The Embrace Statue honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King | Daybreak of Monument Unveiling on Boston Commons

photo caption: Daybreak photos on Boston Commons, January 13, 2023, a few hours before the Embrace unveiling ceremony- and the rain.

Hank Willis Thomas Monument to the Kings

The memorial by Hank Willis Thomas is installed just inside the Boston Common Parkman Plaza entrance (across from 151 Tremont St.). Today’s event precedes the public access to the site. Note: The area will be fenced off for a few more weeks before public access is cleared.

In addition to photo documentation of how the Embrace looks today as its readied for the unveiling event, there are photos of the art featured on the temporary fence wrap; the surroundings alongside the new installation and how the Embrace is set into the Boston Commons to give an idea of scale; and photos of the Robert Kraus Boston Massacre / Crispus Attucks Memorial (dedicated 1888), the Augustus St.-Gaudens Robert Gould Shaw | 54th Regiment Memorial (1897), and the John Paramino Signing of the Declaration of Independence tribute tablet (1925) for context and to illustrate their proximity. With the addition of the Embrace (2022) commission, three centuries of striving for equality– now including a tribute to a woman* rather than an allegory for the spirit of Freedom– are located on the Boston Commons within sight of the State House.

*Cyrus Dallin’s Ann Hutchinson and Sylvia Shaw Judson‘s Mary Dyer statues are on the State House grounds.

2023 January 13- morning of Embrace unveiling

Embrace is by American artist Hank Willis Thomas, with Mass Design Group architects. It’s 22 feet high and was fabricated in the Walla Walla Foundry. Thomas was inspired by a photograph of the spouses hugging when MLK was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. When it’s open, people can walk through the heart of the sculpture. I’ll write more about it later. Hank Willis Thomas is now represented by Pace Gallery, NY.

American History – For Freedoms

The Embrace will fall on the Freedom Trail and Black Heritage trail. It’s incredibly moving to visit these liberty milestones sited in such close proximity.

Jan 23, 2023 photos emphasize site lines in relation to the new Embrace commission.

1888 Boston Massacre – Crispus Attucks obelisk

Boston Massacre – Crispus Attucks bronze by Robert Kraus. The 25 feet high obelisk marks the day of the Boston Massacre and includes a tribute to its victims.

Crispus Attucks, a freed black man, whaler, and sailor, was the first revolutionary killed in the battle for liberty.

The sculpture was inspired by Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People commemorating France’s battle to overthrow the King in 1830 (decades following the French Revolution). France’s National Assembly disclosed the Declaration to the Rights of Man and Citizen in 1789. Olympe de Gouges pamplet, DĂ©claration des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne (the Declaration of the Rights of Women and the (Female) Citizens) came soon thereafter.

Boston Commons: Boston Massacre | Crispus Attucks Memorial on left; Embrace King tribute between the trees, past the temporary fencing; State House dome on right. Rainy day scenes are 2023. Blue skies were March 2018. All photos: C. Ryan


Sculptor John Paramino, after (John) Trumbull’s monumental painting completed in 1818 and installed in the Capitol, The Signing of the Declaration of Independence (Aug 1776), tablet set into granite with eagle carving and produced at the Gorham foundry, Providence, RI.

Closer to home in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the bronze doors on the A. Piatt Andrew bridge are by Paramino.

1897 54th Regiment Robert Gould Shaw memorial

Augustus Saint-Gaudens took nearly fourteen years to finish. The memorial was unveiled May 31, 1897. Charles McKim designed the site. The names are carved at the back The paths slope down in the direction of the new statue.

People on their phones that morning whether standing, seated or walking.

June 2022- BEFORE installation

site work

Rainy day scenes, today, Jan 13, 2023. Before scenes depicting site preparation and leafy trees dated June 2022. photos: C. Ryan

About the Embrace memorial Fence Wrap Artists

featuring Rixy Fernandez, Yotron the Don, Malakhai Pearson, Harry Scales, Zahirah Nur Truth, and Ngoc-Tran Vu

1960 – Religion, Learning, Industry

Wayfinding: Commissioned for a 1958 build out for Parkman Plaza designed by Shurcliff and Merrill, this tribute celebrates Boston’s industriousness, scholarship and spiritual history. Sculptors Arcangelo Cascieri & Adio di Biccari completed the series before a 1960 installation. The unveiling dedication was in 1961. This is the closest park entrance to see the Embrace.

blue sky photo: C. Ryan, March 2018 – Religion, Industry, Knowledge Boston Tribute 1961

Celtics banner Massachusetts State House NBA Finals

9pm NBA FINALS Game 5 tonight

Love the hometown hype! Celtics banner and the dome – Massachusetts Statehouse Beacon Hill, Boston. 6/11/2022 photos – c. ryan

Cape Ann Art Exhibit at the State House curated by Karen Tibbetts | Reception May 8 reserve a seat on the bus!

State House_Boston MA_20180904_photo copyright Catherine Ryan

Cape Ann Art Exhibit
The State House and Senator Tarr will Honor Art and Artists of Cape Ann in a reception to be held at The State House in Senate Hall on May
8, 2019 at 10:00am -11:00 am.

