Client: Boston Public Works/ Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture
Location: Boston, MA, United States
Completion date: 2019
BETA Group, Inc.
Boston Public Works
Public Art Agent
Boston Art Commission
North Square Stories comprises a cycle of four bronze sculptures in hardscaped quadrants. The sculptures are intimate focal points meant to be experienced at close range. All of the sculptures are placed site-specifically and derive meaning from their orientations and relationships to features in and around North Square. The sculptures include maritime references in recognition of North Square’s deep ties to the sea that surrounds it. All take advantage of the physical space of the Square and its historic features; each sculpture gives us a big view from a small space.
In collaboration with the City of Boston and the North End community, A+J Art+Design developed a series of four sculptures to create an intimate and uniquely North End sculptural gallery. North Square Stories melds the Square’s multi-layered history with its contemporary use.
A J used a range of technologies and fabrication methods in the four sculptures. The relief sculpture, 1798 North Square View was sculpted directly in clay. What We Brought With Us was sculpted in clay with CNC milled buildings, and it includes found objects as well as luggage labels drawn by local elementary school students. North End Story Map was created initially through digital processes with hand finishing work, and Fantastical Historical Nautical Instrument was mainly CNC milled with some additional hand sculpted elements. All sculptures include braille titles, and there is additional braille in the map key.
Subjects and motifs include a relief sculpture of an 18th century panorama of North Square with early Boston Harbor and pre-industrial city skyline beyond; a neighborhood map highlighting contemporary North End features and the stories of some who have lived here; a suitcase containing a North Square street festival which includes a window with a view to a distant time and place; and a fantastical nautical instrument with local history to be discovered through special anamorphic scopes.