Larger-than-life daffodils set to bloom in the Seaport District

Courtesy of Trenton Duerksen

The Seaport is getting some bright flowers just in time for the Boston Marathon.

The district has commissioned a public outdoor art installation by Brooklyn-based artist Daniele Frazier. “20 Knots: Daffodils for Boston” will bring twenty 20-foot-tall, wind-inflated daffodils to Seaport Common from April 8-29.

“They’ll be installed in a pretty dense cluster, so I think it’s going to feel really kind of magical,” Frazier said by phone. “And when the wind blows, they all move in perfect unison with each other obviously, so I think that’s going to be kind of an amazing phenomenon to witness.”

“20 Knots” is the ninth art installation commissioned by the Seaport in recent years, part of an effort to define the developing neighborhood and connect it to the rest of the city, according to Debra Brodsky, the head of marketing for the Seaport. The latest exhibition is meant to coincide with the upcoming Boston Marathon and what it means for the city, especially in the years since the 2013 bombings.

One of Daniele Frazier's enormous daffodils from "The Giant Flowers in Highland Park" installation in New York.
One of Daniele Frazier's enormous daffodils from "The Giant Flowers in Highland Park" installation in New York.Courtesy of Daniele Frazier

“We were thinking, what would be another way to connect to this very important moment in Boston history? One that’s now even more sensitive than it might have been [several] years ago, for example, but with something that respects that but also gives it this sort of youthful invigoration,” Brodsky said by phone. “And it was like, how do we potentially have the biggest daffodils in Boston, so we can truly celebrate what this [symbolism] means to Boston in a visually interesting and accessible kind of way?”


With this goal in mind, the Seaport began exploring work by different artists, eventually discovering Frazier’s work. The 33-year-old artist originally created a “Giant Flowers” exhibition in Highland Park through the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Among the variety of flowers was a daffodil, which has become in recent years a symbol of the Boston Marathon and of the city’s resilience in the wake of the bombings.


Brodsky, who was a block away from the finish line when the bombs went off, recalled the prevalence of daffodils throughout the city following the terrorist attack. Diane Valle, a local resident, began the Marathon Daffodils movement, which brings various organizations together to provide approximately 130,000 daffodils along the Boston Marathon trail. The tradition has persisted ever since and, per Brodsky, daffodils have become a symbol of strength and unity.

“I learned of it very organically at the time and realized immediately that this flower had been kind of humanly attached to what happened,” she said, “and that it’s just literally blossomed ever since.”

Frazier has been hard at work constructing the massive daffodils in the past month. With her guidance, designs, and ideas, she has a team helping to build the structures ahead of the Boston debut along Seaport Boulevard.

“I think it’ll make people happy,” Frazier said of the installation. “I think it’ll be sort of emotional, because from my experience making these before, they sort of feel alive, because it highlights the element of the wind. This piece doesn’t work without the wind, without this uncontrollable ingredient. And so when you look at the piece, you realize: oh my gosh, there’s this other thing, this invisible thing here, and it creates a sense of contemplation.”

Lillian Brown can be reached at lillian.brown@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lilliangbrown.