Category African American History

Take in Bike Tour of Public Art in Cambridge: Central Square, Cambridgeport, and Riverside

This post notes outstanding outcomes of an exciting event one perfect evening in late July 2022: the beautifully organized free bike tour of Cambridge public art between Central Square and the Charles River. 1. Bike-riders of all ages gathered outside the Central Square Library for an overview of art around the library and along the planned route of the whole tour. Cambridge police and attentive volunteers guided everyone safely through the sunset finale. 2. The tour is now engagingly documented in a 2-minute video. 3. The route has become a self-guiding tour for cyclists, though certainly adaptable to walkers. Facts, links and videos on the tour site are informative and intriguing for interested readers far from Cambridge. 4. The whole experience even elevated my already towering enthusiasm for public art!

Bottle Trees on Brattle Street Bring Histories to Light: “Forgotten Souls of Tory Row”

Several times this summer I have viewed and visited the bottle trees on the History Cambridge lawn. I hope to keep revisiting till they’re gone, April 2023. For now, I’ll share photos, quotes, and links that help me appreciate, understand, and reflect on an enlightening project, “Forgotten Souls of Tory Row: Remembering the Enslaved People of Brattle Street.”

Murals offer Many Ways to Celebrate a City: “Chelsea Resilient: Call and Response Through the Ages” and “City of Dreams”

In mid-May I visited two mighty murals barely two blocks apart: “Chelsea Resilient: Call and Response Through the Ages” by David Fichter and “City of Dreams” by Silvia López Chavez. With great enthusiasm, I now share photos, quotes, and links that should convey the rich history and possibilities of both murals.

Light Poles Display Banners for Black History Month On Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington

This February (2022) I learned to look up at light poles for Black History Month banners along Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington. Luckily banners from earlier Februaries (2020 and 2021) were up again, along with a new set. Different artists, selected by Arlington Human Rights Commission and Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture, created the banners for each year.

A Statue and a Stamp Shed Lights on the Life of Sculptor Edmonia Lewis

A public radio segment about sculptor Edmonia Lewis (1845-ca. 1909) recently roused me to order a sheet of newly issued stamps honoring her and then to seek out the marble monument she made 150 years ago for a family lot in Mount Auburn Cemetery. Stories behind the new stamp and the long-standing sculpture led to more revelations about the artist’s life, through resources I will share here with quotes and links.

New Murals on Blue Hill Avenue by Ekua Holmes and London Parker-McWhorter Make Many Meaningful Connections

My visit to “Honoring the past, seeding the future,” the newest Grove Hall murals, extended my own range of travel after too long a time. Simply walking a few blocks around their location (on and near 345 Blue Hill Avenue) offered such an abundance of promising connections that I must now choose a few of many for focus in this post. Here are the chosen three.

Artists Ekua Holmes and Elizabeth James-Perry Bring MFA Lawn to Life with “Garden for Boston”

Whether or not you go inside the Museum of Fine Arts, on the front lawn you will find rich offerings by artists and curators attentive to soil, sun, sea, community, and history. One morning in early August, I joined other visitors enthralled by plantings and perspective in the collaborative venture called “Garden for Boston.” Delighted by discoveries, I’ll share a few of my iPhone photos with quotes from enlightening resources on the MFA website and other specified links.

More Public Art Appears in Harvard Square: “Michelle the Blue Elephant”; Patricia Thaxton’s Mural

View two of a few recent additions to visual art in Harvard Square. I’ll save the rest for future posts. Both artworks involve creative use of fabric. Both are in settings that don’t always enhance viewing or documenting art. But as Patricia Thaxton notes on her printed mural “The Beauty of Everyday Living,” it is about joy and harmony “in spite of it all,…”, including unavoidable traffic, trash, and construction equipment. See photos, quotes, and links:

View a Few of Many, Many Murals by Marka27, “Prolific Artisan”

In recent years I have seen, admired, and taken photos of several murals signed by Marka27, but finally I feel prepared to post with a focus on Victor “Marka27” Quiñonez. In this post I can offer photos of a few of his Boston-area murals, along with quotes and links that should lead you to lots more by this “Prolific Artisan.”

African Masks Generated Art in Restored Sculptures by Vusumuzi Maduna

In the early 1980’s artist Vusumuzi Maduna created two monumental sculptures inspired by African masks; “Inner City Totem I” outside the Cambridge Community Center and “Inner City Totem II” outside Margaret Fuller House. Sadly stressed by decades of New England seasons, both were recently restored in ways that should help them stand through countless decades ahead. Here are photos from my visits to each site this month with quotes from key resources about the art, artist, and restoration.