Public Art Paired with Nature

Public Art Paired with Nature

Bird by Bob Shannahan at the Sculpture Walk, Harvard, MA

This summer, I undertook a big project. I organized a juried exhibition in my local nature preserve. When Southborough Open Land Foundation asked me to mount a show four years ago for their 25th Anniversary Celebration, it was informal. This year, I wanted to create a sustainable program that would draw professional artists and poets, so I spoke with several people who have experience with public installation programs. 

First, I went to see Linda Hoffman, Artist and Orchardist at Farm at Old Frog Pond in Harvard, Massachusetts. Set on 25 acres of land surrounding a pond, she has an apple orchard, walking trails, and many wonderful art installations. Every year, she invites artists to install work on the property and, each September, she hosts a Sculpture Walk, along with apple and raspberry picking, and a live band. This year’s event had perfect weather and a big crowd. The work was diverse and remarkable, spanning from metal butterflies to a giant bird, to miniature bronze people perched on rocks. In all, there are 40 pieces in this year’s show, and additional permanent installations. Next week, the farm will host a Plein Air Poetry Walk, in which poets read work written in response to the art. More information.


NEW member Jeanne Borofsky with her work at Farm at Old Frog Pond Sculpture Walk.


The Umbrella Community Arts Center in Concord, MA also hosted a walk this year called The Musketaquid Art Ramble, in honor of Henry David Thoreau’s 200th birthday. Their closing event, a picnic with the artists, will be held on October 1.
Art on the Trails: Finding Solace in the Woods, the program I put together in Southborough, was juried by Mary Tinti, Southborough resident and former curator at Fitchburg Art Museum. It features 13 artists and 15 installations and is mounted at Beals Preserve, a beautiful wooded 55-acres, a half mile west of the center of our little town. The exhibition ends on September 24th with a Plein Air Poetry Walk, with 25 poems to be read near the art that inspired it. Literary magazine The Tishman Review is publishing a beautiful chapbook with both the art and poetry and will have them available for sale on the 24th. I hope you will join us. RSVP on Facebook.