Upham's Corner Online

Sleeping Moon - The Dedication of Joseph Wheelwright's Sculpture in Peabody Square

Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sleeping MoonWell before the four clock starting hour, people began assembling at the outer edge of the Ashmont MBTA station.  Clusters of friends, neighbors and city and state officials formed about the enshrouded sculpture.  The weather was spectacular - a warm upper 60s in late October.

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Joyce Linehan and Rosanne Foley opened the program expressing their grateful thanks to the many contributors and participants who enabled the five year long process to culminate in this dedication.

Read about the Sleeping Moon selection process

Standing in for Mayor Menino was Evelyn Friedman, Director, Department of Neighborhood Development.  Richard Davey, general manager of the MBTA, also addressed the gathered crowd.  In their remarks they congratulated Joseph Wheelwright on his contribution to Peabody Square. 

As representatives of important infrastructure components of our city life, they also expressed a continuing commitment to improvements in this area.  Evelyn Friedman talked about DND's role in supporting the Boston Main Streets program.  Richard Davey spoke of the ongoing work to refurbish the Ashmont MBTA station which will be complete by June of next year.
Sleeping Moon Dedication

When it was the sculptor's turn to speak, we listened attentively. 
  • Who is he? 
  • What is his "Sleeping Moon"? 
  • What led him to create such a beautiful sculpture?
Joseph Wheelwright shared with us his love of the moon and how it came to be so. 

When he was just a little boy, his parents would go to the "movies," but Joseph heard a different word.  He heard his parents say "moon-vies" and imagined a group of adults sitting in the fields on chairs staring up at the moon.

Curious about this activity, he propped himself up on the edge of the window and stared out at the moon, night after night.  He grew to love the moon, experiencing it as friendly and inviting.  He learned that even in the presence of its ever changing shape, there was constancy and predictability. 
Sleeping MoonThe dedication ceremony closed with Joseph Wheelwright cutting the ribbons to unveil the magnificent sculpture.  Sleeping Moon is made of bronze with texture and color recalling the craters of the moon.  The face we so long to see in the real moon is realized here - this one, a face with delicate lips and carefully crafted, sleeping eyes with long eyelashes.

Sleeping Moon has a calming effect.  You cannot look into the eyes and see reflected back to you what lies in the depths of your troubled soul.  You cannot experience hostility, anger, sadness or any other emotion.  Sleeping Moon is at peace.  Yet you want to say: "Wake up, Sleeping Moon!  It's time to get up." 

Joseph Wheelwright asked us to get to know his Sleeping Moon much as he experienced the moon of his youth.  He took us one step further with a prediction.  As he spoke, you could feel his metallic moon coming alive. 

"One day," he said, "the clock will strike. Sleeping Moon will open his eyes and rise."

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