Town Green and Backyard
February 23-April 30, 2004
Opening: Thursday, March 4, 2004
Artist talk: 4:00 pm
Premiere screening of a film produced by City TV8 about the making of Town Green: 4:45 PM.
Reception: 5:30 - 7:30 PM.
CAC tour of Town Green and Backyard: Thursday, March 11, 2004
6:30 - 7:30 PM
Mission statement as Muse? Yes. Artist Mike Glier (www.williams.edu/Art/glier) went straight to mission statements of five City of Cambridge departments for inspiration for Town Green, his mural cycle for the soon-to-be-reopened City Hall Annex built in 1871. According to Lillian Hsu of the Cambridge Arts Council Council (www.cambridgeartscouncil.org), which commissioned Glier to create the wall paintings, "Mike Glier's permanent public art for the Cambridge City Hall Annex is conceptually tied to the function and mission of the building. His evocative paintings are derived from the mission statements of the City departments that will occupy the building - Community Development; Traffic, Parking and Transportation; Arts Council; Animal Commission; and the Conservation Commission. He structured his paintings around four themes: Transparency, Flow, Growth, and Pleasure. The images depict urban views: birds and roses; porch vines climbing the walls; a girl lying in the grass, reading; a view from above of office workers on a coffee break. These murals cover four large walls in the building's two-story atrium and transform the space into an indoor 'garden.'"
According to Glier, "I enjoy looking closely at things that are very near and celebrating them. Sometimes I think this simple act of looking carefully at the surrounding world is the most profound thing an artist can do." Glier has had solo exhibitions in New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Drawing Center in New York. His work has been in numerous group exhibitions at such institutions as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art. The Annex will be his first work in the Boston area.
Hsu's comment that "Mike's murals - known collectively as Town Green - fill the space with a visualization of the word "Green" as it is used in the phrase 'Green building'" is a direct reference to the Annex's rebirth as a valuable public showcase of renewable energy technologies, much of which is funded by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), the state's development agency for renewable energy and the innovation economy. MTC manages the Renewable Energy Trust, which is an essential part of the state's strategy to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources by encouraging the use of renewable resources such as wind and solar power. Rounding out the restoration/renovation team with the City of Cambridge, the Arts Council and MTC are HKT Architects and Consigli Construction. HKT, a Somerville based architectural firm, is most well known for its mission-driven green design for municipalities and institutions. HKT clients include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Trustees of Reservations, and the Massachusetts State College Building Authority, as well as dozens of cities and towns throughout Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Consigli, an almost 100 year old New England construction firm based in Milford, has been receiving accolades for its leadership in environmental practices in the construction industry, specifically for its construction waste recycling program.
Rich Rossi, Cambridge deputy city manager, couldn't be more pleased with the project. "The City of Cambridge has long been a leader in municipal innovations, including best practices in environmental planning, urban design and public art. Such innovations enhance the city's longstanding tradition of providing the highest quality of services to its residents."
The building will be open to the public in early 2004. The murals were commissioned by the City of Cambridge through the Cambridge Arts Council's Public Art Program. Visit www.cambridgeartscouncil.org