Short Takes

A community arts group recently finished construction in Brattle Square of the first of four artworks planned for completion by next September.

Workers installed a 25-ft. brick sculpture designed by the late Anne Norton in front of the Wordsworth bookstore. The work, in an abstract modern style, depicts a "gateway pattern," according to Palles Lombardi, director of Cambridge Arts on the Line.

The four artworks--two sculptures and two murals--are part of a program funded by the National Urban Mass Transit Administration to "experiment with developing art planned specifically for the environment and cultural interests of a single community," Lombardi added.

The program expects completion of the remaining three works to coincide with the end of the MBTA's Red Line extension next year. Two murals will be located underground in the Harvard Square station, and the other sculpture will stand near Johnston Gate.

Lombardi said the Brattle Square work attempts to "draw a viewer's eye along the entire length of Brattle St., focusing ultimately on the site of the old MBTA stop."


But recent pedestrians could not immediately recognize the new sculpture, because it was surrounded by debris and fencing from nearby construction sites. Official dedication of the work will not come for several months, Lombardi explained.

In order to tailor the new works to community tastes, the program organized a three-person jury of art critics and artists and an advisory board of seven residents to select artists and designs, said John Chandler, Cambridge's director of public art.

One jury member said the untitled sculpture appealed to him because it has "attractive austere qualities of minimalist art without appearing cold and purely geometric. The sloping, gateway appearance seems to sensitize and smooth the sharp affect of the sculpture."

The Johnston Gate sculpture has been designed by Dmitri Hadzi, Studio Professor of VES. For the MBTA murals, artist Gyorgi Kepes has designed a stained-glass mural with an estimated 100-foot length, and Joyce Koslov has planned a ceramic mural.

National grants for the Arts on the Line program have expanded from the initial 1979 Harvard Square, Porter Square, and Davis station projects to include art development near 12 other MBTA stations. The project is funded by the Urban Mass Transit Administration.