28 September 2018

Public art on the Greenway

Through the Herculean efforts of a motivated group called the Friends of the Greenway, a former railroad bed was converted to a linear park here in my neighborhood of Newton Upper Falls.  The park, officially opened in 2016, is very much a work in progress, but is already well-used and loved.  Thanks to outreach by our local chamber of commerce, the Greenway was host this summer to a wonderful outdoor sculpture exhibit.  The installation was a testament to what can be achieved even on a shoestring budget.

Puppets at the grand opening.

Studio Without Walls mounted the show, called Beyond Boundaries, on view from June 25 to September 9, 2018.  The opening featured our mayor, light refreshments and puppets borrowed from Boston's own Puppet Free Library (who knew there was such a thing?!). In addition, several artists led activity stations.

Fifteen artists participated; this blog highlights just a few of the creations.

Origami birds made from spray-painted insect screening.

I especially liked Janet Kawada's origami birds; my photos don't do them justice, unfortunately.  Artist Kawada used insect screening, folded in the traditional paper crane origami pattern, then spray-painted and suspended the birds from branches.  Ms. Kawada provided colorful origami paper and instruction during the opening.

Folding paper cranes.

Currently much of the Greenway is bounded by a large parcel of land about to be redeveloped. Ringed by chainlink fence, the area would not appear to be much of an inspiration, but Wendy Wolf was not deterred, using the grid framework of the fencing to gently satirize our new mode of communication, the emoji. She wove several emoji on various fence sections for her work titled "We All Speak the Same Language." As you can imagine, these images were very popular with young visitors.


A small budget encourages creative reuse of whatever materials are at hand, which is what Louise Farrell did in fashioning "Faux Fleurs"; the design was prompted by a length of found rope.  This piece is particularly resonate, as every year volunteers cut back the invasive vine oriental bittersweet, which entwines itself around unlucky trees, eventually toppling them.  The artwork, however, was a welcome invasion.

Up and up climbs the vine.

A "map" of pompoms by Stacey Piwiniski.

And finally, an artwork which responds to the local wildlife - note the cottontail rabbit, lower left. Is the bunny wishing her tail was a pretty pink color?  This work, "Let's Make Paradise Meet," gets extra points for texture and was a fan favorite, as many children (and adults) made pompoms to add to the fence during the opening.

The tactile delight of working with yarn.