Art in Bird Park inspires community

Diane Scotti, Ora Maguire, and Maura O’Gara celebrate the grand opening of Art in the Park. Photos by Laura Drinan

By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter

While nature is certainly a work of art in and of itself, Walpole’s community members hatched an idea to enhance the beauty of Bird Park by combining art and literature with the park’s abundance of nature.

On June 9, the community gathered at the park for the grand opening of Art in the Park “Read All About It!”, a temporary 3D art installation inspired by books. The afternoon began with a ribbon cutting ceremony, and plenty of activities followed, including painting kindness rocks, folding origami, creating a community art installation, storytimes, and a tour of each of the park’s installations.

James Marshall’s George and Martha were just two literary characters making an appearance at Bird Park’s ‘Read All About It!’ art installation.Photos by Liz Hand Connolly

James Marshall’s George and Martha were just two literary characters making an appearance at Bird Park’s ‘Read All About It!’ art installation.Photos by Liz Hand Connolly

“One of the most fabulous things about this park is that it’s enjoyed by tens of thousands of people every year – young people and old people with different interests and backgrounds,” said Maura O’Gara, Bird Park’s event and program manager.

“It’s a beautiful community resource. So, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with two other wonderful community resources: the Walpole Public Library and the Council on Aging.”

Less than a year ago, Ora Maguire from Walpole’s Council on Aging got in contact with Maura, asking about her feelings towards installing art in the park. Ora had previously spoken to Diane Scotti, a Walpole-based artist and board member of the Friends of the Walpole Public Library, and the two immediately bonded over the idea to incorporate art into Bird Park’s fabulous trails and green spaces.

13-year-old Nolan Hasenjaeger selected Adams’ ‘Watership Down’ as the subject of his installation. Photos by Liz Hand Connolly

13-year-old Nolan Hasenjaeger selected Adams’ ‘Watership Down’ as the subject of his installation. Photos by Liz Hand Connolly

“I just loved Diane’s vision of having a community art exhibit for all ages inspired by books,” Maura said, noting Bird Park’s new reading room, located near the playground.

The artists range from eight years old to 94 years old and created pieces of art inspired by stories and books like “George and Martha,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Frog Prince,” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.”

“This project has been a dream of mine for many, many years,” said Diane, describing all of the efforts over the past years to get the project going as a “labor of love.”

She also took a moment to thank Ora, who had humbly insisted that it was the work of those around her that had made Art in the Park possible.

Lea Songin’s installation inspired by Dr. Seuss’s ‘One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish’ offers creative ideas on how to recycle plastic containers. Photos by Laura Drinan

Lea Songin’s installation inspired by Dr. Seuss’s ‘One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish’ offers creative ideas on how to recycle plastic containers. Photos by Laura Drinan

“Ora would like you to think that she had done nothing to contribute to this endeavor,” Diane said, “but nothing could be further from the truth. If it were not for Ora, I would have never made the effort to make my dream a reality.”

The installations will be at Bird Park, and five of them will be at the Walpole Public Library’s garden until August 11.

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