DeVita’s ’People of Chelsea Project ‘ Opens at Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center

Special to the Record

Not only is September National Hispanic Month but it seems to be CHELSEA month too. Chelsea’s award winning Photographers Darlene DeVita of the People of Chelsea Project and former Chelsea Record photographer Arnie Jarmak both have shows this month! Darlene says that they often joke that she’s the new Arnie, 40 years later, “our work is much different but the love for our city is the same!”

Mark Feeney, arts writer for the Boston Globe also saw this in DeVita’s work. “That love very much comes through in the “People of Chelsea Project.” So does the exclamation mark. DeVita took the photographs, all black and white, between 2016 and 2022, with most of them coming after 2020. They’re 17 inches square. Thin white mattes and thin black frames ensure that the emphasis is on the images — or, rather, the people in them.”

Well over 100 people attended the reception, including many Chelsea residents who came over the bridge to the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center for the reception and a panel discussion about the perspective the photographs lend to the City of Chelsea. The panel was moderated by photographer and multilingual project collaborator, Sarah Putnam.  The panelists included: Norieliz DeJesus (Chelsea City Council/Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board), Emily Menjivar (Chelsea High Student), Kyle Brown (Artist), Careliz Figueroa (Chelsea High School student, a youth activist, and the Junior Ambassador for the Chelsea Black Community). Her grandmother Celeste Williams attended the opening and a portrait of her was one of the photographs included in the exhibit.

DeVita received a Heritage grant from the Chelsea Cultural Council to partner with the Friends of the Chelsea Public Library to archive the photographs and audio. There will be a celebration and panel discussion of the project at the Chelsea Public Library in October. 

The show closes tomorrow, September 23rd. Darlene will be in the Gallery from 12-4P. Arnie Jarmak’s opening reception is October 2, at the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College. 

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