The Irish connection: Sculpture in our parks

March is famous in Boston for St. Patrick’s Day and the celebration of all things Irish.  The history of the Irish in Boston can be traced, in part, through public art on Boston Common, the Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

Patrick Collins Memorial 

Commonwealth Avenue Mall
 (Between Clarendon and Dartmouth Streets)

Patrick Collins was the second Irish-born mayor of Boston (1902-05). Born in County Cork, his family moved to South Boston when he was a child. He started in the trades as an upholsterer, became active in the trade union movement, entered politics and during his time in the state legislature he studied law at Harvard Law School.  Mayor Collins took office after a distinguished public career of four years in the State Legislature, six years as Congressman, and four years as United States Consul General in London appointed by  President Grover Cleveland.

In his first inaugural address, he said: “The chief trouble with commercial Boston is that it seeks to do all its best business in one square mile of land. The result is congestion, very high rents within that area, and somewhat ragged prospects beyond. More business centers of the first class…will make Boston a better and a greater city. For this purpose, I may be counted an expansionist of the most extreme type.”

He died suddenly while in office, and he was so popular that funds for his memorial were raised in just six days from thousands of small contributions given by the residents of Boston.

Continue reading “The Irish connection: Sculpture in our parks”

African America History Month: Sculpture in our Parks

February is African American History Month paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American Society. Within the three parks cared for by the Friends, there are two important sculptures memorializing Boston African Americans.

Boston Common is home to the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial, a bas-relief masterpiece commemorating Colonel Robert Gould Shaw leading the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, the first all-volunteer black regiment in the Union Army.

Commonwealth Avenue Mall’s Boston Women’s Memorial honors Phillis Wheatley as one of three important women from Boston.  Phillis Wheatley was the first African American, the first slave, and the third woman in the United States to publish a book of poems.

Continue reading “African America History Month: Sculpture in our Parks”

Meet the Friends: Tim Mitchell

TimMitchell

Beauty is everywhere in the three parks the Friends of the Public Garden work with the City to care for. We often see the beauty in the natural features of these greenspaces, but public art also calls one’s attention. The art caught Tim Mitchell’s eye and continues to attract this architect and ceramics sculptor to the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. He found out about the Friends through the Neighborhood Association of Back Bay (NABB), and has been a member for at least twenty years. When asked why someone might consider joining the Friends his answer is simple, “You should not just join, but also get actively involved in a specific project.” That is exactly what he did. Tim has served on our Board of Directors and is currently the chair of our Sculpture Committee.

For Tim, the parks act as a creative inspiration that continue to capture and hold his attention. Everything about the art in them, from the artists and craftsmen, to the actual pieces and narratives that the objects evoke, is what give the parks special meaning for him.

He is currently completing a six-month body of sculpture using two kilns that are large tunnel-like structures representative of Japanese-style kilns called Anagama, one of which can load about 1,000 pieces at a time.  In September he will start an artist residency with Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine. There he will work on a historic brick-making project and a related contemporary art expression.

Tim recently donated a piece of his work to the Friends online art auction. The jar wth lid is stoneware with shino glaze to the interior and wood-ash glaze marks to the exterior. The lid is made of wood taken from one of the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial elm trees, across from the Massachusetts State House, during a preservation pruning on December 13, 2014.

Tim says if there is one thing people should know about the Friends of the Public Garden it would be the advocacy we do for all three parks, not just the Public Garden. He says people may also be surprised by the art in the parks, its “magnitude and provenance, all public…24/7.”

Friends Members Reception is Digging in Beyond Roots of Tree Care

Public Garden_2015_Members Reception_Elizabeth Jordan

Digging In: Beyond the Roots of Urban Tree Care

Join us for a behind-the-scenes exploration into our 45-year efforts to help the trees of the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall persevere in the stressful environment of an urban park. Attendees will learn how these trees show us when they are in trouble and what methods are being used to care for them. Find out what a dramatic difference your support makes to the health of our park trees.

Moderator: Council co-chair & Swan Boats owner Lyn Paget

Panelists: Friends Board member & greenspace advocate Margaret Pokorny and Friends Project Manager Bob Mulcahy

Wednesday, October 7, 2015   6:30 p.m.
Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston Street

Visit our online art auction page for this event to view objects made from Boston Common elm wood.

Event is free for members. Please RSVP by Friday, October 1 at info@friendsofthepublicgarden.org or call 617-723-8144.
Your membership can be renewed at this event.

Reception to follow program

Thank you to the Motor Mart Garage, our generous Lead Sponsor for this reception.

Motor Mart Garage

Request for Online Art Auction Items

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The Friends of the Public Garden invites local artists to donate a piece of work for an online art auction fundraiser to be held from October 7-21, 2015. Included in this auction will be artwork made from a fallen Boston Common elm tree and other art objects (paintings, ceramics, etc.) donated by local artists.

Proceeds from this auction will support the work of the Friends of the Public Garden to protect and enhance the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.  Each year, the Friends ensures that the critical natural and structural features of the parks receive the vital care they need, including over 1,700 trees; more than 40 pieces of public art; and several newly restored turf areas. For more information about the work of the Friends, visit friendsofthepublicgarden.org

Each auction item will have its own page on the auction website, including information about the artist and links to the artist’s website or other online information (Facebook, etc.).

If you are interested in supporting these green spaces with a donation of an auction item, please contact Mary Halpin at the Friends of the Public Garden at mary@friendsofthepublicgarden.org or 857-239-8937.

The Auction Committee will review all proposed donations before accepting the item and reserve the right to decline a donation. The Friends is a 501c3 organization and all donations are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.

Caring for Boston’s Outdoor Treasures

Hale_Cleaning_2015
Photo: Sarah Hutt

Summer has begun which means the outdoor work of the Friends sculpture care program is in swing. Mr. Hale (pictured) in the Public Garden is one of eight pieces conservators are caring for this year as part of the Friends Sculpture Care Program. Another 10 pieces of public art are in the process of being cleaned and maintained. This work is not only necessary, it is also newsworthy.  The Boston Globe recently ran a piece about the behind-the-scenes efforts involved in caring for these historic works of art in the article, “They get the gunk off Boston’s outdoor treasures.”

FOPG Launches Photo Contest

FOPG_Contest640The Friends of the Public Garden is inviting Instagram members to visit the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall to take pictures of these remarkable historic greenspaces in honor of Membership Month. Photos can be entered into a contest for a chance to win a membership to the Friends and two tickets to the Summer Party*. It is as easy at 1-2-3:

  1. Take It
  2. Tag It #FOPGContest
  3. Share It on Instagram

Five pictures with the most “likes” by Noon (EST) on April 27 will be declared finalists. They will be announced on social media on April 28th and the finalists will be invited to attend a reception for prospective members taking place at the Friends office on April 30th. The finalists’ images will be on display at the event and attendees will vote to select the winning photo.

How to enter
Tag pictures of the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall with #FOPGContest on Instagram for a chance to win a one-year of membership to the Friends of the Public Garden and two tickets to FOPG’s annual Summer Party on July 22.

Timing
The contest begins on April 13. Five photos will the most “likes” by April 27 at Noon will be contest finalists. They will be announced on the Friends Instagram, and other social media channels by April 28.

Rules
Participants may enter as many photos as they like.

Any photos with inappropriate content, as determined by the Friends, will not be considered. A person may only have one photo in the final five.

If more than one photo belonging to the same person ranks in the final five based on the number of “likes”, the photo with highest number of likes will be considered. Other entrants will be added to the final five based on the highest number of “likes”.

*Must be 21 plus to attend Summer Party.

Questions
Email info@friendsofthepublicgarden.org.