By Cathleen Twardzik
On September 22, a temporary art installation along the Davis Square Grove-Cedar Bike Path, entitled Love Letters, will be available for interested individuals to view. A rain date of September 23 has been set. However, the exhibit will remain in that location until it is eventually washed away.
The artwork is by Hannah Verlin, a Somerville-based artist, as well as a recent recipient of the Fellowship in Visual Arts from the Somerville Arts Council.
“The bike path, being somewhat secluded, [allows] for a controlled narrative experience, without too [many] surrounding distractions. People move at a different pace on the path than on the street or sidewalk, allowing for more opportunity to stop and look,” said Verlin.
Verlin applied Love Letters as a community benefit project. Her goal was to create an installation which included text. She discovered the Barret-Browning love letters, which were completely digitized recently by Wellesley College. She then planned a project that was centered upon the piece.
The artwork on the bike path will feature text from the correspondence of the 19th century English poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett.
This artwork will create a journey in which people, all of whom use the bike path, will move through a love story because the couple’s letters, which span from 1845 to 1846, document their courtship and marriage.
Barrett’s writing will run along one side of the path and Browning’s will populate the other.
The excerpts, which will be written in white water-soluble paint, will be set at five sites along the path. Each side of the correspondence will begin with a greeting from their letters, “Dear Miss Barrett,” and conclude with a signature, “I am your own, Elizabeth Barrett.”
“I hope this piece will provide people using the path with a wonderful experience that takes them out of their own lives and allows them to glimpse into the lives of two people, although far away and removed from us by over a century, as they fall in love,” Verlin said.
As an artist for seven years, Verlin has compiled countless temporary public pieces of art, such as Love Letters. Her other works include: Bloom, Mystical River and Thoughts Are Free. Verlin, a member of the Boston Sculptors Gallery, presently has an exhibition of her art at Montserrat College’s 301 Gallery, entitled Far Away Close Up.
“Although, I am very interested in history and literature, I decided in high school to pursue art, since it allowed me to explore all [of] my different interests, rather than restricting [myself] to one field. I graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2005, after receiving my BFA, and I have been a practicing artist since then” said Verlin.
Love Letters is supported in part by the Somerville Arts Council, which is a local agency, which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
For additional information, interested individuals may contact Hannah Verlin at (617) 960-6062 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rachel Strutt, Program Manager of the Somerville Arts Council at (617) 625-6600, ext.2985 or at email@example.com.