Jessica Furtado Inaugurates Revised Artist-in-Residence Program at The Switchboard

(Courtesy photograph.)

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The Switchboard in Haverhill is launching its revised Artist-in-Residence program, adjusting it to meet the safety and health of the community while providing a supportive residency experience.

Artists will move into the studio at The Switchboard, 43 Washington St., for four weeks at a time  to create artwork, teach classes, sell products and interact with the public during weekly Saturday open studio hours. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, all events and sales will take place online until further notice.

In the inaugural, Jessica Furtado will be creating portraits for her project titled, “Firsthand: A Portrait Project to Close the Distance,” while at The Switchboard. “When I began planning my residency with The Switchboard… my goal was to develop a community portrait project that would bring people together, while also highlighting the distinct traits that set each of us apart,” says Furtado. Now, the artist will be faced with the challenge of creating her work while adhering to strict social distancing requirements—a fact that will lend itself to unique, timely imagery.

Furtado is seeking help from the community. Participants will be required to wear masks and adhere to state-mandated social distancing guidelines while at The Switchboard. They will be given the choice to be photographed individually inside of The Switchboard, outside along the sidewalk, through the window with zero-contact, and are invited to bring an object (inside of a plastic bag that only the participant will handle) that has been important during this time of isolation. Furtado says, “For an avid cook, this may be a favorite utensil; for an artist, this may be a tool or instrument; for a child, this may be a beloved toy.” To review guidelines and make an appointment, email Jess at [email protected].

An exhibition and opening reception of Furtado’s completed portraits will be on display virtually upon completion, and at The Switchboard at a later date. Visit to learn more about participating, virtual gallery hours and weekly brunch chats on Zoom where participants may interact with the artist directly. More of Furtado’s work can be seen at

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