Making History on the Common

Fishweirs, sheep, protests, dancing, and colonial punishments return to Boston Common

Despite the rain on June 5th, just under 1,000 Boston elementary school children (grades 3-5) enjoyed the Friends of the Public Garden’s Making History on the Common on Boston Common!

It was a fun-filled, action-packed day where they learned about more than 1,000 years of history through various interactive activities.

Making History on the Common was made possible, in part, thanks to a grant from The David P. Wheatland Charitable Trust.

Protests on Boston Common

A history of demonstration in American’s first park

The Women’s March on January 21 on Boston Common was just the latest in a long history of peaceful demonstrations on the Common.

piccookwomensmarchboston170121a_0141friends
photo credit: Greg Cook

“The Common has been at the center of Boston’s civic life since its establishment in 1634. Despite physical changes, the Common has remained a focal point for the community – from grazing cows and military activities to celebration, punishments, protests and recreation. Physically, as well, it has remained fairly consistent in size and character, a green respite in the midst of the city.” — Boston Common Cultural Landscape Report, prepared by Landscape Historian Shary Berg for Friends of the Public Garden

After rowdy demonstrations against the English Stamp Act and the tax on tea, the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766 was cause for a huge celebration on the Common. Following the Revolutionary War, the Common was host to protesters of every stripe, and Presidents from Washington to Jackson visited along with other notables.

Celebrating the 2016 Rose Brigade

Thank you, Rose Brigade!

As the growing season draws to a close, the magnificence of the roses begins to fade.  The roses were particularly and extravagantly beautiful this year with the emergence of the unique and special sport rose. Each rose bed looked so radiant, it was impossible to choose a favorite.

We want to thank China for her exceptional leadership of – and undying enthusiasm for – the Rose Brigade, along with her wonderful co-leader Carl.  And we especially thank the volunteers who were out on Tuesday evenings to care for those exquisite roses. Experienced volunteers and newbies were welcomed each week with grace, erudition, lemonade, and cookies.  Boston, the Public Garden, and indeed the Friends of the Public Garden are blessed to have the dedication and knowledge of the Rose Brigade, without which we could not imagine the Garden.

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

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.”

Spend an Majestic Morning with Puppets on the Common

FOPG Puppets on the Common, August 22, 2014 by Elizabeth Jordan (5)

The Friends of the Public Garden is pleased to present:

Puppets on the Common
“The Enchanted Castle and the Royal Park”
Boston Common, Parkman Bandstand
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
10:30 a.m.
Children are welcome to join the Friends and Rosalita’s Puppets for a majestic morning of entertainment featuring Fairy Godmother Glitter and Princess Crystal who will be accompanied by their pals Dragon, Wizard, Unicorn and several fairies.

The M. Holt Massey Charitable Trust is sponsoring this show.