Birds Led to Absorbing Art on the Bikeway in Arlington

A sudden flurry of bird activity in my yard this past weekend got me out on the mild Monday, February 3, to revisit three artworks in easy walking distance from each other: Extraordinary Ordinary Birds, “Colony,” and “Penny the Swan.”

Extraordinary Ordinary Birds: Beautiful Informative Collectable Cards

“APA (Arlington Public Arts)  commissioned painter Resa Blatman to create a series of seven vivid portraits of local birds — the extraordinary ordinary birds that you will find along the Minuteman Bikeway and in your own back yard. The portraits appear on free postcards designed by Resa; the text was developed by Ellen Reed, an Arlington-based environmental educator, wildlife rehabilitator and local bird champion.” ( quote from Arts Arlington 2019 EXTRAORDINARY ORDINARY BIRDS )

“Penny the Swan” by Kevin Duffy at Spy Pond Park

“Since her arrival in the spring of 2013, the 400-pound granite sculpture has been popular with visitors to the park, especially children. …Kevin Duffy, Arlington based stone sculptor, created “Penny the Swan” as a temporary public art piece for the park in 2013. He received a grant from the Arlington Cultural Council to help pay for his materials. In an unprecedented move, the Arlington Parks Commission gave Duffy permission for Penny to be displayed at the park. This year, the Friends of Spy Pond Park and Arlington Public Art persuaded the commission to allow Penny a permanent residence in the park.” (quote from September 2016 article in Wicked Local Arlington)

“Colony” by Chris Frost, midway in its second year

“A cluster of miniature fantastical houses in the sky. Located on the Minuteman Bike Path in Arlington, MA at Linwood Street. Enjoy and discover this evolving piece situated beside Spy Pond.” (quote from artist’s website: Christopher Frost Sculpture)

My posts on Art Outdoors from last year offer more photos, quotes, and links for Chris Frost’s “Colony.” For the first time here, though, I did display comparative views that show how the colorful contributions of visitors have appeared, moved, changed, or disappeared over time.  Views on the left of each pairing are from late November 2019; views on the right are from early February  2020.

Key Resources and Links

Resa Blatman website with paintings, installations, artist statement

Christopher Frost Sculpture with current and earlier sculpture

Kevin Duffy Sculpture  with images, artist statement and links to videos of process

Arts Arlington Public Art, Pathways

On the chainlink fence between Swan Place and Linwood Street, well protected from winter weather, these generously free art/science resources are twice the size of ordinary postcards!


  1. Thank you so much, Deb! I love the Bikeway. I’m on it on my bike as soon as the weather gets warm enough. I’ve seen the haiku, of course, but I can’t wait to look for these art works. Good for Arlington! PS Why is Spy Pond called Spy Pond? I stop people when I’m in Arlington and ask, but no one seems to know, and the historical signs don’t say. Do you know? All Best,Gene Eugene H. Pool www.ehpool.coml


  2. Brad Gurman · · Reply

    Nostalgia is a funny thing. Even though I never have seen any of the Art on public display, my feelings about Boston seems to enhance my memories of Boston. I do recall some art near or around the swan garden, and an extraordinary owl sculpture way, way back in the 50’s. Thanks for your generous act of presenting outdoor art


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