The Cape Ann Art Exhibit portrays extraordinary talent and diversity in both media and vision. Each Artist has displayed a life of dedication to community, preserving, promoting and representing the Value of ART to our lives. This show is happening because of Karen Tibbetts. Featured artists of today and in tribute include 

Kathy Archer

Jill Armstrong

Jason Burroughs

Phil Cusumano

Barb Duggan

Gordon Goetemann*

Judith Goetemann*

Ken Knowles

Gayle Macklem

John Nesta* (who we will be honoring)

TM Nicholas

Eileen Patten Oliver

Marty Swanson

Jeff Weaver

*for more information about these artists See Rocky Neck and Cape Ann Museum

Mayor Romeo Theken adds: “If anyone wants a ride to Boston we will have a bus leaving Gloucester at 8am.” To reserve a spot text 1 (617) 293-1295

courtesy photo L – R  – State House kind help, Ken, Karen

What will Justice Lowy decide and the room where it happens | Last stop for Berkshire Museum docket SJ-2018-065 at John Adams Courthouse #BostonMA Supreme Court

John Adams Courthouse Superior Court Boston MA_20180301_© C Ryan (9)
Front entrance John Adams Courthouse, Boston, MA. The Berkshire Museum case is under review by Supreme Court Justice Lowy

How did the Berkshire Museum brouhaha wind up in the highest court under SJO (Single Justice) review by Justice David A Lowy?

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, deemed it necessary to alter an original historic building and sell off its priceless core art collection in order to build a dream and survive. This controvertial move garnered attention and divided opinion.  The Trustees of the Museum explained that they hired a consultancy firm which confirmed this new direction (“New Vision”), via extensive public outreach* no less, so what gives? (*22 focus groups involving over 200 people is hardly extensive.) Opponents cried, “Foul!”, and pointed out questionable and perhaps shady fodder, i.e. would museum members and the Berkshire community have voted YES had they been told that the best works from the permanent collection must be sold off to make it happen? Also, the art was consigned to Sotheby’s June 13, 2017, but the Trustees altered the museum’s Charter after the consignment date and only then informed the “public”.  Timing is everything. There was even an infamous email with a ‘loose lips sink ships’ subject line.  We know these details because of dogged reporting by the The Berkshire Eagle, notably Larry Parnass, and a wide network. The story is urgent and compelling, the art world equivalent of a Spotlight-All the President’s Men-Pentagon Papers type investigation.

The first auctions were slated for November 2017. Shuffleton’s Barbershop by Norman Rockwell was to have been the Berkshire Museum star lot. Its presale estimate alone was 20 to 30 million. By the Fall of 2017, the museum was hit with multiple lawsuits, sued by the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, Norman Rockwell descendants, and various plaintiffs. Eventually, all were folded into #TeamAGO vs. the Berkshire Museum. On November 8th, the Lower Court ruled in favor of the Museum, clearing the legal right of way to auction. The Attorney General Office appealed to the State’s supreme judicial court to block the sale for more time to evaluate and investigate the case. Attorneys for the Museum fought that request vigorously, but were denied. On November 10, 2017, the AGO procured an injunction from Judge Trainor of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, scuttling any scheduled auction prior to December 11, 2017. Allowances for extensions to build the case were granted. On February 5th, the AGO switched teams and filed jointly with its former adversary, the Berkshire Museum, petitioning the court to apply cy pres and maintaining its opinion that indeed all the art is restricted:

“As detailed elsewhere (e.g., in its filings in the litigation referenced above) the AGO believes that all of the works of art deaccessioned and proposed for sale are subject to one or more restrictions that limit the Museum’s ability to proceed with its planned sale and use of proceeds to fund an endowment, pay for operating expenses and fund renovations. The Museum continues to believe no restrictions (beyond the Museum’s charitable purposes) apply.”

This alliance left many scratching their heads  and interested parties formerly #TeamAGO adrift. Although the Rockwell plaintiffs backed off and dropped their case, law firms Sullivan & Worcester and  Foley Hoag with Barker, Epstein & Loscocco solicited amicus status on behalf of their clients.

Sullivan & Worcester Berkshire Museum
Sullivan & Worcester blog post about their position

Immediately, the AGO and the Berkshire Museum filed opposition papers. They weren’t persuasive. The Justice granted the participation of the law firms which means that the SJ-2018-065 docket was vastly enlarged and enlightened on February 27, 2018, and I had to see. And share. (Although everything I was looking for and questioned was not there.) The attorneys disagree with the AGO and Berkshire Museum proposal, and request oral argument. The AGO and Museum responses were filed after I visited. Justice David A Lowy will make that decision. He can act on filed papers related to Docket SJ-2018-065, order a hearing, or pass the case back to the full court. What will he do? I’m crossing fingers that arguments will be heard, and with the full court (which meets the first week each month and is open to the public), especially after I considered the material in person.  The Berkshire Museum could inspire a Frank Capra-esque courtroom movie treatment one day.

