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Cecilia (Ceci) Méndez-Ortiz selected as Kennedy Center Next 50 awardee

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  • Center for Art and Community Partnerships

Boston, MA – Tuesday, January 25 – Cecilia (Ceci) Méndez-Ortiz, Executive Director of Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Center for Art and Community Partnerships and Co-director of the Radical Imagination for Racial Justice regranting program, was named one of the Kennedy Center’s Next 50, a group of trailblazing leaders, artists, and culture makers whom the Center believes will lead the country into its next 50 years. Next 50 is a new initiative by the Kennedy Center in its 50th anniversary year, to invest in the future of the arts and its impact on social change through the nation’s cultural leaders. Over the course of the anniversary season, the Next 50 awardees will participate in programs, forums, residencies and events. The Kennedy Center’s Social Impact program used a public crowdsourcing campaign to select the diverse group of leaders.

“I’m deeply honored to be a part of the Kennedy Next 50 constellation of culture makers and creatives,” said Ceci Méndez-Ortiz. “It’s such an incredible group of humans imagining, making, sharing, disrupting, and forging ways toward beautiful presents and futures. I look forward to meeting other honorees and collaborating with the Kennedy Center in this momentous 50th anniversary year!”

“I am grateful to the Kennedy Center’s Social Impact program for establishing this new initiative in its 50th anniversary year and for recognizing Ceci Méndez-Ortiz’s work to expand access to creative experiences throughout Greater Boston’s neighborhoods,” said Mary K. Grant, MassArt President. “There is no one more deserving of this prestigious national recognition than Ceci, for her decades of work to bring about social change through the arts.”

About Cecilia (Ceci) Méndez-Ortiz

Cecilia (Ceci) Méndez-Ortiz (she/her) is a Latin@ artist and educator whose creative voice and community building practices advance cultures of belonging, justice, and joy. Ceci is the Executive Director of the Center for Art and Community Partnerships (CACP) at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where she collaborates with a team to partner with people and communities within and beyond MassArt to radically expand access to transformative creative experiences. She is also Co-director of the Radical Imagination for Racial Justice regranting program in Boston, designed to support BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists in imagining and creating justice in collaboration with their community/ies.

Ceci leads with love and makes possible learning, growing, and working cultures that supports everyone to be their best selves in building relationships, activating networks, experimenting through programs, and nurturing the transformative power of reciprocal, respectful collaborations. Throughout her career she has worked in myriad roles – museum educator, curator, instructor, artist, board member – igniting art and design as the core element of innovative partnerships.

Ceci received a BA with Honors in Art from Brown University, and an MFA from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design. Living at the heart of where art, education, and community connect, her installations, prints, drawings, and bilingual animations (Spanish/English) have been exhibited and screened in Mexico, Japan, and across the U.S.

About MassArt

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) is a public, independent institution that prepares artists, designers, and educators to shape communities, economies, and cultures for the common good. Since 1873, MassArt has built a legacy of leadership as the first freestanding public college of art and design in the country, and the nation’s first art school to grant a degree. MassArt offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in art, design, and art education, taught by world-class faculty.

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