Studio PAUSE is all about learning about our community through art and stories so whether it is my own work as an artist and writer, projects I do in the community, or projects Studio members and friends start because of their experiences at Studio PAUSE, I’ll post them here:


We PAUSED! Unbound is an exhibit hosted by Arlington Arts in response to our project, We PAUSED! A Handmade Book by Studio PAUSE for Gates of Ballston, which chronicles a year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The We PAUSED! team decided to cut the strings that bound the book and re-imagine its contents in a new light letting lines of poetry pulled from the book inspire four thematic installations. These will be on view at Arlington Cultural Affairs’ Gallery 3700, S. Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington VA 22206 from May 2022 to April 2023More…

Columbia Pike Documentary Project: The Road Ahead
My second project since I joined the team of the Columbia Pike Documentary Project, “The Road Ahead” was about asking the young people who live or work on the Pike to share their stories. As the Pike changes rapidly, we wanted to capture the view from all angles. More...


Celebrating Light & Life: Diwali at The Kennedy Center, Nov 3-6
I’m so thrilled to be invited to curate a Diwali program for the Kennedy Center this year! Keeping with the work of my studio it will be all about How do people celebrate Light? How do we share our stories? How do we inspire each other?


We PAUSED! A Community Handmade Book Project by Studio PAUSE for the Gates of Ballston Apartments, Spring 2020-2021
As the COVID-19 pandemic surged and the world grappled with its consequences, I watched AHC Inc’s resident services team work tirelessly to provide essential services to their residents. I also watched how the Studio community found ways to connect with their creative selves—desperately trying to make sense of it all—and sharing their stories and art with me. I wondered if I could help by taking these possibilities, the inspiration, and the hope to others. What if we shared everything we did when we paused in 2020 with the residents of the apartment community? More…

Sing to Me, Mr Shuffle!
A project by Sushmita Mazumdar which emerged during the pandemic – a collaboration with an App and an algorithm with roots reaching back 5 decades and 13,000 miles. More…

Words to Art Spring 2020: A Community Art Project by Sushmita Mazumdar & Arlington Arts
Give artists ONE WORD expressing your feelings and perception of the #COVID19 quarantine and watch them transform it into art! Arlington Arts will ask you to post new words every Monday for the next four weeks. Artist Sushmita Mazumdar and four other Arlington artists will turn select words from your submissions into an original artwork. More…

Catalyst: A Collection of Poetry by Hanan Seid, a Handmade Storybook by Sushmita Mazumdar
Hanan Seid
was Studio Pause’s first artist-in-residence starting in May 2016. She taught us how to write poetry like she does (and be again, like we used to be, when we were young and fiery), and host like she does—gently, and always with a smile and humor, while showing others the way. I have introduced Hanan to many I have worked with and included her and her work in projects I have done. And so, I was thrilled when she said she would like to collaborate with me in creating books of her poetry! More…


Lyrical Journey Luminous Play: Painting Photography and Photo Manipulation by Sushmita Mazumdar & Yuri Long
Since taking a painting class in 2012, Sushmita noticed words in her native Devnagari script pop up in her art. In 2018 she created 5 paintings in one day. In 2019 it led to an amazing collaboration with Studio member Yuri Long. They named it Lyrical Journey Luminous Play. Thanks to Yuri, this series got a poetic name! Read more here

My Language Self
In this ongoing project Sushmita keeps an eye out for what we leave behind when we immigrate and try to create a new identity, and how what we lost resurfaces showing itself through our art and our words, inspired and encouraged by new places, people, and ideas. She is exploring what we will allow ourselves to express, who enjoys it and who feels uncomfortable. More… #mylanguageself

City of Stories: A community book art project with Sushmita Mazumdar
In a world where we know everything celebrities do and learn about the lives of great people, where is the chance to see how the stories of everyday people in our community can inspire us?

Arlington artist Sushmita Mazumdar will gather stories from 10 community members and create art inspired by them. She will then design them into pages and will train Arlington’s Out of School Time staff to share their own stories, who will then encourage elementary school students to share their own. These pages then become her favorite 3D house-shaped books which will be installed like a city so everybody can see the stories our city is made of. More…

July 2018

Columbia Pike Documentary Project: Transitions
The Columbia Pike Documentary Project has been awarded a grant from Virginia Humanities to continue its work chronicling the changes along this historic bellwether route. The team of Lloyd Wolf, Duy Tran, Xang Mimi Ho, and Sushmita Mazumdar will be documenting residents, non-profit organizations,  and business owners and will result in an exhibition and a catalog of the work. The work, which will consist of interviews and photographs, will focus on the changes the community is undergoing demographically, economically, and physically. More…

April 2018
Baked Clay/Endless Sky: Celebrating 5 Years of Pause
The studio moved to a new location 2 years ago. Nevertheless, the PAUSErs remain inspired… by the Studio’s wall colors in particular: Baked Clay, a rich, warm orangey-brown, and Endless Sky, a lovely, light, expansive blue. In this show, I invite PAUSErs to explore what those two colors and the Studio means to them. As founder Sushmita Mazumdar says, “We are all creative. We just don’t have the time to explore how we can share our stories. And we don’t think anyone will care. But what happens if we CAN make the time and people DO care? What do we learn about our community then?” ~ Carson Herrington, curator. More..

