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Hanging in Boston’s City Hall, a Brookline artist’s work makes a statement about sustainability

"There Is No 'Away,'" an art piece by Adrienne Shishko and Suzanne Moseley, hangs in Boston City Hall. Photo by Matthew Eadie
February 20, 2024

Walk into Boston City Hall and look up. Suspended above the ground in the cavernous concrete building hangs an art installation, woven from colorful synthetic materials leftover from a convention center trade show. The installation curves in the air, hanging above employees and visitors at City Hall as they sip coffee.

It’s the art of Adrienne Shishko and Suzanne Moseley, two local artists who crafted a piece of art that is both easy on the eyes and a message to the mind, rooted in environmental activism. Their 15-foot by 7-foot creation has been hanging in City Hall since January, and will be there until April.

Shishko, 61 and originally from Florida, found herself settled in Brookline after college and law school. After working in various sectors of sustainability, she realized that she had an affinity for art, and especially art that can be created with sustainable materials.

“I didn’t like selling people extra things,” Shishko said. “I found myself quite preoccupied with our throw-away culture.”

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That sentiment is reflected with the name of the installation in Boston’s City Hall: “There Is No ‘Away.’

Moseley, 62, who lives in the South End, took art classes for years, but committed more to art when she became an empty nester and stopped her consulting work in the restaurant industry. Not long after, she joined an art studio and began experimenting with various unconventional art forms like screen-printing and experimental photography.

Shishko and Moseley are primarily independent artists but started collaborating in May 2022. Since then, they’ve collaborated on 20 projects and go by MOSH Studio when working together.

Suzanne Moseley, left, and Adrienne Shishko. Photo by Will Howcroft

Working together expands their abilities, and it also connects to the message of their work, the pair says.

“Collaboration is the only way we’re going to get to [climate solutions],” Shishko said.

How the piece came together

In January 2023, Shishko and Moseley were recommended to the curator of exhibitions for the City of Boston, John Crowley, who initially began working with the artists on the exhibition. Crowley retired in June 2023, and his position was filled by Jamaal Eversley, another local artist of 10 years who had an art show of his own in City Hall in 2020.

By October, Shishko and Moseley had begun working on the piece. Shishko collected stretchy synthetic fabric material which had been used as temporary walls for a trade show at the Boston Convention Center, and was set to be thrown away. They created 12 smaller pieces that were then combined into seven sections, and ultimately woven into the single large piece that’s now hanging in Boston City Hall.

Another angle of “There Is No ‘Away'” by Adrienne Shishko and Suzanne Moseley. Photo by Matthew Eadie

The pair are also planning to have another piece of art on display in Brookline’s outdoor art exhibit Studios Without Walls, located in Riverway Park, this spring,

“There is a process of discovery and experimentation,” Shishko said, adding that they rarely go into an art project knowing what it will ultimately look like. Instead, they begin with “lots of smaller messages” they hope to send with the installation — messages of a second chance for the materials, beauty and information.

“We want the art to have an ‘ah ha’ moment,” Moseley said, hoping that people appreciate the beauty of the art itself while also recognizing the deeper message it was created with the intent to send.

For Eversley, who is tasked with curating art throughout City Hall, his work is about finding art and artists that amplify voices and raise awareness for a cause.

“Art is supposed to bring awareness to community causes, social causes, all types of causes,” Eversley said. “And I feel City Hall is a fantastic venue and opportunity to say, ‘you know what, we’re recognizing [local artists].’”

Raising awareness is exactly what Shishko and Moseley said they sought to do with their installation.

Its size, Shishko said, is a “metaphor for the magnitude of the problem.”

“It’s all about who we are as people,” she said. “Personally in Brookline and Boston [but also as] the United States.”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the material used in the display was made out of curtains from a trade show. In fact, it was temporary walls from a trade show display.