Local / Focus

March 2017 Local/Focus Installation in the Tremont Street Window Highlighted a “Spot Color” Immersion Program in Chinese, French, Spanish or English for Young Children

Posted on March 14, 2017

A Local/Focus project in the Tremont Street window has replaced  the display of  Mystery and Thriller Books with a foreign-language immersion program for young children, called Language Together. The brainchild of local resident Germaine Choe, it proposes that the Spot Color Immersion Method taps the natural inclination of children to use their “language instinct” and learn a foreign language with ease, while  having fun.

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Choe started Chinese Together in 2012 as an after-school Chinese program for children aged three to eight, some classes for which took place in the South End library. The pedagogical findings from this “language lab” became the foundation for the Language Togetherapproach featured in the simply designed and colorful small books on display in the library’s Tremont Street window through March and early April. Choe, whose background is in educational publishing, developed Language Together with teachers and curriculum experts.  

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She previously worked at Living Language, the foreign language division of Penguin Random House, was director of marketing for Lightbulb Press, publisher of the Wall Street Journal financial guides, and managed international distribution for Harvard Business Publishing. She lives in the South End with her husband and two children.

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Local/Focus is sponsored by the Friends of the South End Library(FOSEL) to better connect the library to the South End community of artists, non-profits and creative entrepreneurs by featuring installations of their work in the library’s prominent Tremont Street windows. Since its start last year, the displays have included exhibits of handmade kites by Karen Watson (Throw Caution to the Wind); wire sculptures inspired by tales of Grimm and Edgar Allen Poe by local artist Will CorcoranSmiling Button girls’ dresses based on those in children’s tales; sustainable groundwater efforts of Library Park’s LightWellsby Michelle Laboy; photographs of poet portraits by Greg Jundanian; bird nest sculptures by Children’s Art Centrestudents with real bird nests provided by the Mass Audubon Nature Center in Mattapan; ceramic book sculptures by Lori Pease and folded books by Veronica Mueller; and a Thanksgiving and Holiday display by FOSEL volunteers.

 b Local/Focus installers Germaine Choe and Karen Watson in front of the Language Together exhibit

 bLocal/Focus installers Germaine Choe and Karen Watson in front of the Language Together exhibit

If you wish to propose an installation of your own that would be of interest to the larger South End community, please contact head librarian, Anne Smart, at asmart@bpl.org, or call 617 536-8241.

The South End Library's Local/Focus Holiday Window Display Encourages You to "Make Tracks to the Library" and Enjoy the Holiday Season

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The 2016 Holiday Local/Focus display in the Tremont Street window of the South End library has for its theme, Making Tracks to the Library. It's another brainchild of FOSEL board member Karen Watson, who was inspired by a playful set-up of painted car tires she saw somewhere else. Barry Steinberg, of Direct Tire, graciously selected five old wheels for the project. Volunteers Liane Crawford and Maura Flaherty painted them. Thrift store finds and greens cut from backyards and fields were combined with holiday craft and culinary books from the library's collection. Gently used bows from other lives were dusted off and refashioned onto the refurbished tires.

m The SE library's Tremont St window at night, with Will Corcoran's wire sculpture installation.

mThe SE library's Tremont St window at night, with Will Corcoran's wire sculpture installation.

 The Friends of the South End Library (FOSEL) has used the library's grand windows on Tremont Street to connect local artists, creative entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations to the South End branch. Since the beginning of 2016, the windows have  featured a range of displays reflecting the rich and varied residents and institutions in the neighborhood. They including exhibits by local wire sculptor, Will Corcoran; cheerful children's dresses inspired by nursery rhymes, hung by Caroline Leed, owner of the South End on-line enterprise Smiling Buttons; a show of bird nests by the Boston Nature Center's Mattapan bird sanctuary combined with artistic bird nests created by the children enrolled in the USES Children's Art Centre on Rutland Street; and featuring as well a talk by local birding celebrity, Ray Brown, the talk show host of Talkin' Birds in an evening talk about bird migration.,

One of the first was displays by Caroline Leed, the owner of South End's Smiling Button

One of the first was displays by Caroline Leed, the owner of South End's Smiling Button

Ceramic artist, Lori Pease, showed her work in the summer of 2016.

