Artist Anna Thai weaves color and hope

Anna Thai, a Malden-based artist, learned to embroider from French Catholic nuns when she was eight years old. It was what was taught to children who were disabled at the private school she attended in her native Vietnam. Thai’s disability was caused by a land mine accident suffered during the civil war which played out in the backdrop of her years growing up. Who could know that the work of a true artist could blossom from such beginnings? Thai’s work is intricate, detailed, and exquisitely crafted. At first glance, her artwork looks like paintings. It’s only on close inspection that one realizes that the art is embroidery, layered threads of color woven onto canvas into beautiful flowers, birds, nature scenes, and, more recently, cityscapes and human figures. Thai is a prolific artist, having created many dozens of art pieces in her adopted American homeland; only recently she’s had the opportunity to bring her work into public view. Thai’s parents were wealthy entrepreneurs in pre-Communist Saigon. Her father’s family was both Chinese and East Indian and traded […]


“Inside Malden” interviews Interim Superintendent of Malden Public Schools, Dr. Charles Grandson IV

Driven by a desire to give back and to offer educational opportunities to young urban learners,  Dr. Charles Grandson IV, Interim Superintendent of the Malden Public Schools, reflects on his journey with education. He says his success is a “testament to what is happening every day in the public school systems across the nation.” In his case, though he had trouble and at one point could not read, his teachers did not dismiss him but did what they had to do to help him become what he is today. Though Grandson never imagined he would be a superintendent or principal, he says he has always had a bit of a teacher within. This inclination was nurtured by important learning encounters that would shape his future. His mother, a single parent, arranged for Grandson to be schooled away from the crime close to home. In a school district closer to Georgetown, Grandson experienced a “different” kind of education than he would have had in his own neighborhood on the South East side of Washington D.C. Throughout […]


For eyes and ears only

The cross section between visual art and music, for classical pianist Yelena Beriyeva, is in many ways second nature. “What is in common between [visual] artists and musicians is they all get to create,” Beriyeva said. In the spring of 2016, visual artists came together to attend a performance of classical composer Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” From the artists present at the workshop, and many more, over 40 inspired pieces of visual art were born. On Nov. 5, 2016 at Jenkins Auditorium at Malden High School, Beriyeva performed the renowned “Pictures at an Exhibition” to the backdrop of all the work created from the artists using the music as inspiration. The interesting part is Mussorgsky’s piece, Beriyeva said, was first inspired by visual art. With the passing of an artist friend, Mussorgsky wrote “Pictures at an Exhibition” through the careful study of his late friend’s artwork. “[Mussorgsky] basically dedicated this piece to a friend he lost to a sickness,” Beriyeva said. “We did it in the reverse. We tried to paint based on music.” […]


Who was Herbert L. Jackson?

Did you know that Malden’s city hall’s council chamber is named the Herbert L. Jackson Council Chambers? And did you know that a switchbox art project on Salem Street has been created to commemorate Herbert L. Jackson? Who was this favorite son of Malden? Herbert L. Jackson was the first African American ever elected to the Malden City Council. Councillor Jackson has the distinction of a 30 year career in public service. He was first elected as a councillor for Ward 7 from 1945 to 1947, and in Ward 5 from 1947 to 1951 and as a City Councillor-at-Large from 1965 to 1975.  He served as president of the Malden City Council four times during his political career. Furthermore, Jackson was the first African American elected as a State House Representative in the 20th century, serving from 1950 to 1954. The City of Malden achieved national prominence in the election of Herbert L. Jackson as a Massachusetts District Governor of Lions Club and again, he was the first African American elected to such a post in the […]


Herbert L. Jackson honored through art, community and volunteerism

When Martin Boyle the art teacher at the Mystic Valley Regional High School heard about the Malden Arts Switchbox Project contest to design a switch box commemorating Herbert L. Jackson, he knew the students from the Art Club would enjoy doing this public art project. A switchbox is a metal cabinet that is mounted on a concrete pad containing a controller which changes traffic signals. The students ultimately learned about Malden’s first African American councillor while working outside in the community on something that will be there for years to come. Councillor Barbara Murphy, Ward 5, had approached Naomi Brave, president of Malden Arts, with the idea and offered $500 to the winning proposal.  Malden Arts agreed to pay the standard stipend for painting a box, $150, and Councillor Murphy the remaining $350, according to Brave. After Malden Arts reviewed the applications they went to the Malden Cultural Council for final acceptance with recommendations from Malden Arts. “[Ward 7 Councillor] Neal Anderson is a friend of the family and connected me with Herbert L. Jackson’s daughter and […]