“The continuously-lit piece begins its city-wide journey at the East Boston Social Center, where the city’s early immigration centers were located, and will move onto other diverse neighborhoods.”
We’ve had an eye on the public art organization Now + There and its remarkable mural work for a minute, and have just learned that three projects by up-and-coming local artists in their accelerator are being unveiled this week—all in East Boston. They are:
Eli Brown’s installation, Beam Me Down, is an unidentified flying object (UFO) that will be at LoPresti Park jetty, a former tidal flat in East Boston. This piece is meant to play on the power and wonder of the unknown, asking the audience to consider relationships with some of the smallest life sustaining animals.
Yu-Wen Wu’s light-based installation, We Belong, is a continuously lit, eight-foot circular sculptural art form that maps and connects Boston neighborhoods through constellations and is intended to promote ideas of belonging and inclusion among immigrant communities in Boston.
Rhea Vedro’s bird-inspired sculptural workbench, Amulet, will be up for a month where artist Vedro invites the community to explore the intersection of materiality and community.
According to Now + There, “Beam Me Down is meant to play on the power and wonder of the unknown and asks viewers to consider relationships with some of the smallest animals that sustain life at the water’s edge and what they can teach about navigating rising seas. It is one of several installations that will be going up this summer as part of Now + There’s Accelerator program, bringing site-specific, temporary public art works to all neighborhoods of Boston.”
“I wanted to focus on the feeling of encountering the unknown, because it’s something we’re all facing right now as resources become more unstable and we come up against the dilemma of who is going to save us from ourselves,” Brown, who identifies as a trans artist, said in a media release which noted, “By featuring hermaphroditic creatures at the helm, Brown hints at the lessons we can learn from human and non-human queer life about adaptation and survival.” The artist continued, “But it’s also been a huge part of my life as a trans person. And so the UFO as this universal symbol of ‘the other’ can serve to raise questions we are thinking through as a species, while also being a playful object for all ages.”
Regarding We Belong, the curators said, “With the intent to promote ideas of belonging and inclusion among immigrant communities in Boston, Now + There Public Art Accelerator Artist Yu-Wen Wu has created a light-based public art installation that debuts in East Boston by July 13. In LED neon, the work forms the text ‘We Belong, here, together, guided by the same stars’ in an eight-foot circular sculptural art form with a constellation that maps and connects Boston’s neighborhoods.”
Furthermore, “The continuously-lit piece begins its city-wide journey at the East Boston Social Center, where the city’s early immigration centers were located, and will move onto other diverse neighborhoods across Boston in the future.”
“Two years in the making, We Belong is an exciting push for my practice in public art and another opportunity to experiment with light-based media,” Wu said. “I am so excited to bring the installation to East Boston, a neighborhood with vibrant culture, tight-knit community, and important history. I hope the work will help to initiate dialogue on belonging and inclusion among all communities in Boston.”
Amulet, meanwhile, by artist Rhea Vedro, “is a three-phased project exploring the intersection of materiality and community. Earlier this spring, Vedro launched a series of workshops with community partner, Veronica Robles Cultural Center, and other East Boston stakeholders. Participants were asked to focus on a positive intention and then use a hammer to pound ‘wishmarks’ into steel panels.”
“Vedro’s Amulet is now coming to the East Boston waterfront as a sculptural workbench constructed from wood, concrete, steel, copper, and hammers. All are invited to stand at an imagined portal where land meets sea and hammer their wishes into a metal panel on top of the bench. … The project will culminate in Boston’s renovated City Hall Plaza as bird-inspired steel sculptures over 16-feet high, incorporating the metal wishmarks contributed by the public over the previous year. The commissioned sculpture is intended to serve as a guardian sentinel for the moving energy of the city.”
“I’m exploring the lineage of humankind’s relationship with metal, its alchemies, and material properties,” Vedro said. “The physicality of moving vision into form through metalsmithing can be a small-embodied experience of affecting change on a material level – a metaphor for our agency to transform our realities.”