This flower jug was a memorial created in early summer 2022 by a prolific and good-humored Brazilian artist living on the streets near the Berklee College of Music. Whenever I passed his busy intersection, I often saw new flowers in different containers. The memorials were for his mother. Over the summer, he was always moving or being moved to a different corner of his intersection. In the fall, when Berklee welcomed new and returning students from around the world, he moved/was moved further into the Back Bay neighborhood. His memorial was painted with his permission.

Hello, my name is Melissa Q. Teng (she/they). I’m a Chinese American social practice artist and writer living in the Boston area.

I try to work slowly + intentionally with communities to explore questions around stigma and public imagination, archives and data, and the critique and design of public spaces. I work across a variety of media and scales, always interested in how people come together to bend the world around them. I often use participatory design, research, and storytelling methods.

I am honored to be a 2022-23 Artist-in-Residence at the City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture, doing a participatory action research project about co-creation within municipal government, alongside Karin Goodfellow, the Director of Public Art.

I am also a graduate student in the Dept. of Urban Studies + Planning at MIT and thrilled to work with the Data + Feminism Lab led by Prof. Catherine D’Ignazio.

Please feel free to reach me at, and here is my CV.

Winter 2022 updates -

- I’m finally redoing my website; please excuse this appearance.

- This year, I’ve been grateful beyond words to be part of a civic design + art + research collective called See You in the Future with my friends / teachers George Halfkenny, Sabrina Dorsainvil, and Steve Walter.

- We’re honored to have our work-in-progress highlighted in a special issue of the Boston Art Review, in collaboration with the Collective Futures Fund (CFF). This was extra special because I got to be interviewed by my friend Matthew Okazaki for it.

- Following the advice of a wise friend and mentor, Rashin Fahandej, I’ve been protecting my creative time and enjoying learning about video and audio production. I revisited an old video about my maternal grandparents to help me process and grieve. I shared it with my mom, and I’d love to share it with you.

- I am honored to design a collage for Catherine D’Ignazio’s new book, Counting Feminicide: Data Feminism in Action, which is available for public reading + comment through Dec 22, 2022.

- I finished a book (rare) called Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts. It’s a lovely reminder how stories—loud, quiet, shared, secret—can make a whole world out of just a few streets.