Lilli Ann Rosenberg Engaged People in Making and Enjoying Public Art

Lilli Ann Killen Rosenberg (1924‒2011) initiated memorably collaborative community art projects wherever she went throughout her working life. From the Henry Street Settlement in New York City to numerous sites in the Boston area and then others in southern Oregon, she engaged children and adults in creating responsive public art. This post offers images from Boston sites I have visited and quotes or links that motivate me to visit many more.   

“City Carpet/Hopscotch” on School Street near Old City Hall

“Shaped like a hopscotch grid, this mosaic marks the original site of the Boston Latin School, the first public school in the US.” ( quote from description in Public Art Walk Boston)

Highlighted as an “unassuming treasure” in a critical review of Boston’s public art by Sebastian Smee in 2013, this mosaic combines commemorative information with playful visuals within a structure that invites physical participation.

“In her self-profile, Mrs. Rosenberg said her goals in life were “to enhance the quality of my own expressions in the medium and to work with architects and planners in the development of more opportunities for artists like myself who wish to create art with and for people – improving the quality of life for all of us. Each new project is an exciting adventure.’’” (quote from her Boston Globe obituary, August 2011)

Mosaics in Tadpole Playground, Boston Common

With her husband Marvin, Lilli Ann Rosenberg created these mosaics installed in 2003.  I photographed and wrote about the mosaics within the context of collaboration among artists and community for a post from 2014.

“Her art was accessible to everyone. Children loved its simplicity and whimsey, while adults appreciated its beauty, balance and detail.” ( quote from artist Jeremy Criswell in her Oregon obituary, Mail Tribune, July 2011)

Betances Mural in Villa Victoria

“Her technique, according to her website, was “to embed a variety of materials in concrete using color and texture, sometimes carving it into the concrete or casting with it.’’ ” (quote from  Boston Globe obituary, August 2011)

“She wanted to reach all types of people. She worked right up till her death, talking about a sculpture she planned on the day before she passed away.”  (quote from a daughter Claire Van der Zwan in the Oregon obituary, Mail Tribune, July 2011)

Resources about Lilli Ann Killen Rosenberg

Lilli Ann Rosenberg, 86; muralist, sculptor adorned public spaces: Obituary August 12, 2011, by Gloria Negri in Boston Globe

Mural artist Lilli Ann Rosenberg leaves a lasting legacy: Obituary July 23, 2011, by John Darling in Mail Tribune

Moving beyond the Bronze Age, by Sebastion Smee for Boston Globe, 2013

Playground Enriched by Collaborative Art, post on Art Outdoors January 2014

Public Art Walk: Betances Mural  (excerpts quoted in photo captions) 

Public Art Walk Boston: City Carpet/ Hopscotch ( excerpts quoted in photo captions) 

Public Art Walk Boston: Mosaics in Tadpole Playground ( excerpts quoted in photo captions) 

PLUS this link to an enlightening WordPress blog Subterranean Art: 

“Celebration of the Underground” at Park Street


  1. Sharon McBride · · Reply

    What a pleasure to learn about such a wonderful woman! Thank you, Deb!


  2. These are underappreciated works! Next time I’m at Park Street Station I’m definitely going to go see her work there.


  3. […] See more about Lilli Ann Rosenberg’s public art in my earlier post, LILLI ANN ROSENBERG ENGAGED PEOPLE IN MAKING AND ENJOYING PUBLIC ART […]




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