Posts Tagged ‘fort point channel’

It’s getting chilly around here. Thirty degrees this morning. I’m getting wimpier about taking my walk outside and just go ’round and ’round indoors. I need to toughen up. The NY Times health columnist Jane Brody is older than I am and not only swims every day (vigorously, I’m sure) but walks five miles. Whoosh. I would have to walk back and forth to the high school — twice — to do five miles. It would take me half the day.

Here are photographs from the last couple weeks: shadows at the zoo, where my grandson ran into a friend he usually sees only in summer; milkweed and shadows; leaves casting shadows; an abandoned bird nest; overdevelopment reflecting on the waters of Fort Point Channel; and a burning sunset.





























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Today I sat on a shady bench next to Fort Point Channel and ate my Vietnamese noodles from the food truck. In front of me, floating on a green platform visited by cormorants, were two sheep — a big one and a small one. As the breeze and the tide nudged the platform, it turned slowly, showing the sculptures with different shadings and from different angles.

Steve Annear at the Boston Globe says, “The installation, called ‘Who Wears Wool,’ was created by artist Hilary Zelson, and pays homage to the Fort Point area’s former wool trade. … Earlier this year, FPAC [Fort Point Arts Community] put out a request for proposals seeking an artist who could weave together a prominent display connecting the neighborhood’s arts community with residents and visitors.  …

“For the project, Zelson said she layered EPS foam — or expanded polystyrene — to create the bodies of the sheep. The layers are held together with a spray adhesive, and the sheep are bolted to the dock with an armature of steel rods. Once built, the sheep were covered in packing peanuts to create the look of wool, before the entire thing was covered with a white acrylic latex coating …

“Zelson started working on the project in August. The first six weeks alone were dedicated to planning, she said.

“ ‘Once I was able to get the foam to my studio, I was working seven days a week,’ she said. ‘It was probably a 300-hour project.’ … The project — from the 3D renderings to the welding to the stacking of foam — was documented on Zelson’s Instagram account”

More here.

What I see in my photo are a ewe and a lamb — and cormorants.

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Last year my Wisconsin brother told me how he makes ice lanterns. (See post.) I really wanted to try my hand at this, but my first two attempts failed. Finally, yesterday, after 52 hours in the cold, my balloon produced a successful lantern. Psyched!

Among today’s other pictures is the Japanese Maple at my workplace, glorious in every season. The reflection photo was taken at Fort Point Channel in Boston. That ice is made of saltwater. If you live inland, you may not know that for saltwater to freeze, it has to be extra cold for an extra long time.

The construction scene is from the nearby Seaport area, which as everybody knows, is being recklessly overbuilt, given that it’s low-lying area exposed to hurricanes.

The gingerbread houses were at the Boston Society of Architects and featured Boston buildings, including the state house with its gold dome. The giant geometric snowballs in Dewey Square are courtesy of New American Public Art, about which, more anon.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam




















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One thing to do in a heat wave is to find someplace air conditioned.

So this morning my husband and I took our three-year-old grandson to the Boston Children’s  Museum, a magical and air-conditioned place that is celebrating its 100th year.

It was packed. Many other families had had the same idea.

We liked playing with the waterfall and pulling a rope that caused a tennis ball to shoot high in the air and cutting out leaves for an art collage and engaging in countless other playtime learning experiences.

Probably the only problem from the 3-year-old’s point of view was that  grandparents have such short attention spans.

We were also able to take in the Boston Fire Museum, which is close by. And before we left the area, we watched the tour boat White Pearl out of New Bedford spray hoses on a ghostly pirate ship in Fort Point Channel.


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If I come to work early, I often take a walk at lunch. I love the Greenway, which is especially nice in spring and summer. And the Fort Channel district (the Mayor likes to call it the Innovation District) seems to have something new to see almost every week — repurposed warehouses, galleries, restaurants, pocket parks.

Fort Point Arts got bumped from its space next to Flour (a yummy restaurant) on Farnsworth, so one lunchtime I made a point of checking out its new space off A Street.

I especially like that they show art depicting the Fort Point neighborhood — partly because walking there makes me attached to that part of Boston, and partly because Fort Point is changing fast. (About 18 years ago, when I went to an arts open house there, many artists had studios with beds on ledges and  tiny kitchens. Some artists were squatting in dangerous buildings with wires hanging down, no heat, no doors, no lighting. That world is gone.)

Laura Davidson was one of the featured artists when I was last in the Fort Point Arts shop. She had some block prints of her neighborhood that I admired.

Be sure to check her home page. Everyone should have a home page that looks like a treasure map.

Art:Endangered Neighborhood” reprint of 1995 view of Fort Point), 2012, Laura Davidson

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Brian sent me information about Higher Ground Farm, which is putting down roots on the roof of the Design Center in South Boston.

“A roof farm is a type of green roof. A green roof is a system of layers that is laid over an existing roof. A green roof is beneficial to a building owner and the community because it protects the existing roof, doubling to tripling its life, thereby saving money and keeping materials out of the landfill.

“Green roofs also reduce a building’s energy costs by insulating in the winter and cooling the rooftop in the summer. Finally, green roofs temper the effects of two common urban environmental problems – combined sewer overflow and the urban heat island effect.

