August 29, 2008

Tragedy at Forest Hills: Sculpture Stolen

Many people have already heard the devastating news about the theft of several works of contemporary sculpture from Forest Hills this August. The works stolen were: Garden's Edge (known fondly as the rabbit by the lake) by Tim Cherry; Seated Ceres a charming goddess of the harvest by Kahlil Gibran; and Bark Balls by Carol Spack, a group of three spheres suggestive of tree spirits and sited under the landmark weeping beech near the cemetery's main entrance. All of these works were made of bronze; we believe they were stolen for the value of their materials and sold to a scrap yard to be melted down.

This is a terrible loss for the artists, Forest Hills and the greater Boston community. We have received many calls from visitors who loved these works – familiar favorites from strolling in these beautiful grounds. Both Bark Balls and Garden's Edge were featured in the Trust's Family Guide, and particularly loved by children.

We have posted a $3,000 reward for information leading to recovery but are not optimistic. Because of the way it was fabricated, Seated Ceres is irreplaceable. Sadly, Kahlil Gibran passed away this year and the sculpture was part of his legacy; he is buried at Forest Hills. We are exploring the possibility of commissioning new versions of the other two works. The Cemetery has upgraded its security procedures and will install security cameras at the two main entrances. Fearing more thefts, we have decided to remove the most vulnerable small bronze pieces remaining on the Sculpture Path.

Alert visitors remain one of the most important guardians we have for the many treasures here. If you are ever at Forest Hills and see anything suspicious, do not hesitate to report it.

If you are interested in supporting the replacement of these works, please contact Nini Colmore, our Director of Development, at 617.524.0128. We would be grateful for your help.

August 28, 2008

A Carpenter Poem

On September 14th at 2 pm, Jamaica Plain's Carpenter Poets are performing in Forsyth Chapel, which one of the poet referred to as "a carpenter's dream." In reading about the poets and their work, I came across this wonderful poem by Bill Thibodeau, entitled "Carpenter's Answer." Enjoy.

Carpenter's Answer

As a boy I would sit in a tree by a stream
Pretending the cherries were stars in my dream
And I was the Master on far-away seas
On the deck of my ship in a tropic night breeze.
But there came a day when that tree felt the axe,
And there was that stream that my youth could not pass.
I gave up the sea for the family trade
The hammer and nail - the bit and the blade.
My father bequeathed me his knowledge and name
He was his own man - would I be the same?
What shall I make now I'm given these tools-
Shall I build me a bridge - with hammer and rule?
Will I then cross that stream to the opposite side-
Fording stream after stream with the sun as my guide?
Will I make that far seaport while day is still young
Will I be aboard when the lanterns are hung?
Or will I search in these fields for my foundation stone
Would contentment be found in what others have known?
Would I build me a house bound by water and wood
Mortised and tenoned as post and beam should?
Plaster and lathe and colonial shakes
Yellow pine floors - cut nailed to the face?
Would I find me a woman whom I could lay claim to
And then build us a child that we'd pin our name to?
Could I build us a hope and a dream wrought in rhyme
And set it to music in the happiest time
Then dance to that tune with my woman and son
In my heart, in my arms, once the deed had been done?
Would I build me a gate to my white picket yard-
With a swing on a limb and Collie on guard?
Would the universe bloom with my cherry tree
For my son in the way that it once did for me?
And once I've carved out a world from this spherical stone
Which spins in the ether - its substance unknown
Can I live with the thought that I never will touch
What is sacred to drifters and dreamers and such?
And would a day ever pass - that I would not ache
For the sea - once I'd built my home on this lake?
Then I see that boy on a swing - and my wife...
I take a deep breath and say: "This is my life."

Taken from the collection Break Time by the Carpenter Poets of Jamaica Plain (2007) edited by Joseph Bergin.

August 15, 2008

Sculpture Parks, Earthworks and Sculpture Shadowboxes!

Dorchester Place took full advantage of Forest Hills Summer Discovery Program, and we are glad they did! Bringing three different groups of engaging, creative and quick-witted youths, Dorchester Place's students discussed sculpture, nature and the unending possibilities of contemporary art. Their tours and discussions culminated in earthwork sculptures inspired by the modern pieces Lithe and Sunflower House, miniature sculpture parks using a variety of materials, cooperation and imagination, and an exciting indoor activity (due to rain) that allowed the students to become lasting pieces of sculpture themselves thanks to costumes, a camera, printer and shadowboxes.

Click here to see their Sculpture Parks

Here for Earthworks

And here for Sculpture Shadowboxes!

Writers Express at Forest Hills Summer Discovery!

Writers Express, a program that helps students develop their writing skills, came to Forest Hills for a morning of learning, beauty and creative inspiration. The morning began with some marimba playing and a tour, starting with the dramatic Milmore Memorial at the entrance gate of the cemetery. "What story is this sculpture telling? What emotions do you see on the figures' faces? What is the relationship between the two figures?" The tour continued with a discussion of art, symbolism, sacred spaces and nature. At the end while sitting in a shady and serene spot, students had a chance to express something, someone or someplace that was sacred to them through writing or drawing. They then folded and decorate this paper to create a Spirit Flyer, which they energetically flew off the bridge. At the end of the activity, their teachers led them in a writing exercise about their Forest Hills experience. Click here for pictures!

August 4, 2008

Summer Discovery at Forest Hills!

Each summer Forest Hills welcomes hundreds of Boston's urban youth to experience the cemetery's history, nature, art and serenity. For six weeks from early July to mid August, Monday through Friday, Forest Hills welcomes students with a program of interactive tours and art activities led by professional art educators. In these pictures Bridget Matros, a seasoned art educator from the Boston Children's Museum, reveals the wonders of the Milmore Memorial, and a student finds inspiration in the modern sculpture work, Spirit Vessels.
Click here to view more pictures from Forest Hill's Summer Discovery Program!