As a son of Roxbury and a former student of the Elma Lewis School, I always wanted to do something to pay homage to this Roxbury icon and matron of the arts, Ms. Elma Lewis. An area that was always near & dear to my heart was the Old Zoo – The abandoned bear cages in Franklin Park. This area has been abandoned since my youth, failing into further disrepair and becoming a part of the park that while serene & beautiful has been used as a spot for drinking and drug use making it unwelcoming to joggers, walkers, women and children.
I was fortunate enough to see a May 13th article in the Boston Globe written by Patrick Rosso about 3 young architects recently graduated from Northeastern University who had a visionary proposal for Dudley Sq. Recognizing their ingenuity, I reached out to the architects Chris Marciano, Ryan Matthew and Mark Munroe who were gracious enough to hear my vision to re-purpose the old bear dens into the Elma Lewis Amphitheatre.
Before we met I made a very informal video to explain my vision on the site.
The team of studioMAUD (Marciano, Matthew & Munroe) met with me at the old bear dens, agreed to take the project on and after returning several more times to survey, I was presented with a tangible plan within 45 days. I cannot express to you how blown away I was by the presentation and I am sure you will be as well. Please view our vision for the Elma Lewis Amphitheatre here.
Since then we have met with The Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, The Franklin Park Coalition and Suffolk Construction all of which expressed favorable reviews and support. Stay tuned as we plan for public community meetings to gain community support for this worthwhile and long overdue project in the honor of Elma Lewis.