Public art in Somerville has enlightened me in many ways in recent years. Here are two more examples, each enlivening my resources as a long-time volunteer guide at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln. Both focus on fascinating aspects of Somerville’s Union Glass Company, owned by Julian deCordova through the early years of the twentieth century. One is among the seven vibrant panels of the Union Square History Murals on the building where Webster Avenue (55-50) and Prospect Street (70) intersect. The other is a bright sturdy signpost, among more than fifty others in Conway Park on Somerville Avenue. Here are photos, quotes, and notes to elaborate their connections.
“Arboreal Attire” and “Chairful Where You Sit” Extend History around Jason Russell House in Arlington
Sculpture by Leslie Wilcox, Poetry by Jessie Brown, Chairs Transformed by Many Artists: This post honors an inspiring event last Saturday (8/21/21) that reminded me, yet again, of how much public art keeps offering no matter how many challenges continue. Walking among at least thirty chairs and six tall trees with unique creative identities, I began to understand they all shared histories extended by artists’ careful appreciative attention. Also most chairs there were made with wood, so crafted originally from trees. Musical performances, poetry reading, artist talk, and many other happenings were free for anyone who visited the lawn of the historic Jason Russell House near Arlington Center.
That led me to this quick post ( with links, quotes, and key resources in red type) because the chairs are only up for bidding until September 5:
Temporary Art Leads to Ongoing Information from Harvard Museums of Science and Culture: PLAZA PAINT PROJECT
The person I saw painting attractive images on Science Center Plaza said she was not an artist, but she was creating interactive art to engage people with rich resources from the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture while the physical doors are still closed to visitors. She noted that the paintings on the plaza would be power-washed away in a few weeks. So once again I’ll post quickly to speed the news about temporary art before it goes.
Jaume Plensa’s Humming came to deCordova Sculpture Park almost ten years ago, generating innumerable reminders of how powerful sculpture can be. As a guide at the park, Humming has given me reliable ways to connect with others about how and why a tall translucent entrancing head might come to be. Humming has brought perspective to other art in the park, and it has led me to more sculpture by the same artist as well.
Sonfist’s The Endangered Species of New England has been part of the Sculpture Park since 2013. Rosenblum’s Venusvine, created 1990, has been there since 1996. Both artworks reflect their artists’ deeply rooted work with trees. Both are metal renderings of natural forms. Both artworks have decisive locations in the park. They’ve held their ground while other artworks have moved around, left or entered in recent years.
Artists Help Us Learn from Trees: Maren Hassinger and Josephine Halvorson at deCordova Sculpture Park
Josephine Halvorson’s Measure (Tree) and Maren Hassinger’s Monuments 3 and 6 have expanded my range in relating to trees. That is true for several other artworks at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, so I’ll hope to follow up in future posts with more examples. But I’ll start with these two artists because their processes give specific attention to trees. Measure (Tree) involved the artist in close observation while painting a tree’s elements onto a wooden plank. Both Monuments involved many people in carefully weaving assorted branches of local trees into geometric structures and patterns. Quotes from the Trustees website explain more. Links to each artist’s site offer context. My photos give glimpses of the presence of these artworks among trees in the park in different seasons.