Nov 2017-Jan 2018:
Words to Art: Art on the ART Bus
“Your ART Bus Driver’s Voice is Made Visible in these Artworks. Do you know your ART bus driver’s story? Known for her handmade storybooks, artist Sushmita Mazumdar collected words of childhood fears, identity, and family stories from the drivers who greet you daily. By turning their words into the artwork you see exhibited aboard this bus, the artist has made a part of their lives visible to us all.” More…

June-Oct 2017:
HOME @Arlington 2017, a Community Art Project by Sushmita Mazumdar
Arlington’s Public Art Master Plan (PAMP) is getting an update! Adopted in 2004, it outlines a strategy for how public art will improve the quality of Arlington’s public spaces and facilities. We invite you to help inform the update with your input through HOME @Arlington 2017, a Community Art Project by Sushmita Mazumdar. More…

June 2017:
Sushmita Mazumdar and Studio PAUSE members are thrilled to be part of this new event by Arlington Arts—our first Maker Fair, MAKE your MARK! June 10, 2017, an event celebrating “The Power in Your Hands – whatever they look like.”
Credit: Graphic designed by Sushmita Mazumdar and Sughra Hussainy. More…

Sushmita and Sughra working on the project at Studio Pause. Photo, Susan Sterner.

Oct 2016:
Thou Art: The Beauty of Identity
A new community book art project Thou Art: The Beauty of Identity, was inspired by Afghan artist Sughra Hussainy and her work at the exhibit Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan, on view at the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art in Washington DC from March 5, 2016 to January 29, 2017. Sughra’s art, her words on the walls of the gallery, and her experiences in the US gave Sushmita and the Studio Pause community a chance to collaborate with her. As Sughra said when she met the writers at the Studio, Art Must Bring Change. More


Sept 2016: Dream Project & Arlington Public Schools Project
We Are All Arlington! Understanding & Celebrating our 40-Year legacy of Immigrants
Earlier this year I was invited to join a committee that was working on a very interesting project—collecting, documenting, and sharing the 40-year legacy of immigrants in Arlington County. Finally, I had found people who I could ask many of my questions to, learn a lot from, and share what I knew with. I am thrilled to invite you all to the event and community conversation on Sept 23, 2016. I will be speaking on a panel and you can enjoy the banner exhibit I designed to showcase the milestones the committee researched and put together. And please add your immigrant stories to it too—this is just the beginning! More…


May-June 2016: Arlington Arts Project
Columbia Pike Recipes for You 2016: A Community Book Art Project
This month has been recipe collecting month for me and along with that the stories of Columbia Pike restaurant owners. I will design it all into pages which will be displayed at the June 18 Columbia Pike Blues Festival where you can come and pick the recipes you like, and make them into your very own Columbia Pike Recipe Book! More here.

GMU Colloquium panel

April-May 2016: IIR-GMU Collaboration
Celebrating the Contributions of Immigrant Artists as Entrepreneurs with Studio PAUSE!
When I went for the Dec 2015 open house hosted by the Institute of Immigration Research at George Mason University, I thought I’d meet some people I had met before, hear of some new ideas and projects, nibble on some treats. But it turned out to be a whole other thing! It let to interesting conversations and a wonderful collaboration. A Celebration, interviews, and so much more.

photo 2-1

March-April 2016: Commission from the National Building Museum
Dream Room, Dream Commission
Early in 2016 I was contacted by the NBM. They commissioned me to create a Dream Room to be showcased (with 20 others done by 20 other contemporary American artists, designers, and architects), at their upcoming show Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse which will be on view till Jan 2017. Read more about it here

2015-2016, Individual Artists Grant project

FREEING! is about collecting stories of the openness or inaccessibility of language and culture, and turning them into a book of drawings.
• Its a book of stories you don’t have to read but instead see, feel, and enjoy in your own way.
• The design of the book will have no upside-down or right-side up, no wrong or right way of holding it.
• The book will be for people of all ages and cultures, people who know English or don’t. More…

Ongoing Projects:


Living Legends of Alexandria
Family Legends of Alexandria is an ongoing project of Living Legends of Alexandria. Imagined up by LLA founder Nina Tisara and Sushmita Mazumdar, this project encourages children to interview family members to find legends in their families, make that into a story, and make the story into a Handmade Storybook. More here.

Smithsonian Institution
Family Memory Storybooks: Videos, instructions sheets, and books made by kids!


A few years ago I created many bookmaking activities for families for the Smithsonian’s Heritage Month programs. The idea was to get families talking, creating, and sharing stories on so many subjects. Click on the link in the title and see the videos, download the instruction sheets, and upload your own books to the website—a wonderful resource for families, teachers, and communities. More here.
Check out some wonderful photos from our Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2011 Bookmaking activity “Kitchen Stories” here.