Ceramic artist, Lori Pease, showed her work in the summer of 2016.

Earlier this year, the windows featured an installation about Michelle Laboy and Joshua Fiedler's award-winning LightWells now on display in Library Park, explaining the role they play in sustainable groundwater efforts. We also showcased a powerful photography exhibit of poet portraits by Greg Jundanian that was accompanied by a poetry slam event with standing-room-only crowd.

Finally, an exhibit artists' ideas based on the form of the book: ceramic book covers and books by Cambridge artist Lori Pease; folded book art by New Hampshire librarian Veronica Mueller; and, in November, a Thanksgiving window display by FOSEL board members.

If you know of someone who'd like to used the windows for a display of interest to the South End community, please contact head librarian, Anne Smart, at asmart@bpl.org or 617 536-8241.

A Thanksgiving window display by FOSEL's board members

A Thanksgiving window display by FOSEL's board members

If you know of someone who'd like to used the windows for a display of interest to the South End community, please contact head librarian, Anne Smart, at asmart@bpl.org or 617 536-8241. 

A Record Crowd Came to Hear Nine Poets Whose Portraits Are on Local/Focus Display in the South End Library's Windows And Delivered Mesmerizing Performances of Poems and HipHop

John Pinkham
John Pinkham

Last month's LocalFocus installation in the South End library's windows of Gregory Jundanian's Poet Portraits brought in a large crowd on October 6, when the poets featured in the display treated the audience to their exciting, sometimes raw, but always original take on contemporary culture. Jundanian,  an emerging artist and frequenter of Boston area poetry slams, described his photography series as a "visual open mike" where poets transcribe words on the photographs taken in places that were of significance to them.

Greg Jundanian's Poet Portraits installation in the SE library's window
Greg Jundanian's Poet Portraits installation in the SE library's window

Jundanian introduced each poet by pointing to their pictures pinned up on the community room wall, and encouraged the audience to attend poetry events by saying how much fun the slams were. He singled out the "house slams" at Haley House Cafe in Dudley Square every other Friday as a place "where people bare their souls" about sexuality, abuse, poverty, race, and mental illness. "The poetry, good and bad, is accepted and supported," he added.

Krysten Hill
Krysten Hill

Before he turned to photography, Jundanian was a cab driver, a bonds salesman, firefighter and glassblower. He is currently founder and president of Three Squares New England, an organization raises funds to combat hunger in Massachusetts.

Lakiyra (Oompa) Williams
Lakiyra (Oompa) Williams

Among those reading were DiDi Delgado, currently a host of the SOUPed Up Poetry Slam at the Dudley Cafe and recipient of the2015 Jack Powers Stone Soup Savor award. She was joined by  Krysten Hill, who is a recipient of the 2016 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist award; Valerie Loveland, Lakiyra (Oompa) Williams, a Roxbury hip-hop artist and member of Flatline Poetry; April Penn, John Pinkham, Salem poet Oliver Prato, Allegra Thaler, and Tim Velsor.

Oliver Prato
Oliver Prato

Jundanian's photo exhibit, which will end this week, is the fifth in the South End library's Local Focus series which connects local artists, creative entrepreneurs and non-profits to the South End community by means of window installations. Jundanian's photos are available for sale; a portion of the proceeds will be used for the library's programming.

Photographer Greg Jundanian's Installation of Poet Portraits Will Be Celebrated With A Poetry Slam by the Poets featured in the Exhibit on Thursday, October 6 at 6:30 PM

Poster design by Mary Owens
Poster design by Mary Owens

On Thursday, October 6, at 6:30 PM,  nine poets will read at the South End library to celebrate the exhibit of photographer Greg Jundanian's Boston Poetry Series, portraits he took of the bards while visiting local poetry slams. Those reading include DiDi Delgado, Krysten Hill,Valerie Loveland, Oompa, April Penn, John Pinkham, Oliver Prato, Allegra Thaler, and Tim Velsor.  The October exhibit is the fifth Local Focus display this year. It is sponsored by the Friends of the South End Library to utilize the library's grand windows on Tremont Street and showcase work of local artists, non-profits and creative entrepreneurs. We serve refreshments. Seating is limited.

