Welcome...

A Greater Boston native, I'm a professional dancer and award-winning interdisciplinary artist with talents in choreography, filmmaking, art, and graphic design. I'm co-founder and artistic director of Luminarium Dance Company (Boston, MA), art director of Art New England magazine, senior contributor for The Arts Fuse, and am the Boston area dance critic for the international Fjord Review. I recently completed a one-year term as co-chair of the Arlington Cultural Council, and am regularly hired as an arts advocate to speak at events ranging from legislative assemblies at the State House to entrepreneurial panels for students at Mount Holyoke College. This blog serves as a behind-the-scenes peek into the life and journal of an interdisciplinary artist. Learn more at merliguerra.com or luminariumdance.org, and thank you for reading my thoughts on setting the visual and performing arts into motion.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Amherst Storybook Project: The Last Digital Sketches

After a week's vacation, it was time to dive back into Lumi Land. First up: Finishing the last four digital sketches for our Amherst Storybook Project. Soon we'll take the exciting step of creating all twelve fanciful images in real life during our pending August photoshoot. Intriguingly, all four of these final works have a bright airiness to them... Perhaps my week in the sun has inspired me!

Digital sketch of Joshua's artwork,
from Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School.

Digital sketch of Julia Griffin's artwork.
Age 29.

Digital sketch of Kalyani Kastor's artwork. Age 17.

Digital sketch of Piper Nyala's artwork. Age 2.

On August 8th, all twelve images will be photographed in real life from an overhead catwalk. Stay tuned for the final images, including documentary photos revealing the process behind the scenes!



Luminarium's Amherst Storybook Project is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst Cultural Council.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Amherst Storybook Project: Digital Sketches, Batch 2 of 3

As I continue working on the Amherst Storybook Project, it's daunting to catalog the number of hours I've spent researching and scouring the web for just the right images to bring my digital sketches to life! And from there, each piece of artwork begins with 5+ variations on directions I can take it. Yet at some point along the way, it all boils down to one perfectly balanced image for each. (If only I could hurry up the process!)

Here are four more of the artworks I've chosen to reimagine for the project. I cannot wait to begin casting our dancers inside these colorful, fanciful landscapes!

1) Are the dancers bursting from the dots? Or the dots bursting from the dancers?

Digital sketch of Sunali Rae Driver's artwork. Age 2, going on 3.

2) As soon as this one fell into place, all I could think was "Honey Hands." Perhaps this will be its new title moving forward...

Digital sketch of Emilia K. Mann's artwork. Age 17.

3) Marit's work is so creative and clever to begin with, that it's caused a lot of indecision on my end. Should the fish be gasping at a mystical mermaid casually swimming by? Or having stumbled into a school of divers?

Digital sketch of Marit Gubrium's artwork. Age 7.

Digital sketch of Marit Gubrium's artwork. Age 7.

4) I can't pinpoint the exact cause, but for some reason this image reminds me so much of one of my favorite books: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Maybe it's the strange way the dancers are locomoting through the woods, or that the environment itself is surreal and jungly. Whatever it is, this image feels delightfully explorative to me.

Digital sketch of Tsukiko Tome Bhowmik's artwork.
The artist is now 7, though this work was created earlier in her childhood.

Stay tuned for more sketches throughout July, then the final photographs from overhead will debut in August!


Luminarium's Amherst Storybook Project is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst Cultural Council.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Amherst Storybook Project: First Digital Sketches

As we move forward onto the next stage of the Amherst Storybook Project, here are a few "digital sketches" of four of the submitted artworks I've chosen to reinterpret through video projection and dance. We've received some truly beautiful, colorful, and creative works over the past few months, and as I lay out these digital sketches, I'm thrilled to watch our upcoming August photoshoot becoming more and more clear...

Digital sketch of Maya G.'s artwork. Age 2.

Digital sketch of Hayden Rodrigues' artwork. Age 7.

Digital sketch of Johanna R. Guiod's artwork. Age 12.
Submitted from Karen Gaudette's 6th grade art class, Greenfield Middle School. 

Digital sketch of Libby Smith's artwork. Age 5.

Stay tuned for more sketches throughout July, then the final photographs from overhead will debut in August!


Luminarium's Amherst Storybook Project is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst Cultural Council.