Nancy Webb’s Bronze Insects and Plants Became Treasures in Cambridge

I’ve walked through Charles Park before, (on the way to or from CambridgeSide Galleria) without noticing most of nearly forty bronze representations of insects and plants Nancy Webb created almost three decades ago.  This week I came to find and focus on them, guided by the Cambridge Public Art Fact Sheet:

“Visitors to the park are greeted by bugs and beetles, creeping up the bollards that flank its two entrances. But there is no need to recoil; the insects are a part of a series of bas-reliefs created by artist Nancy Webb, representing the plant and animal life found in the area.”

“A bronze plaque, also made by the artist, lists all the bronze plants and creatures found in the park.”

“Webb’s small bronze sculptures hide next to park benches and peek from under pachysandra leaves, representing the rich biodiversity in our own backyards…..Explore the park. Think of it as a treasure hunt.(quote from Cambridge Public Art Activity Guide )

Nancy Webb (1926-2012) was an illustrator, printmaker, painter and sculptor of small naturalistic art as well as large-scale symbolic artworks. A spirited biography page on POBA website with images of her work offers a sense of her great energy and artistic range. I wish I could have heard her tell about her process of representing an insect in a few inches of bronze.

My ‘treasure hunt’ in Charles Park was motivated by a wish to know and show more about the artist Nancy Webb who made the bronze paving inserts of insects around the entrance to Maud Morgan Visual Arts for the center’s opening 2010.

For anyone who wants to hunt for treasures in art or nature, from a distance or not, I once again recommend Cambridge Public Art Fact Sheet, Map and Activity Guide.

3 comments

  1. Hi Deborah. Love this! I was at ABC/MMA when Nancy Webb was still alive and working on the bronze bugs. Here’s a photo I took of her in her studio: https://flic.kr/p/8khuvi

  2. Thank you for this great link including a wonderful photo of Nancy Webb working on switch plates for Maud Morgan Arts, 2010!

  3. Sandy · · Reply

    These are a joy. Thanks Deb!

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