Soul Stew: An Installation at The Nook


To ask questions, book tickets to programming /ongoing gallery hours or to purchase art please reach out to Elmer via the
contact  button on this page.

What is Soul Stew?

Soul Stew is a multidisciplinary art installation curated in response to a year of creative repression. Born from the desire to reclaim suppressed creative ideas, space, time and community- this group art show is dedicated to inviting its contributors to express themselves outdoors over a summer-long period of tending to and exchanging in the Secret Garden at The Nook. Who are we not to take the power of creation into our own hands? Into our own homes-in a time of acknowledgment, healing and transition.

How it all Started~

I get to write this on a rainy Friday morning...when a bowl of stew wouldn't hurt a bit. These past few months I, along with very dear friends of mine have been developing a vision. The seed of which started to germinate in the hollow spaces left after a year of Covid, political revolution and a "presidential" election. Soul Stew is about healing. Watering the seeds of what we can envision post 2020.


When I started this project, it had a lot to do with where I was in my home and where I was in my life. Standing on my rooftop that day I was looking for a vision- a cosmic roadmap. Not really knowing what to do next after the pandemic brought me back to Boston from Lowell. I was living with my family at the time that my grandmother caught Covid. Her transition led to mine in that I ended up needing to move to a new apartment- in a corner bedroom which I named the Nook. I stood there looking around wondering how I had ended up in Manhattan, been driven back to the safety of home due to the shutdown and how deeply the parts of my home had been shaken. The passing of my grandmother had thrown the pandemic into a different perspective. I eventually looked far enough in front of my own grief to see what I had literally been staring off into for 20 minutes. In my mind's eye the walls of my backyard were full with the lessons and values my family-especially Abuela had drilled into us. All of these boiled down to a vision. Take care of each other, we need each other-we have everything we need right here at home in our own backyard. Nothing is nothing and right there Soul Stew was born. The pandemic made me and so many people I love feel like the world was going to nothing but right then I made a decision that started a domino effect in my journey. I did what Abuela taught me and made something out of nothing with the people I care about.



How YOU can Get Involved

To ask questions, book tickets to programming /ongoing gallery hours or to purchase art please reach out to Elmer via the
contact  button on this page.

Soul Stew is Live July 1st- August 21st you can keep up with all the artists and installation process via our Social Media through the month of July as we construct our works for programming in August!

Address: 11 Stickney Ave Somerville, MA

Keep up with us daily on Instagram

Check us out on Facebook


Event Days (More Details to Come keep up on Social Media or reach out!)

7pm-11pm........Friday July 23rd Opening Reception

7pm-11pm........August 1st  Bon Fire, Dance Performance and more programming by Alex Ambila

7pm-11pm........August 7th Open Mic and more programming 

5pm-8pm ........August 15th Cooking Workshop and more programming  by Thorn Lim 

7pm-11pm........August 21st Closing Event  With Performances by Jasper Crystal Wizard and A trike Called Funk


Open Gallery Hours for booking

1pm - 6pm Monday- Thursday July 26th- August 12th

7pm-10pm Monday-Thursday August 16th-August 20th


All pricing observes a suggested sliding scale Donation/pay what you can policy:

Please make all payments via this GoFundMe campaign-


$15 Suggested Donation............. Per Event/workshop

$65 Suggested Donation.............Full Events Package (Save $10 for access to all events/workshops)

$10 Suggested Donation.............Gallery tours

$25 Suggested Donation.............Group package for 3 (save $5)

$85 Suggested Donation.............Gallery Summer Pass good for up to 10 visits per person doesn’t include events and workshops (saves $25)

$150 Suggested Donation.......... All inclusive pass good for up to 10 visits per person includes events/workshops exclusive private gallery access. (saves $25)


Please Note: Gallery tours must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. Offers are limited to spatial demands.


Our Artists!


Meet the Home Cooks! Soul Stew is proud to present our cohort of creatives as we prepare this table for the feast. Even more, we look forward to inviting you for a meal in our garden, under our tree, surrounded by stories hung on the wall- and to leave behind your own.






Elmer Martinez is the founder of Soul Stew and an interdisciplinary working theater Artist, Poet and Dancer. Born in Lowell, MA he developed in the spoken word and street dance communities before completing his BFA in Theater Studies focused in Lighting Design with a minor in Dance. Post grad Elmer went on to work between Boston and New York as a freelance lighting designer and technician in local theaters, off Broadway and at Universities. He now teaches dance and lighting as well as producing works and live events as a freelancer within the arts. Elmer now lives at "The Nook" -his creative space in Somerville Massachusetts.



Alex Ambila is a self-taught dancer who has been dancing for 14 years, beginning his debut in the Boston dance scene while in college. He is a popper and krumper with experience in and influence from other dance styles including (but not limited to), freestyle hip-hop, house, breaking, and urban African dances. He has been participating in freestyle competitions inside and outside of Boston since 2014, from small local jams to large scale events. Over the years, he has worked with members of Phunk Phenomenon and Project 2 Studios, and has played a role in several music videos for both locally and globally known musical artists. Alex has also participated in and assisted in planning several other events and projects with other dancers and artists from Boston’s artistic community. He is currently a member of BlackFlag (characterized as BLVCKFLXG) and Sad Boys Club (characterized as sd.bys.clb) – both Boston-based crews that focus on culture, creativity, and hard work. In his role as Artistic Director of The Flavor Continues, his goal is to merge his understanding of design, visual branding, and dance culture to help the non-profit express its values and its overall goal of uplifting and strengthening the community. Street dance culture is a very important part of his life, and he seeks to share his art and his philosophy of dance with others, while still remaining a student of his craft.


