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Ground Breaking Public Art Work Unveiled

Posted: Monday, October 11, 2010

Edward Everett Sq Public Artwork
OCTOBER 6, 2010

Dedication of Public Artwork
Edward Everett Square,
Dorchester MA.

October 16, 2010
1 PM
In conjunction with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, the Friends of Edward Everett Square and Artist Laura Baring-Gould are proud to present a ground breaking series of public artworks that celebrate the rich historical legacy of Dorchester, Massachusetts. The result of 15 years of collaboration between community groups, city agencies and the artist, the final project redefines the capacity of public art to enhance the aesthetic experience, promote historic appreciation, and catalyze urban renewal.

Efforts to reclaim Edward Everett Square, Boston’s first crossroad, began in 1995 with the formation of the EES Committee, which sought to promote public safety as well as the beautification, appreciation, and recognition of this important historic landmark. The Committee received support from the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund in 1999 ($10,000 design concept) and in 2000 ($150,000 project grant) to fund the creation of  public artwork to accomplish these goals. After a national search managed by Boston-based Urban Arts in 2003, the Committee unanimously selected Artist Laura Baring-Gould to realize the project.

In addition, the Committee gained support from community organizations, businesses and elected officials to seek over $3.million in City of Boston capital funding for traffic calming, road improvements and pedestrian safety.  Under Baring-Gould direction, a small plaza, informal seating areas, and raised planting beds for trees and flowers were added to the project design to enhance the experience of residents and visitors. The Bricklayers and Allied Craftsman Local 3 Training center donated their labor to install bricks purchased and inscribed by community members with personal tributes and memories that added aesthetic appeal and helped humanize the intersection.
Baring-Gould’s work on the historic art pieces spanned 7 years, and involved consultations with over 250 individuals, community groups and historic institutions.  This intense public engagement enabled the artist to identify significant threads of community experience which could be represented in artworks to celebrate the courage and resilience of Dorchester’s citizens from early times to present.  The individual works were designed in bronze to formalize and pay tribute to this rich community history, as they were set against the unlikely backdrop of traffic, fast food restaurants and intense urban activity.  

 In 2007, the EES Committee, Baring-Gould and the city of Boston dedicated the first phase of the project.  This included city traffic calming improvements, a newly landscaped square, the community sponsored brick plaza   and the installation of Baring-Gould’s 12’ bronze sculpture of the Clapp Favorite Pear.  This artwork memorializes a time when Dorchester’s was rich farmland, including abundant Pear orchards where, in 1840, the Clapp Pear was first grown.  The Clapp was renown for its sturdy skin and sweet interior, so the artwork becomes not only a historic monument, but also a metaphor for the people of Dorchester as well.
In 2008 the project received additional funds from the Grassroots Open Space Grant Program.  This grant supported the creation of ten new artworks (see images) which embody the experience, aspirations, and individual and collective work of the people of Dorchester from the Native Americans of 10,000 years ago to the residents of the present day.  These works tell stories of the land, the people who crossed through and settled in this place, the contributions they made to local and national history, and their current level of activism and engagement to claim and celebrate the importance of their community. A series of 5 interpretive panels explain and augment the information represented by the ten artworks. .   

Through the realization of this project, Edward Everett Square Committee, working in concert with the artist and city agencies has demonstrated the power of a committed citizenry to reclaim their public spaces by utilizing works of art to celebrate collective experience and cultivate community pride in place.
The press and public are invited to the ribbon cutting and dedication, Saturday October 16th at 1 pm. Attending the dedication will be Mayor Thomas Menino, Gill Solomon, Massachusetts Ponkagpoag Tribal leader, Senator Jack Hart, State Rep Marty Walsh, City Councilor Maureen Feeney, John McColgan, President of the EES Committee, Artist Laura Baring-Gould, and over 50 community leaders, residents, activists, historians and political leaders who will take part in the ceremonies.  Several hundred people are expected to attend.

"Edward Everett Square’s history deserves celebration.  We want it cast in bronze so it will never be lost again."

John McColgan, Chairman, Edward Everett Square Committee, 2010
"The best of public art, no matter in a piazza in Rome or a new Dorchester landmark, celebrates who we are, where we have come from and where we might go."

Laura Baring-Gould, Artist, Edward Everett Square, 2007
  • Laura Baring-Gould, Artist: 617 625-7406, Laura@laurabaringgould.com
  • John McColgan, Edward Everett Square Chairman: 617 822-1091,John.mccolgan@verizon.net
  • Karin Goodfellow, Boston Art Commission: 617 635-2434,Karin.Goodfellow@cityofboston.gov

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