10:30 – 11:30 AM, Parkman Bandstand
Open to the public free of charge
The manipulation of inanimate life forms to tell stories is an ancient and near universal art form dating back at least to the 5th century B.C., when Herodotus wrote of marionettes used in the Egyptian Festival of Osiris.
Today, puppetry can be found in virtually all cultures. The British brought European puppetry to North America, where ceremonial puppets had already been used for many years by Native American cultures.
Puppetry has been performed regularly on Boston Common since 1883 and probably earlier. It stopped temporarily in 1995.
In 2011 the Friends of the Public Garden restored the puppetry tradition by launching its “Puppets on the Common” Series. It is underwritten by a grant from the M. Holt Massey Charitable Trust and features Rosalita’s Puppets, created by master puppeteer Charlotte Dore.
On Wednesday, August 14, Charlotte and her friends return to the Common for a third season. From 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. at the Parkman Bandstand she will direct a performance of the marionette show “Rosalita and the Giant Bugs,” customized for the Common.
Derived from “Alice in Wonderland,” the story is about a young Boston girl named Rosalita, who finds herself in a pickle when her curiosity leads her to drink from a bottle lying in the Common. As a result, she shrinks to an insect-sized human.
The moral of the story is two-fold – don’t drink trash and do not litter. Protect our parks by disposing of trash properly.
The show is free, open to the public and designed for “children of all ages.” It is underwritten by a grant from the M. Holt Massey Charitable Trust.
Puppets on the Common is one of many programs and activities sponsored by the Friends of the Public Garden, a nonprofit citizen’s advocacy group founded in 1970 to preserve, protect and enhance the Boston Common and Commonwealth Avenue Mall as well as the Public Garden, in collaboration with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department.
For more information visit www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org or call (617) 723-8144.
The iconic bronze statue of George Washington that greets visitors to the Boston Public Garden who enter at Arlington Street is being repaired this summer by the Friends of the Public Garden.
Standing 22 feet and resting on a 16-foot pedestal, the magnificent equestrian statue is considered one of the most important pieces of monumental decoration in New England.
Created by a little known Boston sculptor named Thomas Ball, it was installed with great fanfare in 1869.
Altogether, there are 44 pieces of public art – statues, fountains and commemorative plaques – in the three parks we care for (the Boston Common and the Commonwealth Mall as well as the Public Garden). In addition to the Washington statue they include the Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens opposite the State House (acclaimed by many as the greatest work of American sculpture of the nineteenth century), the statue of Edward Everett Hale in the Public Garden, and the statue of Alexander Hamilton on the Mall.
Conserving these treasures and restoring them when needed is part of the mission of the Friends of the Public Garden.
When the Friends was founded in 1970, the public art in our parks received little or no care. Only one statue had an endowment that provided for its care. The others had to fend for themselves, and they weren’t doing well in an era of acid rain, pollution and graffiti.
The first project of the Friends to address the situation was restoration of the Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial. After that successful project, the Friends joined the Art Commission to create an “Adopt-a-Statue program” for restoration and endowment of sculpture citywide. Since then, we’ve been working in the three downtown parks to restore each piece, one by one.
In 2010 the Friends launched an annual program of sculpture and fountain maintenance, as one of its 40th anniversary legacy projects. Work includes a regular cycle of cleaning as well as conservation and restoration when needed. The cost for cleaning a piece of sculpture is approximately $700, while the cost for full restoration can be $20,000-$25,000. Implementing this annual program allows these important pieces of art to be professionally and cost-effectively conserved.
During our 40th anniversary year, we launched another initiative to strengthen the Friends sculpture care program and to honor founding President Henry Lee’s longstanding commitment to the care of sculpture throughout Boston. The Henry Lee Conservation Fund was established to raise funds for the care of sculpture, fountains, and other selected structural features of the three parks.
Click here to learn how you can join the Friends of the Public Garden and support our work.
The Friends of the Public Garden has received several major matching challenge pledges that will spearhead a campaign to raise the additional $850,000 it needs to complete its Brewer Fountain Plaza Project on historic Boston Common and to pay for 2013 plaza operations.
Anne Brooke, President of the Friends, said challenge pledges of $200,000 each have been made by the Lynch Foundation and Barbara and Amos Hostetter. An additional $250,000 has been pledged by the Friends’ Green and White Ball Committee.
“We are enormously grateful to the Lynch Foundation, the Hostetters and the Ball Committee,” Ms. Brooke said. “Thanks to their leadership and generosity every dollar contributed will generate matching gifts totaling more than three dollars, up to $200,000. It’s a three-to-one match.”