“A series of roof farms throughout the city will capitalize on the environmental benefits of green roofs while also increasing access to fresh, healthy food. Higher Ground Farm will operate several roof farms throughout the greater Boston area, utilizing previously unused space while providing additional rental revenue to a building owner.

“Roof agriculture has the potential to be a job-producing boost to the economy, and a completely environmentally sustainable business sector that can set Boston apart from other cities. Higher Ground Farm will utilize the resources of our top-notch universities to study roof agriculture, which will position Boston as a leader in the field. Finally, Higher Ground Farm will be a space where our community can reconnect to productive green space and learn about sustainable city planning.” More.

I also found a video interview about it that you will like, here.

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According to wikipedia, “The term chimera has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals.” Which explains why it has been appropriated in genetics where it relates to the phenomenon of different creatures sharing T-cells.

Anyway, I have a brother who studies chimerism and its potential application for organ-transplant retention. I may not have this quite right, but I think if you could have enough of the cells of an organ donor in you when you get a transplant, you wouldn’t need to take antirejection drugs.

I had been trying to explain this to people when I decided to go out for a walk in Fort Point Channel. Eerily, this sign greeted me.


I think it’s an eclectic gift shop or interior decorator business.

Other signs and portents on the same walk related to Suzanne and Erik’s Year of the Dragon baby.

dragon on roof

dragon sculpture in fort point

Who is the dragon artist? I need to know more.

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Right outside my window at work is the rejuvenated Boston Tea Party Museum, which I watched rise from the ashes over a period of years.

On Sunday, December 16, there was a public reenactment of the original Boston Tea Party. A Boston Globe reporter got into the action:

“Upon entering the museum,” writes Christopher Klein, “we were given cards with brief biographies of actual Tea Party protesters, identities we would assume for the next hour. I realized I was dealt a bad hand as I read about my alter ego, John Crane, the Colonist caper’s lone casualty. After being knocked unconscious by a falling tea crate, Crane was thought to be dead and hidden by his compatriots under a pile of wood shavings in a nearby carpenter’s shop.
“He awoke hours later, however, and given a new lease on life, much like this museum itself, which was destroyed by a lightning strike in 2001 and set ablaze again in 2007 from sparks from a construction project on the Congress Street Bridge. Reborn after a $28 million makeover, the attraction features historically accurate replicas of two of the Tea Party ships, the Eleanor and the Beaver, which were modified from wooden fishing vessels.”
More at the Globe.

Photograph: Christopher Klein for the Boston Globe
Costumed volunteers at Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum where they toss crates of tea into the harbor.

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Today I walked down to 300 Summer St. for one of the Channel Café’s great lunches and to see the latest in the Fort Point Arts Community Gallery.

The exhibit, a touring show organized by Terra “Touria” Fuller, features unusual carpets woven by Zahra, a cave-dwelling nomad in Morocco, and Mouhou, a subsistence farmer.

Touria also created a documentary. In “Living with Barbarians and Cave Dwellers … Fuller moves to the pre-Saharan desert plains of Morocco from 2008-2010 and integrates into an Amazigh village and learns the survival skills necessary to live with a family of cave-dwelling nomads on the edge of the village. Over two years, she follows along and documents their lives. This is a rare look into a private and fiercely independent nomadic people made possible by the patient friendship Fuller built with the villagers and cave dwelling society.”

More about the Boston show here.

Touria also is bringing two master weavers on tour this year, and you can learn about that at Kickstarter.

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John and two college friends rented a motor boat in Fort Point Channel Friday to see the sights of Boston Harbor. But first they motored near my building so I could wave as they passed under this piece of public art.

The Mystic Scenic Studios site explains the art:

“A designer named Peter Agoos approached Mystic Scenic Studios with the idea of creating two life-sized human figures made of aluminum to hang above the Fort Point Channel in Boston.

“Mystic Metal’s, Mike Onischewski, fabricated the figures from an aluminum sheet; [they] were then covered with refractive dichroic film with the help of David Forshee, also of Mystic Scenic Studios.

“The piece was installed on July 2, 2012, with a team of 12 volunteers who worked from a small boat on the water and a scissor lift on land. The piece was strung from a 300-foot yellow tightrope between the Samson Post structure on Summer Street and the counterweight tower on Congress Street. The life-sized figures were counterbalanced on the rope and inspired by a classic articulated wooden artist’s manikin.”

Photograph: Mystic Scenic Studios

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I learned about an unusual artist today because I was following @FortPointArts on twitter. Her name is Heidi Kayser, and just when I no longer have an office with a view of Fort Point Channel, she has launched an art project on the water. Sigh.

Anyway, I went to her website and poked around. This blog entry from 2011 is a typically amusing one, and I think one of my readers may want to try the experiment:

“Sarah Rushford arrived today and we got right to work … The mission, as we chose to accept it, was to construct some sort of wearable platforms to hold the cameras on the back of my legs. Wonderful engineers that we are, Sarah and I  ingeniously came up with [contraptions] made of CD cases, zip ties, rubber bands, twine and alligator clips. …

“Sarah filmed me tramping across the beach. I filmed my ankles tramping across the beach. It was very surprisingly difficult to walk wearing the cameras — I couldn’t extend my knees very much, so finding balance in soft sand proved challenging but oddly meditative. My attention had to be focused on every step, otherwise I’d fall and damage the cameras.