Greg Jundanian is an emerging artist focused on portraits and self-selected communities, however loosely defined. Born into an Armenian family largely defined by its history and traditions, Jundanian wondered what could have been if its past  had been different? These questions led him to explore other social groups, characterized by various common denominators. He describes his Boston Poetry Series, on display in the South End library windows, as a "visual open mike" based on a collaboration with poetry slammers in which the poets transcribe words onto the photographs. It is the story about a self-defined community, a place where an individual poet can receive the support to explore issues of identity critical to his or her poetic expression.

Boston Poetry Project by Greg Jundanian
Boston Poetry Project by Greg Jundanian
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A former cabdriver, bond salesman, firefighter and glassblower, Jundanian is also the founder and president of Three Squares New England, an organization focused on increasing awareness and fundraising towards battling hunger in Massachusetts. Additional exhibits of Jundanian's work scheduled for the fall include the PH21 Gallery in Budapest (Hungary); the Nave Gallery in Somerville, MA; the Atlanta Photography Group in Atlanta GA; and the Griffin Photography Museum in Winchester, MA.

Jundanian's photographs on display at the library are available for sale. Thirty percent of each sale will be donated to the South End library to benefit its programming.

Ray Brown, "Talkin' Birds" Radio Host and NPR "Weekend Edition" Contributor, Will Present a Slide Show about Bird Migration, Thursday, September 22, at 6:30 PM, to accompany a Local/Focus Window

Poster design by Mary Owens

Poster design by Mary Owens

Next Thursday, September 22, at 6:30 PM, the South End branch will be open to host a remarkable slide show by Talkin' Birds show host, Ray Brown, whose illuminating bird commentary is a regular feature on NPR's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon on Saturday mornings. Brown, who also is a radio host on the classical music station WCRB and a well-known WGBH-TV and radio fundraiser, is a longtime South End resident. In The Magic of Migration, he will answer what he imagines may be among your birding questions: Why do birds migrate? How do they decide when — and where — to go? How do they find their way? And, is it true that one bird species has been known to fly more than 7,000 miles…non-stop? Brown will also address the many threats to birds, both during migration and on their breeding and wintering grounds, and what we can all do to help birds survive.

Urban birding display with nests made by birds and by students at the Children's Art Centre
Urban birding display with nests made by birds and by students at the Children's Art Centre

The bird-migration slide show accompanies the Urban Birding exhibit currently on display in the Tremont Street window of the South End library, a collaboration between USES's  Children's Arts Centre on Rutland Street and Mass. Audubon's Boston Nature Center (BNC). The latest Local Focus project is the fifth one sponsored by FOSEL to showcase local artists, creative entrepreneurs and non-profits in the library's prominent window spaces. For the September exhibit, students in the CAC Vacation Arts program visited the Mattapan bird sanctuary on the former grounds of Boston State Hospital, and studied birds and the ways in which they build and maintain their nests. Inspired by their visit, the children made their own nests from natural and studio materials. Their creations, as well as nests made by actual, birds are featured in the library window.

The event is free. We serve refreshments. Seating is limited. The South End library is fully handicapped accessible. 

Mass Audubon is generously offering reduced-rate annual memberships to the South End library's patrons, which provides free access to all Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries and a variety of other discounts. Membership forms are available at the library.

