Ekua Holmes is a painter and collage artist who uses vibrant color and skillful composition to infuse her work with energy. Her layered, abstract creations convey a sense of unity and evoke memories that are both personal and universal. Her body of work includes paintings, drawings and mixed media collage, which has become her signature medium. Ekua is also founder and curator for “Epiphany: Excerpts from the Lives of Black Women Artists”, an annual group exhibition. Most recently her works have been added to the collections of the Boston Medical Center, The Boston Arts Academy and the Boston Children’s Hospital. Since 2003, she has opened her studio workspace in Boston’s historic Piano Factory building during Roxbury Open Studios and South End Open Studios. Ekua is a native of Roxbury and a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She is an enthusiastic guide for the art walks and for the Black history trolley tour.
Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Tom Plant moved to Boston for graduate school and has lived here since 1974. He became fascinated by Roxbury’s history after joining First Church in Roxbury and the Roxbury Highlands Historical Society. He found that Roxbury’s great history was not being championed by anyone and was, sadly, lost after annexation to Boston in 1868. As such, he has been active in historic preservation for more than 25 years.
Tom was formerly a South End Landsmarks District Commissioner of the Boston Landsmarks Commission, and is currently on the Executive Board of the Shirley-Eustis House Association, President of Roxbury Highlands Historical Society, President Unitarian Universalist Congregation at First Church in Roxbury, and member of the Roxbury Collaborative for Patriots' Day Celebration. He is also a board member of Discover Roxbury and, as his name might suggest, is Discover Roxbury’s guide during the annual Roxbury in Bloom garden tour.
State Representative Byron Rushing
Byron Rushing was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1982. He came to the House with a work background of community organizing and of Afro-American history. In the legislature, Byron's priorities are human and civil rights, and the development of democracy; local human, economic and housing development; and housing and health care for all.
From 1972 to 1985, he was President of the Museum of Afro-American History. Under his direction, the Museum of Afro-American History purchased and began the restoration of the African Meeting House, the oldest extant black church building in the United States. In 1979, Byron oversaw the lobbying effort in Congress to establish the Boston African American National Historical Site, a component of the National Park Service. He led the Museum in the study of the history of Roxbury, including the archaeological investigation of the Southwest Corridor for the MBTA. Byron stays involved in this work: as a legislator he sponsored the creation of Roxbury Heritage State Park and serves on its Advisory Committee.
Throughout his time in Boston, Byron has worked for and with community-based organizations, to achieve greater political participation and resist neighborhood debilitation. He serves in his office with an understanding of the history of poor and working class people and with a belief in democratic citizen control.