Fenway Alliance New Initiative

Since 2001, when the Fenway Alliance founded and established the first Opening Our Doors Festival in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, Black Artists have given generously of their talent, their art, and their creativity — challenging our thinking and transforming our public and private events. In recognition of these contributions and the contributions of works by Black Artists across our entire City, the Fenway Alliance, beginning this week, will expand the focus of our email newsletter and social media presence to feature Black Artists more prominently and consistently alongside news and updates from our member institutions and community partners. This effort is one small step we make in support of a broader citywide effort to create greater justice and equity in Boston’s arts community and the City at large.

Kelly Brilliant, Genevieve Day, Sarah Rathje

THE FENWAY ALLIANCE

COOKIE GAMBLE: A Star in Our Midst

Cookie Gamble, raised in Dorchester and also known as The Prophetic Lyricist, is an artist, vocalist, songwriter, poet, Educational and Creative Director, youth advocate, empowerment coach, and orator. As a songwriter, Cookie contributed to the soundtrack of The Seat Filler, for which she co-wrote two songs, “Follow Your Destiny” and “I Need A Love,” performed by Kelly Rowland in the movie.

As a singer, Cookie has toured with both Jessica Simpson and BabyFace and has appeared on The Ellen Show with Christina Aguilera, in guest appearances on BET, CBS and, FOX, and in the 2006 film DreamGirls. Cookie’s vocals can be heard on Christina Aguilera’s #1 album Back To Basics , on Patti Labelle’s Classic Moments, and featured on Micheal Bublé’s “That’s Life” under the direction of David Foster and Mervyn Warren. Cookie also studied acting under the great Ivana Chubbuck in California.

Building Community and Engaging Young People
After years of professional success, Cookie returned home to Boston to focus her efforts on her primary mission: “to utilize the gifts, skills, talents, knowledge and abilities that God has blessed her with to inspire the youth, strengthen communities and share the Gospel of Salvation.” Cookie’s passion for building and uplifting community in Boston, especially through engaging the city’s youth, led her to her current role as the Teen Director at the YMCA of Greater Boston, a Fenway Alliance member institution located on The Avenue of the Arts (Huntington Avenue). In this role, Cookie helps to develop and facilitate programs that support teens with building healthy relationships, creative expression, life skills, civic engagement, social justice work, and career readiness.

Cookie has a long history of invaluable contributions to the work of The Fenway Alliance. In 2015 for the Alliance’s first NEA-funded intergenerational creators initiative, teens from Cookie’s YMCA programs traveled to the Susan Bailis Assisted Living Community for artistic projects. After seeing first-hand the bright, curious, and respectful attitudes of the teens under Cookie’s direction, the Alliance collaborated with the YMCA youth programs on various projects. In celebration of the completion of Phase 1 of MMOC’s Muddy River Restoration Project in 2018, Cookie collaborated with our team to set up a day-long tour of the Muddy River and a cupcake-making project for YMCA youth program participants. In 2019, Cookie, along with youth poets and singers she enlisted, performed at Opening Our Doors on the Huntington Theatre Stage. “I love Cookie’s spirit, talent, can-do attitude, and grace in mentoring young people,” says Fenway Alliance Executive Director Kelly Brilliant.

In addition to her YMCA role, Cookie maintains her work across multiple industries, many of which also help engage Boston’s youth with creative expression. Since 2017, she has occupied one of the judges’ seats for the Poetry Out Loud competition and has also acted as a judge for the Louder Than A Bomb Poetry Competition. In her roles as an empowerment speaker and poet, Cookie has shared the stage with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Mayor Thomas Menino, Mayor Marty Walsh, and Bishop William Dickerson, Pastor of Greater Love Tabernacle Church in Dorchester. At The Greater Love Tabernacle, Cookie has participated in and helped to facilitate various youth and community programs. You can follow future programming on their Facebook page or on their website.

What’s Next? In addition to her YMCA role, Cookie maintains her work across multiple industries, many of which also help engage Boston’s youth with creative expression. Since 2017, she has occupied one of the judges’ seats for the Poetry Out Loud competition and has also acted as a judge for the Louder Than A Bomb Poetry Competition. In her roles as an empowerment speaker and poet, Cookie has shared the stage with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Mayor Thomas Menino, Mayor Marty Walsh, and Bishop William Dickerson, Pastor of Greater Love Tabernacle Church in Dorchester. At The Greater Love Tabernacle, Cookie has participated in and helped to facilitate various youth and community programs. You can follow future programming on their Facebook page or on their website.

Cookie Gamble performing at Opening Our Doors 2019 at the Huntington Theatre