When it was announced that a Pop-up Art Grove in Franklin Park was planned for August, I was curious. I’d never been to one of those, and it had certainly been years since I’d been to Franklin Park. In all fairness even though it’s a beautiful public park with a Zoo and a golf course, Franklin Park is not somewhere I go out of my way to visit. But in the past few years, the city and has been working hard to revitalize the area along with its image, and it seems silly to think that the legacy of a public park can’t endure and evolve.
Established in 1885 and part of the Emerald Necklace designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, it seemed fitting that the theme of the Pop-Up: Art Grove in Franklin Park was endurance. Even without knowing that you could probably wander beneath the canopy of the Wilderness Picnic Grove and understand that that you were experiencing artwork installed to explore connectivity, community and longevity while helping to develop the relationship between the park and the community it’s part of.
The installations were varied and interactive and the exhibit unfolded slowly as you meandered through the picnic grove. More people arrived as the afternoon went on, but it never felt crowded although at times the experience was a little Buñuelian. Of all the art I’ve seen so far this summer, I think this was consistently some of the best. The artists and performances who were present throughout weekend, helped create an additional layer of experience through exciting interactions that helped generate connections between the visitors, artwork and the park.
“The Pop-Up: Franklin Park Art Grove is a collaboration between the Boston Art Commission, Franklin Park Coalition, the William Monroe Trotter Institute, and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department,” according to the press release. The Pop Up Art Grove experience includes guided tours, spoken word, food trucks, art interventions, and youth led art workshops and the performances are happening August 8-9th from 11am – 6pm.
“Embracing the Wildreness Picnic Grove and Roxybury Puddingstone” Kathleen Driscoll and Barbara Zeles
These were great, and very cinematic.
Some art was very visible from distance and some were so discreet that I walked past a couple of them and then doubled back realizing I missed something. These were great “Word Wrap” by Lisa Link and Blanca Bonilla was a series of green banners tied to trees. They could be found throughout the art grove and in different languages. Translations were supplied via print outs you could pick up at different points around the park. This one says” If the egg is broken by yourself, it means the birth of a new life. If the egg is broken by others, it means you become prey. Hope you become a person who breaks your limitations and develops your full potential in your life.”
Even if you arent’ sure about the art, it was a beautiful day to be outside in nature.
Close up of the blue “Bottle Tree” by Pamela Goncalves and Hakim Raquib.
“Bottle Tree” was really beautiful.
The “Bottle Tree” had lines attached to it which were decorated.
The “Bottle Tree” was part of an experience that started with the performer explaining the origins of the tree and asking you to perform a task in exchange for a blessing. This is the artist with her piece.
There was definitely signage. It was minimally intrusive but with good descriptions it was very informative.
The Slave Hut, generated a lot of interest. Decorated with symbols and offerings of words made by visitors it became a symbol of understanding and reflection upon the past.
Visitors were provided with white markers to write their thoughts, or hopes on the wall.
“La reflexion es tan important como la acción” Reflecion is as important as action.”
The signs dotted the landscape.
A. Reid & Anthony Richards. “Harriet Hemenway Field Station”
“Literal and metaphorical reflection calls our attention to internal and external environments. How do we occupy and care for the spaces that provide us with shelter? This interactive structure invites us to reflect upon our sense of place, the importance of self, and interconnectedness to the whole.”
Seemingly by design, this one was easy to walk by. But upon closer inspection it was really cool.
On top of which, when you stepped back it was basically the coolest, and most scifi reflection camo.
One of my final stops of the day and probably one of my favourites was Johnathan Chamberlain, “Landscape Survey.” It looked like a big black tent…
It was actually a awesome, and enormous camera. For photo nerds, like me, this is the ultimate because you are basically standing inside an extra large DIY camera bellows. Needless to say, I loved checking it out and getting to talk shop. In this pictures is the image “taken” and projected on a large screen in the interior.
The artist and his work.
Initially a little confusing, and also one of the things I walked by. I did follow insttuctions and lift up the lid. There were maps inside. Phew!
Along with all art, there was also a grassy area with food trucks and set up for performances. I was there kind of early, so there wasn’t much going on but as the day wound on and there were clearly more people filtering in I imagine it was pretty happening.