The current investment in contemporary public art along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway suggests a new kind of leadership and vision for how art can animate and sometimes transform a place (“A whirl of public art for the Greenway,” Page A1, June 25). There are many ways in which artists work in the public domain, and while the recent Dewey Square murals and the planned aerial sculpture on the Greenway are shape-shifting and spectacular, there is a smaller project planned in Ashland, which was also awarded an ArtPlace grant.
“Illuminating Futures: Ashland, Massachusetts” is using creative place-making to tackle a difficult subject: the Nyanza Superfund site, which has had a detrimental effect on the physical and emotional life of the town. Using color and light, a garden, and creative communication about the risks of the site, artist Dan Borelli aims to stimulate a renewed sense of stewardship of the land. Through this public art project, the community’s focus can shift from environmental degradation to resilience and the promise of regeneration.
Creating a community asset out of a problematic history is a difficult, but deeply valuable, use of art in the public domain.