Panel Discussion


About the Exhibition

French artist Anne Plaisance aims to spark dialogue and develop strategies to address homelessness and violence against women through the exhibition, Wonder Women: Anne Plaisance + Transition House. Her latest project is a socially engaged “tiny house" installation. Through her “Art’s Room” project, Plaisance organized weekly art workshops with residents at Transition House, a Cambridge nonprofit organization that supports survivors of domestic violence. The idea behind the project was to create an opportunity for the women to visualize and share aspirations for a safe and peaceful home. The creation of these tiny houses serves as a powerful metaphor for a meta goal: a safer world for women. The French Library is proud to host the tiny houses by the residents of Transition House as well as paintings by the artist Anne Plaisance.

About the Panel Discussion

The panel discussion will address how artistic creativity can empower women. Artist Anne Plaisance and Risa Mednick will explain the development of the Tiny Houses. They will discuss how this initiative was inspired by a desire for social justice, art that takes on social challenges and the significance of creative expression in self presentation and self preservation. This panel will be moderated by Harvard University Professor Doris Sommer.

About Anne Plaisance

Anne Plaisance is a French visual artist who works with a diverse array of media, including painting, installation, sculpture, collages, sketchbooks and video. The aesthetic of her artwork contrasts sharply with the brutality of the messages they convey. Through her work, she extracts fears and demons to express her rage against social injustices.

Her work has been featured in more than eighty exhibitions in Poland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Egypt and in the United States. Her works can be found in the Brooklyn Art Library in New York as well as in private collections in the United States, France, Great Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan and Poland, among others.

She received the LCC grant from the Cambridge Arts Council, funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the City of Cambridge for the Art’s Room project in addition to the Cambridge Arts Council’s Community Supported Art grant.

About the Panelists

Risa Mednick

Risa began her work with Transition house in 2008 as a board member. She was named Executive Director in 2012. She brings over 25 years of experience working for social justice in the nonprofit sector. She has experience in direct client service and counseling as well as organizational development, capacity building and strategic planning. An advocate for human rights and social change in local, national and international contexts, Risa is a noted leader in the Cambridge community where she serves on a variety of cross-sector commissions has been instrumental in creating the Cambridge Initiative on Domestic and Gender Based Violence as well as the Cambridge Nonprofit Coalition. She was named an Outstanding Woman of Cambridge by the YWCA in 2012, a Massachusetts Unsung Heroine by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women in 2014, and Community Advocate of 2016 by Eastern Bank.

Doris Sommer

Doris Sommer is Ira and Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of African and African American Studies. She also founded  "Cultural Agents," currently an NGO dedicated to reviving the civic mission of the Humanities. Her academic and outreach work promotes development through arts and humanities, specifically through “Pre-Texts” in Boston Public Schools, throughout Latin America and beyond. Pre-Texts is an arts-based training program for teachers of literacy, critical thinking, and citizenship. Among her books are Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America (1991) about novels that helped to consolidate new republics; Proceed with Caution when Engaged by Minority Literature (1999) on a rhetoric of particularism; Bilingual Aesthetics: A New Sentimental Education (2004); and The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities (2014).  Sommer has enjoyed and is dedicated to developing good public school education. She has a B.A. from New Jersey's Douglass College for Women, and Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

Gallery Hours

Monday, 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Tuesday through Thursday, 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday and Saturday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Left Image: Born to suffer Center Image: Born to be abused Right Image: Born to survive

Project Funding, Partners and Sponsors

Anne Plaisance is a recipient of a LCC grant from the Cambridge Arts Council, funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the City of Cambridge for The Art’s Room project.

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MCC cambridge art council
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This project is made possible in partnership with Transition House, Violence Transformed, Cambridge Art Association and Buy and Consign in Waltham, MA.

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This event is made possible thanks in part to Natixis Global Asset Management and--> the Mosaïque Cultural Fund. NATIXIS_RGB_GAM_10CM MosaiqueCharter1Web_Logo Rose-Noir ss Fund

Call for Artists


Our art exhibition program showcases local and international artists whose work has a connection with French and Francophone culture.

Whether you draw your inspiration from an artistic movement, a specific artist, a subject or a technique, you can submit your work for an opportunity to present your art to the public in our elegant brownstone's gallery in the heart of Back Bay, for month-long exhibitions from September through June.

Artists and projects are selected by a committee of art professionals, artists and art connoisseurs who meet twice a year. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

To submit your work please refer to the Call for Artists in which you will find a detailed description of requirements and conditions.

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