Dan Borelli

Illuminating Futures

In the center of Ashland, Massachusetts sits the Nyanza Superfund Site, one of the first ten sites of the EPA’s Superfund Program, launched in 1982. Nyanza was a chemically based dye company, one of the first colorant plants in the United States. Throughout its history Nyanza has been a source of public health concerns and in 2006 the Massachusetts Department of Public Health verified that Nyanza caused an elevated risk of cancer to the Ashland residents. This history is the overall context of this art project, which asks the following questions: What is going on with the remediation today? How is public knowledge disseminated? And, how does a community regenerate while acknowledging its past?

This project activates a spatial network between three locations: the Public Library, the streetlights, and a garden. The network of these nodes highlights a unique experience into the subject of Illuminating Futures. For instance, the Public Library is the center of the informational dissemination of the EPA’s findings on site remediation, the streetlight intervention will serve in situ, as an accurate dispersion of the remediation findings, while this garden featured will provide a healing site of remembrance and resilience.

About The Designer

Dan Borelli is the Director of Exhibitions at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD), a position he has held since 2000. In this role, he manages well over 100 projects at various scales featuring global leaders in the fields of architecture, art, landscape, and urban planning and design. Dan holds an M.Des degree from the GSD, with a concentration in art, design, and the public domain and a B.F.A. in printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design. In 2010, as part of his master’s degree studies, he started an art-based research inquiry into the Nyanza Superfund Site in Ashland, Massachusetts and the subsequent social histories. This project has received grants from the Harvard Initiative in Learning Technology Grant, ArtPlace America, and the NEA Our Town program.