Phase one of the $4 million Brewer Plaza Fountain Project was completed in 2012. It transformed the southeast corner of the Common at Park and Tremont Streets, creating a vibrant downtown gathering spot with café tables and chairs, quality food, lunchtime piano music, chess and checkers, a reading area, and summer jazz concerts.
The final phase will include restoring the historic iron fence along Tremont Street, creating a landscaped edge to separate the park from the busy street and further enhancing this green oasis in the heart of the city.
Founded in 1970, the nonprofit Friends of the Public Garden works with the City of Boston to preserve and enhance Boston’s first public parks – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. For additional information about the Friends and how you can support its work go to friendsofthepublicgarden.org.
Making History on the Common Day Attracts Over 650 Students
Ignoring the rainy weather, they enjoyed a fun-filled, action-packed day of learning by participating in the Friends of the Public Garden’s fourth annual “Making History on the Common Day.”
Students played colonial games and learned about colonial crafts from Historic New England educators. They watched a performance by the Wampanoag Nation Singers and Dancers, learned how to plant a Native American “three sisters” garden of corn, beans and squash, a pet farm animals from Codman Community Farms.
They watched a re-enactment of the valor of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the first unit of African American soldiers from the North to fight in the Civil War. They viewed demonstrations of New England contra dances and the use of wooden pillories for punishment. They learned about Native American flint tool making from Boston Archaeologist Joe Bagley and examined the line of blue survey flags marking the pre-colonial shoreline along the Charles Street edge of the Common.
“It was great to see these kids extending their learning outside the classroom and experiencing our rich history and culture in tangible ways,” said Elizabeth Vizza, executive director of the Friends. “Making History on the Common works because it’s simple yet profound.”
Vizza thanked event sponsors Motor Mart Garage and Mass Humanities for their generous support. Information about Friends events and activities at www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org.
The Duckling Day Parade has become Boston’s most adorable Mother’s Day tradition, and that’s no lie. Children (and sometimes parents too) don duckling attire and retrace the route taken by Mama Mallard in Robert McCloskey’s classic Make Way for Ducklings. Each year our little ducklings flock to the Boston Common ready for an adventure. They are greeted by a magician, a juggler a face painter and others who are there to celebrate this special occasion. When the time comes the ducklings line up with their families and the parade begins. They march out of the Common down Beacon Street and take a stroll through Beacon Hill. If you haven’t seen it in person, just imagine waking up on Mother’s Day to hundreds of children dressed as ducks parading past your home. Did we mention this is Boston’s most adorable Mother’s Day tradition? It may even be the most adorable Mother’s Day tradition in the world. Others seem to agree.
Each year more and more families are participating in the Duckling Day Parade. In fact, we have outgrown our parade route. This year, for the first time, the children and families will not be retracing the steps of the famed Mother Mallard. Instead, the parade will take place within the Boston Common and Public Garden to minimize the disruption our ducklings cause to city traffic. We are delighted that so many have embraced the Duckling Day parade as the premiere Mother’s Day event in Boston.
At just $40 per family it is certainly an affordable adventure. We hope to see you there this Sunday!
This month we launched our Spring membership drive to raise funds in support of the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. With your support we will keep these spaces beautiful, clean and continue to maintain the wonderful sculptures and monuments therein.
A little bit can go a long way. Here’s what we can do with just $100:
- Install 10 tree labels with information about the tree and the donor who made it’s planting possible.
- 1 DED treatment. Treating trees for Dutch Elm Disease is an important way to make sure all of our trees remain healthy. To learn more about DED read here.
- 4 tree root stress treatments
- Wash stone of Commodore John Barry
- Wash stone of papal Mass Tablet
Support Friends by becoming a member today!
1. Membership begins at just $25. Every dollar makes a difference.
2. It’s cheaper to maintain the grounds and sculptures than it is to repair and restore. Your support today ensures that beauty of these parks for generations to come.
4. It’s your back yard! Whether you live in the city or outside of it, the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue mall are places where you are likely to spend some time. Supporting Friends will help make sure these spaces stay clean and beautiful so you can enjoy them whenever the mood strikes.
5. Preserve Boston’s trees! The Friends work hard to make sure Bostons’ trees are healthy and thriving, by identifying and preventing the spread of Dutch Elm Disease, regular pruning and removal of pests.
7. Roses Roses Roses. Friends is responsible for maintaining the Public Garden’s rose gardens.
8. Keep those sculptures looking shiny and new. Since 2010, the Friends have worked to maintain
the 44 statues in the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The cost of cleaning a sculpture is less than $1,000, while the cost of a full-scale restoration is upwards of $20,000. Your support now means we can keep costs lost while keeping these wonderful parks looking their best.
9. Duckling Day. The most adorable Mother’s Day Celebration there is.
10. Anyone who donates before May 1 will be entered into a drawing to win lunch for two at the Four Seasons!