What is Violence Transformed?

Violence Transformed is an annual series of visual and performing arts events that celebrate the power of art, artists and art-making to confront, challenge and mediate violence. Violence Transformed events include visual arts exhibits and music, dance and theatrical performances hosted by multiple venues in Boston and beyond. Since 2015, Violence Transformed events have also included artist-led workshops for health care providers and provider-led, trauma-informed workshops for artists and activists working with individuals, families and communities impacted by violence and the risk of violence.

Based primarily in the central and surrounding neighborhoods of Greater Boston, and drawing upon the creative energies of artists throughout New England, Violence Transformed documents the ways in which our diverse communities harness art’s potential to effect social change and materially transform our environments. Violence Transformed represents a vibrant collaboration among artists, activists, museum professionals, academics, and community service providers from diverse segments of the greater Boston area. Our work is made possible by the tremendous volunteer energy and creative gifts of our participants, by grant-funding for many of our workshop initiatives and, primarily, by donations from those who support our mission.

Click here for information about our collaborators and sponsors.

Click here to donate to Violence Transformed.

Our Mission

The aims of Violence Transformed are to broaden and diversify the audience for socially engaged artistic practice, to amplify the voices of creative individuals and organizations at work in our community, and to foster creative, socially conscious and trauma-informed action to address, prevent and overcome violence and the risk of its occurrence in our homes, in our communities and at regional, national and international levels.

Our Beginnings

Violence Transformed began in November 2006 as  a community initiative of the Victims of Violence Program of the Cambridge Health Alliance with an eye towards drawing attention to the social potency and transformative possibilities of art, artists and art making. Initially, the aim was to host a one-time art exhibit in concert with the Annual Victim Rights Conference of the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance. This vision quickly morphed into a much bigger idea; actualized in April 2007 as a multi-media visual arts exhibit and performing arts opening at the Massachusetts Statehouse. The exhibit was co-curated by members of diverse arts, education and community service organizations and highlighted by an unforgettable evening of live performances. More than 3,000 children, families, students, legislators and their constituents visited the exhibit and/or attended the opening.

Continuity and Expansion

Each year since 2007, Violence Transformed has expanded beyond the Statehouse to include exhibitions of visual and performing arts in a variety of other venues offering opportunities for a wide range of visual and performing artists at different stages in their careers to create new works and present existing pieces to diverse audiences. In 2015 and 2016 Presidential Humanism in Medicine Awards from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation enabled us to add to our portfolio a series of artist-led workshops for health and mental health care practitioners and victim advocates. And, in 2016, with Victim Service Training Funds awarded us by the Massachusetts Board of Victim Assistance and the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance (MOVA), we were able to offer trauma-informed art and mindfulness workshops to community-based artists and activists working with at-risk individuals, families and communities. This work continued in 2017-2018 with a new series of MOVA-funded Victim Services Training workshops.

In 2017, PHAI and Violence Transformed partnered with NuLawLab at Northeastern University School of Law and its other organizational partners (i.e. the City of Boston Office of Housing Stability and the Domestic Violence Institute of Northeastern University School of Law) on the Stable Ground (SG) Initiative funded by The Kresge Foundation to bring the trauma-informed creative endeavors of SG Artists in Residence and the legal empowerment strategies of SG legal interns and NuLawLab faculty to bear on the traumatic antecedents and consequences of housing insecurity in Boston’s Dorchester and surrounding communities.

And, most recently, Violence Transformed has been awarded a minimum two year federal Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) award for its newly designed Transformative Action Project (TAP), enabling us to bring an array of  trauma-informed interventions blending mindful practice, creative engagement and legal empowerment to crime-victimized individuals, families and communities throughout Massachusetts. Click here for reflections on TAP's first year by Mary Harvey, Ph.D., Director/Founder of Violence Transformed.

Click here to learn more about Violence Transformed's Funding and Operational Partners.

Social Engagement in Action

The promotional images shown here reflect the diverse range of programs and events sponsored by Violence Transformed. To learn more about all of these activities, stay informed by scrolling the pages of this website. Click our homepage for up-to-date news about Violence Transformed.

To support the work we do, please DONATE to Violence Transformed!