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June 25, 2022
Artisan’s Asylum announces new executive director, to open new space in Allston-Brighton
Antonio Viva3
Antonio Viva, the new executive director of Artisan’s Asylum.

June 9, 2022The board of directors of Artisan’s Asylum, one of the oldest and largest makerspaces in the country that is devoted to the teaching, learning, and practice of fabrication, announced that educator and artist Antonio Viva will serve as the organization’s new executive director.

Viva, who joins the organization after heading the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, will take the lead at Artisan’s Asylum soon after the nonprofit community makerspace opens the doors to its new, larger space — 52,000 square feet — in Allston-Brighton this summer. The Asylum’s move from Somerville will contribute significantly to the rapidly growing arts and culture scene that is transforming and invigorating the Allston-Brighton area of Boston.

“As our new executive director, Antonio brings his experience working in education, technology, and global nonprofits at all levels combined with his unwavering commitment to building community, diversity, creativity, and innovation,” said Ariel Matisse, president of Artisan’s Asylum.

Viva added: “As an artist and educator, I understand how important the Artisan’s Asylum is to the creative people we need in society, our communities, and the cultural and economic vibrancy of the Greater Boston region. I look forward to growing the Artisan’s Asylum’s impact on the creative community and taking action on our commitment to justice, equity, and inclusion by creating a space free from institutional bias and welcoming to all artists and creators.”

An educator, researcher, artist, and executive coach, Viva was most recently the head of school at the prestigious Walnut Hill School for the Arts, an independent 9-12 boarding school for the arts in Natick. During his tenure at the school, Viva transformed programs, expanded artistic facilities, and led the creation of the school’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Viva cultivated partnerships with arts organizations throughout New England and led the largest growth in alumni and donor engagement, with annual giving exceeding $1.5 million. With a background in theater, photography, writing, and design, his creative pursuits include storytelling, photography, and exploring the concept of liminal spaces.

A lifelong diversity practitioner, Viva’s commitment to the work of diversity, inclusion, and justice date back to his days as a public school arts educator and continues today in his groundbreaking anti-racism work. Viva earned his undergraduate degree in English and Theater and his graduate degree in Education from Union College. He has served on the boards of the Association of Independent Schools in New England and the Association of Boarding Schools and currently serves on the boards of the Glasgow Group, Leadership + Design, and the Center for Arts in Natick.

Originally located in Somerville, Artisan’s Asylum will be officially opening its new 52,000 square-foot space in Allston-Brighton in September. Located at 96 Holton Street, the new Artisan’s Asylum makerspace is a major addition to the vibrant and rapidly growing independent arts scene in Allston-Brighton and is situated nearby other creative spaces such as Zone 3 Western Avenue Corridor, Harvard’s ArtLab and Ceramics Studio, and the film production company Red Sky Studios. The Artisan’s Asylum presence will grow even further when it grows into additional space at the neighboring 176 Lincoln Street development project proposed by Berkeley Investments, which is currently under review.

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