“Your natural ability to dance can be your strongest tool. Once you add structure and choose a foundation, you can adapt to any style, or create your own style. Labels aren’t always important. What is more important is being true to the music, and being true to yourself.”



Melissa Q. Teng is a socially motivated artist and designer whose multimedia works explore the interdependence of memory and imagination, often with communities recovering from captivity or violence. Currently she is working on a counter-memory documentary project called The Little Archive in Argentina with filmmakers Rodrigo Caprotti and Luisina Pozzo Ardizzi. She is a graduate student in the Data + Feminism Lab in the Dept. of Urban Studies + Planning at MIT.



Hi! My name is Thorn Lim and I'm a cook/chef from Lowell. I love learning about the history and food of all cuisines. I am a self taught cook and I was able to get a prep job at a restaurant 16 years ago that taught me the basics of cooking and helped me improve into a life of culinary growth. Outside of Cooking I have been a member of the Street Dance and Hip-Hop Choreography community in Massachusetts since 1999.Off the dance floor and when I’m not taking my friends on foodie adventures, my Favorite food comes from Japan. I am currently a cook at the Eggroll Café in Lowell, MA. Stop by if you're ever in the area!



IJ Chan (she/her/hers) is a dance artist and educator born, raised and now based in Boston. She has dedicated her life to training and performing intensively in multiple dance genres and under many choreographers. In her own choreographic work, IJ is interested in intersecting and exploring the Asian-American narrative. She is committed to bringing quality dance instruction to low-income and minority youth populations within Boston. She also works as a freelance graphic designer, visual artist and seamstress.



Hi my name is Xavier Robbins and I am an artist of many trades, I am a b-boy graphic designer, illustrator, actor and model and I love to write. My goal and my “Why” to what I do is to simply share the light that I have with others and uplift others through my gifting‘s. I believe in a biblical scripture



Jonathan Marius was born and raised in Boston, MA. Growing up in a Haitian American church, he started as a drummer when he was eight and grew to be one of the lead sound technicians. In 2012 his drive and passion brought him to Jubilee Christian Church, the largest nondenominational church in Massachusetts. Where he is currently the Lighting Designer and Technical Director. Graduating from Emerson College with a BFA in Theatre Design and Technology in 2020. He is tackling his newest endeavor at Audio Spectrum as their Lighting Designers & Technician.



Melody Hsu is an international student from Taiwan, but also now a proud Bostonian. From a BFA in Theatre Design and Technology to a MA in Civic Media Design—she spent the year 2020 transitioning from a designer for entertainment to a designer for the people. As a multidisciplinary creator, Melody is soulfully inspired by impressionism and modernism. Fascinated by the relationship between scientific research and the human experience, she looks forward to continuing to grow into the empathetic and impactful designer that she knows herself to be.



Jasper Crystal Wizard is a multi-disciplinary 1st generation Khmer artist. Combining storytelling with RnB Jazz vocals for a modern narrative. The Crystal Wizards mission is to inspire freedom to all people. Freedom of the mind, body and soul through the magic of arts!



Fredson Sossavi is a Boston based creative with an interest in photography, dance, and martial arts. His projects shed light on niche subcultures in urban areas and the stories of the people intertwined in them.



Victoria Awkwards is the founder and director of Roxbury-based VLA DANCE, a contemporary dance company focusing on creating pathways to Freedom for individuals of all identities.


Originally from Massachusetts Victoria trained at Impulse Dance by LuAnn Pagella and worked with Boston-based artists such as Karen Krolak. She graduated from Goucher College with a degree in Dance, Visual Art and Education. She is currently performing with Jenna Pollack and the Head Dance Coach and Middlesex School. Recently, Victoria was awarded the 2020 - 2021 Boston DanceMaker Residency with the Boston Center for the Arts and Boston Dance Alliance, the Art for Racial Justice Grant from Cambridge Arts, a part of the 2021 Mass MoCa Assets for Artists Program, and is a 2021 - 2022 LAB Grant recipient.


Mission: Soul Stew’s mission is to celebrate our collaborators' work despite a global pandemic. Giving our collaborators and guests a space to rejoice, process, work, learn, question, affirm and heal after seasons of universal adversity.



To perpetuate community healing and relations among the creative collaborators while serving as a sanctuary for individual artists to work against the negative social and psychological effects of being unemployed/underemployed, isolated and shut indoors during the Corona-Virus pandemic.

Mission: Soul Stew’s mission is to celebrate our collaborators' work despite a global pandemic. Giving ur collaborators and guests a space to rejoice, process, work, learn, question, affirm and heal after seasons of universal adversity.



Soul Stew will be able to raise awareness of the realities of being an artist during a pandemic while growing to inspire more individuals to take their creative and transformative powers into their own hands, neighborhoods and backyards. Our Vision is to acknowledge the past while constructing a new more inclusive future for the arts community. A space of healing through celebration of our communal transformative talents.



A dedication to representation with an emphasis on POC communities/voices

A dedication to Educating

A dedication to striving for an inclusive and safer environment

A dedication to address societal issues faced by POC creatives during a pandemic

A dedication to be a catalyst for spiritual, emotional and physical healing starting from the curation process through to the closing reception and beyond.

A dedication to honor the creeds of hip-hop culture and staying true to the fundamental values of peace, love- unity and having fun

A dedication to bolster and collaborate with local, national and international emissaries of art in a fashion that is financially lucrative and responsible to every party involved.

A dedication to holding ourselves accountable for our content, discourse and presentation.

A dedication to being unapologetic in using POC Joy as a form of political resistance in a society that is designed to eradicate hope in minority communities.

A dedication to address any and all hate with love.

Fundraising team (2)

Elmer Martinez
Raised $515 from 15 donations
Somerville, MA
Thorn Lim
Team member

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