In the meantime, the art remains in Sotheby’s possession and the auction house stands down as the case is sorted. The docket includes Sotheby’s contract.

For armchair lawyers and detail detectives: I offer a blizzard of documents, on the eve of the next Nor’Easter blizzard and hope I’ve peaked your interest. (Leaving my analysis aside for now.)  Scroll past this post’s “read more” indicator to see interior architectural photos I took of the stunning John Adams Courthouse, and to read some of the complete and unfiltered new filings and documents related to the Berkshire Museum case, specifically-

  • AMICI CURIAE Sullivan & Worcester LLP law firm on behalf of ‘Berkshire Museum Member Plaintiffs’: James Hatt,  Kristin Hatt,  and Elizabeth Weinberg, filed Feb 26 2018, case SJ-2018-065 (52 pages)
  • AMICUS CURIAE Foley Hoag and Barker, Epstein & Loscocco – attorney Michael B Keating of Foley Hoag with attorney Daniel Epstein of Barker, Epstein & Loscocco on behalf of clients: Tom Patti, who completed two commissioned installations for the Berkshire Museum entrance and reception areas–spaces that will be gutted if the historic building is disfigured for the New Vision; Marilyn Holtz Patti – resides and works in Berkshire County as does Tom Patti; Jean Rosseau and Jonas Dovydenas- residents of Stockbridge and Lenox; James Lamme, resident of Egremont; and Donald MacGillis, resident of Pittsfield, MA. (21 pages)
  • Sotheby’s Contract with the Berkshire Museum (9 pages)
  • Affidavit from Dan Monroe, Director of the Peabody Essex Museum opposed the Berkshire Museum sale (4 pages)
  • Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) provided major facility funding since 2000. Some related construction was completed by a board member and warrants scrutiny
  • links to prior GMG Berkshire Museum posts

Interior views John Adams Courthouse 

John Adams Courthouse Superior Court Boston MA_20180301_© C Ryan (2)
The John Adams Courthouse Great Hall is stunning. On the right side in this photos is a Daniel Chester French gilded sculpture of Rufus Choate


Continue reading “What will Justice Lowy decide and the room where it happens | Last stop for Berkshire Museum docket SJ-2018-065 at John Adams Courthouse #BostonMA Supreme Court”

Discover Gloucester at the State House today!

Elizabeth Carey shares photos and a note with GMG:

“Today is Tourism Day at the Massachusetts State House. Each year tourism leaders from through the Commonwealth gather together to celebrate the tourism industry. There were many in attendance including Ann Marie Casey Executive Director of the NBCVB. Kate Fox of Destination Salem. Corey Atkins State Rep. Tom Kershaw of Cheers with Steve and Rhonda of Woodman’s.”- Elizabeth Carey, Discover Gloucester


Thanks so much, Elizabeth for sharing your photos from the State House. Many of the participants attended last evening’s 20th Anniversary gala at Peabody Essex Museum for Essex National Heritage. Ann Marie was there despite revving up to MC this annual State House conference–she was selected by her many colleagues for that role.

This week at the State House: February 15th MCC handing out state’s top annual Commonwealth awards to David Tebaldi Mass Humanities, Boston Foundation Paul Grogan, others…

Gloucester won one back in 2015.

Mayor Romeo Theken and Fred Bodin at the ceremony

Congratulations to the 2017 honorees: the Acton Discovery Museums; The City of New Bedford; Keith Lockhart Boston Pops; Jose Mateo Jose Mateo Ballet Theater; Springfield Scitech High School Band; Nancy Donahue cultural philanthropy Lowell; Paul Grogan Boston Foundation; David Tebaldi Mass Humanities; Greenfield Cultural Council; the Berkshire Daily Eagle;  and the Mayor of Fitchburg.

The event is free and open to the public; details and  registration information available online. 20150224_152000

Read more from the MCC press release: Continue reading “This week at the State House: February 15th MCC handing out state’s top annual Commonwealth awards to David Tebaldi Mass Humanities, Boston Foundation Paul Grogan, others…”

Army of Nurses

State House a Work of Art ~ Inside and Out

MCCawards5609wm MCCawards5613wm copy

Most of our group went into the State House thru the General Hooker entrance. Escorted by Catherine Ryan, I entered via the accessible Bowdoin Street door, because it has a ramp instead of stairs. Once inside and past security, there are elevators aplenty. The first thing I wanted to see was one of the two large cod sculptures. By chance, we immediately ran into our State Senator, Bruce Tarr, who took the time to give us a short tour. Art in all media was everywhere, including the 1798 “new” State House itself.

Our Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Governor Charlie Baker


My friend Sefatia (Romeo Theken), Mayor of Gloucester, and Charlie (Baker), Governor of Massachusetts. The Governor is quite tall (6’6″), and is more handsome in person than on TV.  They’re posed in front of the Grand Staircase at the State House. I prefer not to shoot with a flash, but probably should have here for better sharpness. Sefatia wants a copy of this photo, which I’ve sent.