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VALENTE LIBRARY GARDEN

Completed in 2004, in conjunction with the Cambridge Street Improvements, Cambridge artist Judy Kensley McKie collaborated with landscape architects Carol R. Johnson Associates, Inc. to transform a fenced-in lawn next to the Valente Branch Library into a community-gathering place. The artist's idea of making the garden as natural as possible, with soft organic forms and an "urban wild" planting scheme, offers a respite from the heavy traffic along Cambridge Street. In line with her well-known functional animal sculptures, McKie created bronze benches for the space. Three friendly "Alley Cats" greet visitors to the garden with an offer to sit down for a while and read a book or chat with a neighbor. The landscape design also offers a space for small community gatherings and library events.

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McKie's sculptural furniture has been exhibited in museums internationally, including the American Crafts Museum, New York; Museum fur Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt, Germany; Museum of Applied Arts in Helsinki, Finland; and the Craft and Folk Museum in Los Angeles. In 1990, she had a two-person mid-carrier retrospective with her husband, painter Todd McKie, at the Rose Arts Museum at Brandeis University. Other important distinctions include Tiffany Foundation Award and two-times she has received the National Endowment for the Arts Craftsman's Fellowship.