October 4 2016

Town Center Sculpture Trail Discussed Before Board of Selectmen

By: Rich Hosford

There is a proposal in the works to bring some more art to Burlington. 


Recreation Commission Chair Kristine Brown and Town Meeting Member Jonathan Sachs, both members of the Master Plan Steering Committee, gave a presentation to the Board of Selectmen on Monday night on the possibility of creating a sculpture trail in Burlington. 


A sculpture trail is a series of sculptures placed along a walkable path. Sachs said the members of the committee interested in the project had discussed a couple of options for where the path could lead. They settled on either down Center Street from the Human Services Building to about the Fire Department or down Cambridge Street from Mary Cummings Park to Church Lane. He said most of the feedback they had received was in favor of the Center Street location with the sculptures placed across the street from the Town Common. 


Sachs said one of the reasons the idea of the sculpture trail came up was due to a lack of public art in town. 


“When you mention Burlington to people outside of town they think ‘the mall,’ he said. “The arts are underrepresented in town. Also, Burlington is often fighting with places like Cambridge and Somerville for businesses and for the next generation we thought it would help if they thought it was the cool place with the sculptures. It would also just be great fun and kids would love it.” 


As for paying for the project, Sachs said there were a number of possible avenues. First, he said many sculptors are looking for places to show their work so the town might be able to get their pieces for a period of time for a modest fee. There is also the possibility of partnering with local businesses for either a sculpture-sharing program or for straight donations. 


He said the town could also partner with Burlington High School and other local art schools and show students’ work. 


As for the pieces themselves, he said they should look for sculpture that would be fun for most people and avoid obtaining anything controversial. 


“We want to ensure its not disturbing or provocative,” he said. “We want to have colorful items everyone can enjoy.”


He also said the trail could be administered by a public art committee or a commission with members from across the community and town government. He added this is early stages and there are still a lot of details to work out if there is interest in pursuing the idea. 


Members of the Board of Selectmen were receptive. 


“I think its something we should talk about,” Selectman Bob Hogan said. “It’s true that the town doesn’t have much of an arts community outside of the Playhouse.” 


“Short of forming an arts center I think you’re on track,” Selectman Mike Runyan said. “I support the concept and think we should continue the discussion.”

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