A New Window Display Showcasing the Image of the Book in Ceramics and Folded Art Will Be Installed This Week in the Library's Tremont Street Window as Part of its "Local Focus" Initiative

Lori Pease's earthenware book tile

Lori Pease's earthenware book tile

Since a board member of the Friends of the South End Library discovered the potential of the South End library's beautiful large windows as a community exhibit space earlier this year, the branch has showcased a range of displays.  Coming up next is a dual display in the Tremont Street window of the image of the book itself, one by a local ceramicist who used to work in publishing; the other, the town librarian of a small public library in New Hampshire who wanted to do something more creative with the to-be-discarded books, and learned how to fold them into paper sculptures. (The local connection is that a FOSEL board member also volunteers at the NH library.)

New Hampshire librarian Veronica Mueller's folded books

New Hampshire librarian Veronica Mueller's folded books

Ceramic books for artful decoration, by Lori Pease

Ceramic books for artful decoration, by Lori Pease

Lori Pease was for many years the design director for a local literary publishing house, Zoland Books, but has since worked with the image of the book in clay, using the book's texture, form and color as her inspiration. Pease's clay books can be hung on the wall, used as coasters or book ends, or arranged in decorative groupings. Veronica Mueller, the town librarian in Warren, NH, began to practice folding books after a seeing a picture of it on the Internet. She has given classes to adults and children, and folds books upon requests for special occasions. They make unique gifts for friends and family who want names or messages folded into the books, she explains. "The only tools required are old books without value, a pencil, a ruler, graph paper, and depending upon the design, a bone folder. There is no cutting or gluing involved," she says.

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The Local Focus initiative was formerly called Window Take-over. It is meant to use the library windows as a showcase for local artists, non-profits and entrepreneurs and has to be compatible with the library's mission to serve and inform the communityAll inquiries are welcome and should be directed to Anne Smart, head librarian of the branch.

The Friends of the South End Library are finalizing simple guidelines, which will be available at the library as soon as they are completed. Price lists of any items for sale are at the circulation desk. Thirty percent of Lori Pease's ceramics will be rebated to the South End library to support its programs.

South End Library's Fourth Local/Focus Window Project Features Library Park's Award-winning LightWells, Recently Beautified by the UrbGardens Landscape Firm "As A Gift to the Neighborhood"

The latest SE library window display, featuring an explanation of the artistic and groundwater components of Library Park's LightWells
The latest SE library window display, featuring an explanation of the artistic and groundwater components of Library Park's LightWells

The FOSEL initiative to use the windows of the library window as a showcase for local artists, non-profits and creative entrepreneurs currently features an illustration and explanation of the two groundwater/filtration LightWells that became part of Library Park last year. Michelle Laboy, assistant professor of architecture and urban planning at Northeastern, created the LightWell project with her associates Seth Wiseman and Joshua Fiedler. It was one of the winners of the Walsh administration’s 2014 Public Space Invitational competition.

SE library's window display at night, as seen from Tremont Street
SE library's window display at night, as seen from Tremont Street

For Laboy, a Chester Square resident, the solar-powered LightWells inspire several interpretations: as an art object, a seat, a planter, a light fixture, and a vegetated dry well for storm-water infiltration. The LightWells light up at night as a softly glowing art object with the energy collected by solar receptors installed on the library's roofs during the day. The window installation also shows an LED-lit version of the LightWells, which were enthusiastically approved for Library Park by the South End's Landmark Commission. Two weeks ago, local landscape company UrbGardens generously planted and landscaped around their two locations in the park as a gift to the library and the neighborhood. A previous, and equally generous donation of plantings and landscaping by Mahoney's Garden Center fell victim to a harsh winter followed by a summer of drought.

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Since it was initiated by FOSEL board member Karen Watson, an interior designer by profession, the Window Take-over project has brightened one of the many attractive window spaces in the library's building that was originally designed in the late 1960s by the prominent architectural firm, Mitchell GiurgolaThe first installation was a whimsical one of kites made of newspapers and construction tape, called Throwing Caution to the Wind. A local artist specializing in wire sculptures, Will Corcoran, took over the library windows in April and May with creations based on the tales of the Grimm Brothers and Edgar Allan Poe.

