Randal Thurston’s Birds and Butterflies Guide Our Ways through Yerxa Road Underpass in Cambridge


This week I decided to simply show some of what I have seen lately along this pertinent passageway without trying to explain why I didn’t post earlier. I hope the links and quotes will give you ways to appreciate the efforts and effects of this public art project completed in 2006.

“A public art work commissioned under the Cambridge Massachusetts Percent for the Arts program. Imagery was developed from drawings of trees and birds native to the area of the site “( description quote from Randal Thurston website)

“Once an ominous hole under the railroad tracks, this long tunnel and ramp now freely and safely connect two neighborhoods. Thurston is a master of the silhouette, usually working in cut paper. When commissioned for the underpass project, he skillfully transferred his themes and formal silhouette techniques to metal. Here his imagery evokes a sense of flight even as we travel underground.” (quote from Cambridge Public Art Flight-themed art card)

“Artist Randal Thurston has created a striking design for the double entrance to the tunnel and the 120-foot ramp that… slope gently into and out of the tunnel. …The design incorporates his characteristic silhouettes – of tree branches and roots, birds in flight, vines, and butterflies – and plays with perceptions of descending and ascending, positive and negative space, and abstraction and realism. .. The artist has written, “I want the primary experience of seeing the tunnel and slowly approaching it to be one of wonder and curiosity.””( quote from Culture NOW:Museum without Walls, Yerxa Road Underpass)

Posting close to the longest day of the year, I will note that the underpass has lit the way during the longest nights as well.

One comment

  1. Love this one, Deb! I didn’t know about this artwork! Thank you.


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