This Is the Coolest Pop-Up Park in Boston
BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS OF THE 2015 POP-UP PARK BY MELISSA MALAMUT AND Claudia Ravaschiere
The trend is nothing new in Boston, where two years ago, Claudia Ravaschiere and her partner Michael Moss created Bright Side of the Road (below), a pop-up pocket park that turned an abandoned alleyway in Fort Point into a bright, public space.
“Two years ago, we had conceived it as a pop-up or guerrilla art because this horrible gravel area cried out for something,” Ravaschiere says. “People enjoyed it so much, they had business meetings in there. People have their coffee in there.”
Last year, the space stayed barren, but this year, the duo teamed up again (pictured as the before and after at the top of the page) to bring a new and improved version of the park, now called “Bright Side of the Road II.” It’s one of five pieces of temporary public art currently installed in Fort Point.
This year’s display is much more detailed, featuring a working fountain that Ravaschiere says they have to change out every four days. “We got a grant and so we were able to do more there this year,” she says. “We wanted to make the piece reflect a little bit of the architecture across the street. The Florentine influence with the arches. We used metal and steel benches, we got a fountain with a lion’s head and painted it bright purple.”
The space, which is wedged in between buildings on Congress Street, has found many uses, from families picnicking to office workers using it for a coffee break. Ravaschiere says that keeping it clean is not an issue, and they get a lot of help from the community. “We’ve found that people who work in the neighborhood and come by and clean it out for us randomly,” she says, “even if just paper blows in.”
As for how long the park will stay in tact, that’s up to the building’s owners.
“We can leave it up as long as the owners say we can,” Ravaschiere says. “It may come down in another few weeks. Right now, people are picnicking in there bringing their kids. [People have said that] it is very peaceful with the burbling of the fountain.”
Ravaschiere says that she loves doing projects like this, and there are plenty of ugly spaces around the Hub that could use some guerrilla art.
“I love doing things that alter an urban space,” she says. “I’d love to do this all over the city.”