The wire sculptures were followed by a cheerful and spring-like display of summer dresses and books put together by local entrepreneur Caroline Leed. Her on-line business, Smiling Button, features girls' garb based on what is worn by characters in children's books. Leed donated a percentage of her dresses' June sales to the Reading Is Fundamental charitable foundation.

FOSEL is currently finalizing the guidelines for the project, working closely with head librarian, Anne Smart. The key element is that the exhibits are informative about the library, its mission,  and the community it serves. FOSEL board members are working on several potential installations of various themes, including the subject of urban birding, and how children acquire foreign language skills, among other things. All inquiries are most welcome and should be directed to Anne Smart at the South End library. Copies of the guidelines will be available at the circulation desk as soon as they are completed.

The South End Library's Local/Focus Window by SE firm Smiling Button Features Dresses Inspired by Children's Books Like "Eloise," "Make Way For Ducklings" and "Alice in Wonderland"

The large windows in the South End library will soon be showcasing a local small business, Smiling Button. The shop's owner, Caroline Leed, takes children's books as the inspiration for the products she sells --young girls' dresses-- and at the same time helps support the campaign for Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation's largest children's literacy organization. Smiling Button will donate 10 percent of its June revenue to RIF.

The South End Library's Window Take-over is Complete; Plans for Upcoming Installations Based on Library Themes Are in the Works

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The Tremont Street windows of the South End library have provisionally become an exhibit space for local artists and other residents who are interested in showcasing their ideas by linking them to a library-related theme. The library has featured exhibits of many artists in the last few decades but the interior space is currently too crowded to do justice to  featured art work. The windows provide a unique opportunity, especially in light of the many passersby.

Courtesy: Lane Newman

Courtesy: Lane Newman

The first display, by wire sculptor Will Corcoran, is based on the tales by Brothers Grimm and the Boston-born poet and writer Edgar Allen Poe, beloved by many, even though Poe, at times frustrated by local parochialism, occasionally referred to Bostonians as 'Frogpondians.' Ray Brown, known by many as the friendly face with the mellifluous voice  from WGBH-TV fundraisers and his classical music shows on WCRB radio, read a beautiful rendition of The Raven for the Window Take-over Opening on March 31st. It was matched by his telling of Poe's A Dream  Within a Dream, the Grimm Brothers' Red Riding Hood and The Old Man and his Grandson. The wire sculptures are for sale. Fifty percent of the proceeds will benefit the South End library.

Courtesy Lane Newman

Courtesy Lane Newman

The next Window Take-over may well feature a collaboration between Ray Brown's acclaimed Talkin' Birds radio show, which he also hosts, and the Children's Art CenterInitial talks are underway. You will hear the details about it here first.

For new Window Take-over proposals, please contact Anne Smart at the South End library. Email: smart@bpl.org or phone: 617-536-8241.

Opening Thursday, March 31 at 6:00 PM: South End Library's First "Take-over" of its Tremont Street Windows to Connect the Library with Local Artists, Teachers and Creative Entrepreneurs

A work-n-progress. Wire Sculptor Will Corcoran contemplates next moves for the window installation of the SE branch on Tremont Street
A work-n-progress. Wire Sculptor Will Corcoran contemplates next moves for the window installation of the SE branch on Tremont Street

After weeks of planning and scheming, wire sculptor Will Corcoran and FOSEL board member Karen Watson have begun to install the first South End Library Window Take-over. It is a joint project  between library staff/FOSEL  to utilize the library's prominent Tremont Street windows for eye-catching displays by local artists, creative entrepreneurs and others and make the South End community aware of its rich cultural reservoir of talent and ideas. The installations, which have to be based on a library-related theme, this time features sculptures from tales by Edgar Allen Poe and the Brothers Grimm.The first ten children under the age of fourteen who can correctly guess the tales represented by the sculptures will receive a a prize after a drawing on April 15. 

The Window Take-over installation will officially open with a reception at the library on Thursday, March 31 at 6:00 PM.Ray Brown, of WGBH TV, WCRB's classical music station, and the Ray Brown Talkin' Birds radio show, will read a few selected tales from the Poe and Grimm collections. Will Corcoran will talk about his work.

