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 in Boston, MA, USA. 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 traffic 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. This memorial was painted with his permission.

Melissa Q. Teng (she/they) is a Chinese American social practice artist and writer living in the Boston area.

She tries 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. They work across a variety of media and scales, always interested in how people come together to bend the world around them. She often uses participatory design, research, and storytelling methods.

She is 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.

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

Please feel free to reach out at, and here is her CV.

Winter 2022 updates -

- I’m redoing my (this) website — please check back in the spring!

- 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.

- This spring, I’ll be completing my masters thesis in urban planning, reflecting on our team’s experiences doing a public art project around participatory narrative-building with street-based or unhoused, drug-using, and/or care-giving community members and activists.

- 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.