This towering brick monument by artist Ann Weaver Norton has stood in Brattle Square since 1983. Here are quotes about her life and work.
“Ann Weaver Norton (1905-1982) was an internationally known sculptor. She also wrote and illustrated three well-received children’s books in an attempt to finance her art education. Weaver was born in 1905 in Selma, Dallas County, the daughter of William Minter Weaver II and Edith Vaughan Weaver. From an early age she showed an aptitude for art, receiving her first sculpting tool when she was eight.“(quote excerpt from Ann Weaver Norton in Encyclopedia of Alabama)
Ann Norton, Gateway to Knowledge, 1983, Handmade brick, 20′ 6″ x 5′ 6″ x 5′ “As designed by Ann Norton, “Gateway to Knowledge” is a truncated obelisk with a narrow slit from its base almost to the top. The two pillars represent knowledge and education. The 6″ wide slot separating them suggests that the passageway to knowledge is narrow indeed. One “leg” of the brick sculpture is slightly in front of the other, giving the massive piece the appearance of mobility.” ( quote excerpt from Cambridge Arts Public Art Map, Harvard )
In 2022 and 2023 at different times, these cleverly constructed beings by Bob Smith of Minimum Wage Art have stood with the monument:
“Norton’s best-known sculptures are brick-construction megaliths that she displayed at her home in West Palm Beach. She also worked on smaller sculptures chiseled from solid timbers. The grounds of her West Palm Beach home are now incorporated as the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens. More than 100 of her works are on display there, including eight of the brick megaliths and one in granite.“ (quote excerpt from Ann Weaver Norton in Encyclopedia of Alabama)
Links for Ann Weaver Norton: Ann Weaver Norton in Encyclopedia of Alabama, Cambridge Arts Public Art Map, Harvard, Visiting Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, ANN NORTON SCULPTURE GARDENS
Links to Earlier Posts about Minimum Wage Art in Cambridge and Somerville:
PUBLIC ART PERSONALITIES GREET THE SEASON TOGETHER ON PALMER STREET IN HARVARD SQUARE
MORE PUBLIC ART APPEARS IN HARVARD SQUARE: “MICHELLE THE BLUE ELEPHANT”; PATRICIA THAXTON’S MURAL
ANIMAL SCULPTURES GREET US ALONG THE SOMERVILLE COMMUNITY PATH
Thanks so much for this, Deb. I have walked through this square hundreds of times over the years but never noticed the arch!!! Saw the imaginative animals but didn’t know their source. Thank you for pointing out the art that is part of our daily lives that we may pass every day.
Thank you, Peggy.
Putting together this post also led me to Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, (link in post) which show many more of her Gateway monuments in a lush garden setting .