The event is free. Refreshments will be served. Information for future events and guidelines will be available at the reception. The South End library is fully handicapped accessible.

The First Local/Focus Window to Showcase Will Corcoran's Wire Sculptures Based on Tales by Edgar Allen Poe and Brothers Grimm, and a Reading of "The Raven" by WGBH Host Ray Brown, March 31, 6:30 PM

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The initiative by the Friends of the South End Library (FOSEL) and South End library staff  to populate the library's prominent Tremont Street windows with installations by local artists and creative entrepreneurs will have its first showing on Thursday, March 31, with an opening at the library at 6:00 PM. The featured artist is local wire sculptor Will Corcoran who, together with FOSEL board member and Take-over visionary Karen Watson, will create a window set-up based on the tales of  Edgar Allen Poe and the Brothers Grimm. As part of the opening event, WGBH radio host and creator of the Talkin' Bird show, Ray Brown, will read from selected work of Grimm and Poe. An award will be given to the first ten children up to the age of fourteen who can correctly guess the names of all the tales represented in the windows. The answers, name and contact information of the participant should be submitted to the staff at the library in a sealed envelope by April 15, marked "South End Library Window Take-over."

Will Corcoran "tumbled into" wire sculpture a few years ago, and has participated in shows in Provincetown, Truro, and various locations in Boston, including SoWa. His work can be seen in front of his home at Pembroke Street and Warren Avenue. Ray Brown's face and mellifluous voice will be easily recognized from the many fundraising campaigns he has participated in for WGBH TV and the classical music programs he hosted on WCRB. His popular Talkin'Bird show was described by the Boston Globe as a cross between Prairie Home Companion and Car Talk. 

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The Library Window Take-over project is open to all and intended to introduce the many South-enders passing by the branch on Tremont Street to the extraordinary artists, entrepreneurs, educators and cultural beacons who live here, and for them to see the library as theirs. All proposals have to be approved by FOSEL and the library staff and have to reflect a library-related theme. For further information, please contact head librarian Anne Smart at asmart@bpl.org, or call at 617 536-8241, or just stop by at the branch.

The library is fully handicapped accessible. The March 31 opening is free, and will take place from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM. Refreshments are served. 

The South End Library's Tremont Street Window Displays Splashy New Installation of Snappy Handmade Kites, As an Example of its New Local/Focus Program

The first Window Take-over by Karen Watson, Throwing caution to the Wind.

The first Window Take-over by Karen Watson, Throwing caution to the Wind.

The many windows of the prominently located South End library bring light and brightness to the interior of the branch, especially important in the often gloomy winters and short days that are so typical of Boston's weather patterns. But from the outside looking in, the windows can brighten the streetscape and make that more welcoming, too, thinks Karen Watson, a recent new member of the FOSEL advisory board. Watson, a South End resident who is an interior designer by profession, is in the process of approaching a number of South End creative entrepreneurs, whose charming and unique shops often lack street visibility, and asked them to "take over" the windows for a few weeks, a few months, or a season to design inspiring installations for the library's windows based on the theme of a library. Art organizations, schools or cultural groups are being invited, too, as long as the design emphasizes the library as an important and fun neighborhood resource.

Caution to the Wind, as seen from inside the South End library looking out on Tremont Street

Caution to the Wind, as seen from inside the South End library looking out on Tremont Street

While details of the Library Window Take-Over are being ironed out by FOSEL, Watson has done a simple installation of hand-made kites with colorful tails made of, among other things, yellow construction tape in the huge Tremont Street window at the library, with the theme of Throwing Caution to the Wind. On display are craft books about how to make kites, a harbinger of spring. Let it inspire you: Bring your own idea for another Tremont Street window installation to the South End library's staff. They will pass the ideas on to us as long as you leave your contact information.

For further information, call Anne Smart at the South End branch at 617 536-8241, or contact FOSEL at info@southendlibrary.org or at marleen.nienhuis@verizon.net.