MBTA Plans Concert Series To Ease Construction Tension

In an effort to calm harried pedestrians unnerved by the contruction in Harvard Square, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) will sponsor a series of Saturday afternoon concerts on top of the Out of Town News kiosk this fall.

The MBTA is also hiring artists to paint murals as well as planning a series of "environmental artworks" such as ice sculpture, to decorate subway areas and "alleviate some of the tensions of the contructions," Jennifer A. Dowley, director of the beautification program, said yesterday.


Artists have already painted murals on plywood barriers at two of the stations under construction in Cambridge, and further projects are planned, Dowley said.

She added that murals and sculpture, made out of durable material to protect against vandalism, will soon decorate every station along the Red Line extension route.


The program, called "Arts on the Line," is sponsored by the Cambridge Arts Council and MBTA, but much of the support for the project comes from volunteers. Sheldon Cohen, the owner of Out of Town News, donates his roof for the concerts, and the Harvard Coop stores the sound equipment from week to week.

There are a few drawbacks to playing in the Square, members of the Guru Blanket Band, said Saturday.

"I was afraid we'd get asphyxiated from the car fumes," Butch F. Waner, guitarist with the band, said.

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