Our new public art installation “What Do We Have In Common?” is now open through October 22 near Parkman Bandstand.

On September 22, the Friends of the Public Garden, Now + There, the City of Boston, Boston Parks and Recreation, and artist Janet Zweig introduced the installation to the public at a well attended opening ceremony. Friends President Liz Vizza shared a land acknowledgement statement, and Boston Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods highlighted the city and the Friends commitment to greenspace.

Friends President, Liz Vizza introduced the project,

As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations, the pandemic delayed this project by a year, but has also deepened the significance of this question. As we work to emerge from this difficult time that has forced us to distance in so many ways, what are the things that bring us together? How do we care for common resources that belong to every one of us, places that have given us such a healing respite over this last year and a half? In a time of climate change, calls for racial justice and Pandemic recovery, celebrating what we have in common is more vital than ever. It is our hope and our invitation that this interactive art installation will spark your curiosity, will surprise you and will help you see the familiar in new ways.

Commissioner Ryan Woods spoke eloquently about our partnership caring for these shared greesnspaces. Now + There Executive Director Kate Gilbert outlined the process and the importance of public art in our parks and in the city. Chief of Environment, Air and Open Space, Reverend Mariama White Hammond shared,

“In a moment where we’ve been reckoning with questions of who are nation is, and who our nation should be, and in a time where the very balance of mother earth is at risk – where she is calling us to change from a way of being that is threatening our survival to something that is far more sustainable.”

She encouraged all Boston residents to think about the questions posed by the installation and what they mean for the Common and our communities.

Zweig revealed her thought process in creating the piece.

“This project gave me the opportunity to go down a rabbit hole of a fascinating subject that I hope you’ll all become familiar with: common resources and the practice of commoning….Some of those things mentioned in the questions on the glowing markers. These include all those things that might belong to no one, That might belong to anyone and that might belong to everyone.”

At the end of the opening, there was a moving performance of. Cassandre Charles’ “Transformative Uncertainty” performed by local members of the Boston Dance Alliance‘s Dance and Disability cohort, presented by Monkeyhouse’s Covid Collaborations. Attendees also enjoyed a guided tour of the installation, and the opportunity to meet and speak with the artist.