Saturday, April 20, 2024

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

Whose histories are visible in the Porter Square neighborhood? How can we uncover histories 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 site of the Porter Square MBTA Station. In my role as an education fellow in the Office of Community Engagement at Lesley University’s College of Art and Design, I have 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 gather and highlight contemporary social history about the Porter Square neighborhood, including stories from those using the area. The project begins with the history of the Porter family and its cattle business, which helped define the development of the square into its present-day function as a transportation and commerce hub. Through the use of miniature ceramic sculptures I’ve made of grocery-store-packaged porterhouse steaks, history is altered to fit in the palm of your hand. These “mini meats” serve as bartering tokens for participants in exchange for stories and conversation.

A brief questionnaire will provide conversation starters about Porter Square’s public spaces, their function and 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 Office of Community Engagement.

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 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Porter Square MBTA station’s outdoor courtyard, next to Commonwealth Lock, 1853 Massachusetts Ave. (There’s a rain date from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.) All are welcome.


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