Ekua Holmes, Celebrating the Roots and Radiance of Roxbury

Roxbury, MA — Selected for the first Now + There Public Art Accelerator cohort, Roxbury native, artist, and Assistant Director of MassArt’s Center for Art and Community Partnerships Ekua Holmes was awarded a grant to implement The Roxbury Sunflower Project. As her first Public Art initiative, the project will bring nature, beauty, and color to Roxbury through a community-wide sunflower planting—up to 1000 new sunflowers will grow in Roxbury.

Holmes also plans to create six new works of art to display at the Freedom House located at Crawford and Warren Streets in October that reflect the themes of the project.


Ekua Holmes, Assistant Director of MassArt’s Center for Art and Community Partnerships

“The Sunflower project will be a collective community action. The plantings will take place on public and private property made available by families, organizations, and agencies that have signed up to participate.”

The project launch will commence on Saturday, June 2nd from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Grove Hall Branch of the Boston Public Library.  The first 20 people (families or organizations) to sign up will receive a special gift so come early.

At the event, participants will receive up to 100 sunflower seeds to plant in the neighborhood. Holmes expressed that her mission is to “position the sunflower as an emblem, a symbolic representation of modern Roxbury’s radiance, its people’s resilience, and the deep roots of its history.”

Throughout the summer Holmes will document and share through social media the progress of this community-wide Sunflower garden. Holmes encourages community members to do the same using the hashtag #RoxburySunflowerProject.

Once the flowers are mature in the fall, there will be a community harvest and celebration at Grove Hall.

“My love for Roxbury is deeply rooted in my childhood here. Nurtured by a generation of men and women who opened doors for me, it is now my great pleasure to attempt to emulate her generosity, creativity and collective strength through this project.”

Reserve your seeds and join the project’s e-list at: www.roxburysunflower@gmail.com.

The Roxbury Sunflower Project is sponsored and supported by:

The Now + There Public Art Accelerator

Grove Hall Trust

The Grove Hall Public Library

Freedom House

SAAK Realty, Sharif Abdal-Khallaq

United Neighbors of Lower Roxbury Community Gardens

Urban Farming Institute