for education, community organizing, art and healing in this role by helping to deepen the Museum’s ties to diverse community partners, foster opportunities for increased access and inclusion, and expand the ways in which we teach and learn. The MFA is an inspiring place for cross-cultural engagement and dialogue, especially in this exciting moment for our city, and I’m truly humbled to be a part of its magic.”

Eddie Bauer Names Christopher Bevans Its Creative Director

Eddie Bauer, the outdoor retailer, has named Christopher Bevans as its new creative director, where he will lead product development with his vision and skills. Bevans will use his background in sportswear and textiles to help shape the overall product range, balancing technical innovation with current trends.

A Brooklyn native and awarded fashion designer, Bevans moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2004, where he spent nearly two decades growing his passion for the outdoors. “Over the years living in the Pacific Northwest, my love of the outdoors has grown into a professional pursuit,” Bevans said. “I have been a longtime admirer of Eddie Bauer for its meticulous commitment to its quality and customers as well as the greater outdoor community, so this is a natural next step in my career. I’m looking forward to leaning into the brand’s rich heritage to create products that balance the art of design with functionality.”

“The appointment of Christopher Bevans is an important milestone for the Eddie Bauer brand,” said Eddie Bauer’s Mike Schulam, VP of merchandising. “Using his unique perspective on tailoring, as well as cut and color, Christopher has already started to re-imagine the core Eddie Bauer styles and look of our product assortment. We’re excited to see the impact that he will make as we continue to design for a range of adventurers and all of their outdoor experiences.”

Bevans, a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), has been recognized for his work with DYNE by earning the 2017 Woolmark Innovation Prize and being named a 2017 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist. He also serves as senior creative lead at Shopify, where he works closely with emerging fashion industry entrepreneurs. Bevans began his career in New York City, apprenticing at a local tailoring house of which he became the owner at the age of 19. 

His roots as an expert tailor developed into a passion that carried him to positions with top brands such as Billionaire Boys Club, Head (Tennis), Sean John, Yeezy, Smithsonian, New York Cosmos and the MacArthur Foundation. From 2003-2007, he was design director of Nike’s Blue Ribbon Sports Division and was instrumental in initiating Roger Federer’s now-famous “RF” logo. In 2013, he was named a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab Director’s Fellow.

Saul Nash 2022 International Woolmark Prize, MMUSOMAXWELL 2022 Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation

At a special occasion in London, Saul Nash was named the winner of the 2022 International Woolmark Prize. MMUSOMAXWELL, a design partnership from South Africa, received the equally renowned Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation. Ahluwalia, EGONLAB, Jordan Dalah, Peter Do, and Rui were among the seven finalists chosen.

An expert jury including Ben Gorham, Carine Roitfeld, Edward Enninful OBE, Ibrahim Kamara, Marc Newson CBE, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, Naomi Campbell, Pieter Mulier, Riccardo Tisci, Shaway Yeh, Sinéad Burke and Tim Blanks selected the winners. The announcement was hosted by Nick Grimshaw, with Jourdan Dunn, Pixie Geldof, Susie Lau and Erin O’Connor in attendance.

Each contender was given the responsibility of designing a six-look collection using merino wool to honor this year’s topic of “play.”

Nash was introduced to the benefits of merino wool in athletics through this collection, allowing him to create materials that have improved the quality of his designs without losing their technical DNA. Saul Nash’s innovative version of knitwear defies traditional notions about sportswear by focusing on avoiding waste and emphasizing mobility and performance.

“Everyone did a great job and could have been a winner,” said Riccardo Tisci. “But what Saul did, coming from a ballet background to replace lycra with wool was really incredible.”

MMUSOMAXWELL’s winning collection, from South Africa, was dedicated to lowering environmental impact and upskilling traditional craftsmanship. MMUSOMAXWELL takes an artisanal approach to its collection, sourcing local raw materials and overseeing end-to-end manufacturing. To combat the fast-fashion crisis, each item supports slow and small batch production by using local craftspeople. The panel complimented the design pair for their commitment to providing a new skill set to South African industry, as well as their enthusiasm and daring.

The winners each receive AU$200,000 (U.S. $142,355) and AU$100,000 (U.S. $71,178) respectively, as well as ongoing support from the industry and Woolmark Prize retail partners. Finalists will continue their International Woolmark Prize journey, joining a prestigious alumni group of more than 400, and will be presented with commercial opportunities via their Retail Partner Network.

Rapper Anderson .Paak Is Lead in Upcoming Comedy-Drama Film

Stampede Ventures, a production company, has announced that rapper and multi-instrumentalist Anderson .Paak will helm K-Pops!, a new comedic drama film. Anderson .Paak plays a washed-up musician who travels to Korea to create songs for K-pop idols, only to discover that his long-lost son (played by his real-life son Soul Rasheed) is the lead singer of one of the country’s newest growing groups. A release date has yet to be set. .Paak and Khaila Amazan collaborated on the writing for K-Pops! He’ll also be producing alongside Greg Silverman of Stampede Ventures, Jaeson Ma of EST Studios and Jon Park of Big Dummie through his firm Apeshit Films.

Amazan will executive produce alongside Gideon Yu, Chris Bosco, and Grant Torre of Stampede Ventures and Eric Tu of EST Studios, with EST’s Juefang Zhang co-producing. In the fourth quarter of this year, production will begin.

“My mom is from Korea but she was adopted, so I never knew anything about my Korean heritage until I met my wife,” said .Paak. “This movie is a reflection on my experience learning about this part of myself alongside my wife and son—and spending even more time with them. I knew this would be something I should write and direct, and Stampede Ventures took a chance and trusted that I could pull this off. I’m excited to bring it to the big screen.”

“Anderson .Paak is a trailblazer by nature, whose amazing work will naturally translate onto the big screen for feature films,” Stampede Ventures’ CEO and founder, Silverman said. “He is a monster talent with a huge heart and a bigger smile. This is just the beginning for this superstar.”

-Compiled by Sumaiyah E. Wade

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