“When we were nearly finished, the curious beach-goers who had been pretending to ignore me as I walked steadily and weirdly by them, came up to us and asked what we were doing.” Read more.

Photograph: Sarah Rushford

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I met Mary Driscoll in playwriting class last summer.

Mary has had a lifetime focus on social justice for marginalized people. She has traveled to foreign countries to work with refugees. For people with HIV, she has taught pilates and the healing art of telling one’s stories. She has performed with mission-oriented theater troupes. And she is the founder of  OWLL, On with Living and Learning, which helps ex-offenders build new lives after prison.

At Mary’s invitation, my husband and I found our way last night to what is a virtual artist colony in the long-abandoned but reemerging warehouse district of South Boston. In Mary’s loft apartment, one of the artists she has drawn into her orbit presented a wonderful cabaret show to raise money for OWLL’s production of Generational Legacy about mothers and children after prison.

Michael Ricca interpreted songs by Michel Legrand with great humor and feeling (including the theme song of our wedding, “What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life?”). Ricca is performing the songs and others by Legrand at Scullers in March.

My husband and I enjoyed talking to Mary’s guests  — artists, actors, musicians, social activists, old  friends. We’re especially keen to keep an eye on the doings of the Fort Point Theatre Channel in the Midway Studios building, where Mary  lives and works. The collaborative productions in the Black Box Theatre sound intriguing and offbeat. We like offbeat.

Phot0 Credit: OWLL

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The museum commemorating the real Boston Tea Party burned down a few years ago. Now a travel company has rebuilt it bigger and stronger in its Fort Point Channel location.

I like the history lesson at the museum, but the thing I am getting the biggest kick from is the weathervane: a teapot and steaming tea cups. If this isn’t the best weathervane ever, please send me your contenders. Click https://suzannesmomsblog.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2126&action=editto make the photos bigger.


Oh, wow! Just learned the weathervane is by Lizanne Jensen. Read about her at Fort Point Arts Community, here.

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At lunch I went across Fort Point Channel with my colleague Lillian to visit the Children’s Museum. We wanted to see the new exhibit called Boston Black.

It was very nicely done. Lillian was delighted to discover that her AME Zion church was featured in the history part, complete with stained glass Star of David (her church’s building was once a synagogue).

We played all the games but couldn’t seem to operate one that involved connecting circuits — probably because we are not kids. I definitely could have used a kid to remind me how to use the camera on my mobile phone, but Lillian figured out hers and took a photo of the museum’s rendering of her church. (You can’t see the Star of David in her picture, so have a look here at the actual church.)

In addition to the history section, there was a barber shop and hair salon that you could play in, a section on Boston-area Haitians, one on Cape Verdeans, a grocery store with play fruits and vegetables, a magazine stand, quizzes to help you learn about the different cultures, and so on.

One thing we hadn’t realized was that if you come to the Children’s Museum without a child, they hold onto your driver’s license or other picture I.D., and they give you a special pass to wear around your neck in case parents think you seem sketchy. I know I look disreputable, but Lillian is the soul of respectability. 🙂

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I wrote before about a program using the arts to help people in prisons get beyond the prisoner mindset. Here’s a similar story.

Michelle “Bankston, who has short, blond hair and a muscular build, has spent almost 20 years behind bars. She was incarcerated first at a medium-security facility here in Alabama, and then at a private prison in Louisiana (to relieve overcrowding, Alabama sends some inmates out of state), and finally here, at the Montgomery Women’s Facility, a sun-soused cluster of buildings on the outskirts of the capital city.

” ‘A while back I decided that I could either spend decades in the bunks, watching TV or playing cards,’ Bankston says, ‘or I could get out here and take the opportunity to write poetry and draw.’

“That she’s been given this opportunity to do her art is testament to the work of Kyes Stevens, an avuncular and outspoken educator, poet, and Alabama native. Since 2002, Ms. Stevens has headed The Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project (APAEP), which offers literature and art classes in a range of prisons across the state. The program is funded by Auburn University and an array of grants. The teaching staff consists of five Auburn-based instructors and a rotating cast of teaching fellows from the graduate creative-writing program at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Classes run for 14 weeks and are rigorously structured, like college courses, demanding a full commitment from students.”

Read the article in the Christian Science Monitor.

On a related note, I met a woman in my playwriting class who founded a nonprofit called On With Living and Learning, Inc. Mary Driscoll lives in the Fort Point Channel area of Boston and works with people who have been through the prison system. She uses theater to generate the catharsis that can result from their telling their stories and also to help them develop “job skills for the 21st century.” Read about her here. A script that Mary was working on in my playwriting class is now going to be made into an opera, with all sorts of helpers, like the Harvard-trained opera composer, the cabaret singer, and the reggae performer.

I can’t help thinking that when these creative people use their talents to help others, they are getting something special in return.

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