Endurance is a quality shared by the turtle sculptures in this post. Lilli Ann Rosenberg’s colorful concrete turtles in Cambridge have been ridden, jumped on, snowed in, flooded over and lots more in the past three decades. Nancy Schön’s bronze”Myrtle the Turtle” was bound up and relocated within Boston’s Myrtle Street Playground soon after settling in last year. These sculptures endured isolation while playgrounds were closed in the spring and then cautiously reopened. Meanwhile the real-life model sea turtle Myrtle at the New England Aquarium has lived a long time, enduring changes too.
“Rosenberg is a master of combining glass , ceramic, and found materials into beautiful, intricate narrative panels or mosaic forms such as these lively turtles in the play area of Edward Alden Park.”(Oxford and Sacramento Streets) from Ode to the Ocean Public Art Tour Card)
“”Myrtle the Turtle,” situated at the Myrtle Street Playground in Beacon Hill, is a 4-foot long, bronze sea turtle. She’s based on the New England Aquarium’s popular 550-pound sea turtle. Myrtle has been in the aquarium’s Giant Ocean Tank for more than 45 years.” ( quote from WBUR The ARTery May 13, 2019 by Hannah Chanatry)
“This week, Schön issued a public plea urging city officials to find a solution to the issue — planting trees to shade the piece, or constructing a small canopy — that would allow the turtle to stay. She also created a petition to save the sculpture, which by Thursday morning had amassed more than 700 signatures and dozens of messages of support.” ( quote from Boston Globe article by Dugan Arnett, June 13, 2019)
When I turned my attention to turtle sculptures this summer, I discovered fascinating stories beyond what I had noted in my earlier posts about the public art of these adamantly admired artists.* The links above and key resources below offer those stories, whether or not you can visit the turtles.
Lilli Ann Killen Rosenberg (1924-2011) Obituary, August 11, 2011, Boston.com by Gloria Negri
Nancy Schön Public Art Section of Nancy Schön website
Myrtle Street Playground: Myrtle and Irving Streets, Boston
Sea turtle Myrtle at New England Aquarium “So How Old is Myrtle?”
Alden Playground Cambridge park information
*1)LILLI ANN ROSENBERG ENGAGED PEOPLE IN MAKING AND ENJOYING PUBLIC ART; 2) PLAYGROUND ENRICHED BY COLLABORATIVE ART LILLI ANN KILLEN ROSENBERG; 3) NANCY SCHÖN ENGAGES US WITH CHARACTERS AND STORIES