Take Part in Public Art at Universal Design Playground, Danehy Park, Cambridge

With great enthusiasm, I share my recent discoveries of three public art projects within the relatively new Louis A. DePasquale Universal Design Playground: 1. Mitch Ryerson’s “Sensory Hilltop,” 2. NuVu Studio’s “Pipe Dreams,” 3. Dominic Killiany’s paintings. Here I simply build on background in earlier posts about Mitch Ryerson’s playground design, but the other two were new to me: Nu Vu Studios, the Innovation School in Central Square Cambridge, and Dominic Killiany, an artist with autism. I hope the photos, quotes, and links add to your own explorations.

Located at Danehy Park between Field Street and the Briston Arms residential complex, the 30,000 square foot play area is the first in Cambridge to fully incorporate Universal Design (UD) – the concept that all parts should be as usable as possible, without changes, by everyone. ” ( quote from “Louis A. DePasquale Universal Design Playground Open at Danehy Park!” January 2022)

The “Sensory Hilltop,” a pergola, benches and marimba created by Cambridge artist Mitch Ryerson:

“The “Sensory Hilltop” is reached through an accessible, labyrinth-style pathway. ……..includes log steppers, a wooden marimba where visitors can experiment with sound, and benches with 3D animal-shapes that invite tactile exploration. During spring and summer, a “Scentsation” vine will provide shade and the smell of honeysuckle.” ( quote from City of Cambridge: Louis A. DePasquale Universal Design Playground)

“Pipe Dreams,” a wooden play tunnel designed by students at Central Square’s NuVu Studio:

“Back in September 2019, a group of seven middle and high school students attending NuVu Studio worked together to create a design that would build the foundation of a future real-world installation made from Accoya wood. …..“The form is inspired by an infrastructural pipe, sitting above ground, transforming over time. As openings and surface changes appear across the facade, and inner tunnel surface, opportunities for climbing, play and social interaction emerge.” ( quote from Accoya Projects: Universal Design Playground )

Reproductions of Dominic Killiany’s paintings:

” … you’ll spot pictures by Dominic Killiany, a prolific 24-year-old artist living with autism. Panels throughout the park reproduce his brightly colored paintings of Boston’s Zakim Bridge, street signs, fish, a lion, zebra, elephant and giraffes.” (quote from Cambridge Arts, Public Art, What’s New, Dominic Killiany at Universal Design Playground)

“The City of Cambridge-funded project, led by the Mass.-based firm Weston & Sampson, began in 2018 and incorporated the feedback of residents. “There was an advisory panel of families, parents, workers, and teachers, who have a lot of experience with people of all abilities. They were able to critique our design proposals and give us valuable feedback,” Cambridge artist Mitch Ryerson, one of the project’s lead designers, said. “ ( quote from “How Cambridge’s first universal design playground created accessible and artful fun” By Anthony Cammalleri Boston Globe, May 2022)

Key Resources:

City of Cambridge: Louis A. DePasquale Universal Design Playground

“How Cambridge’s first universal design playground created accessible and artful fun” By Anthony Cammalleri Boston Globe, May 2022

Ryerson Design :Playgrounds

Accoya Projects: Universal Design Playground

Nu Vu Studios, the Innovation School

Cambridge Arts, Public Art, Dominic Killiany at Universal Design Playground

D O M I N I C R E A T I O N S: About Dominic Killiany

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