Kennard Park Sculpture Trail (Newton Centre, MA)

Date of Visit: September 24, 2016

Location: 246 Dudley Road, Newton Centre, MA (there is also an entrance on Farina Rd)

Hours: open daily, dawn to dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a designated parking area for about 6-8 cars.  People park on the side of the entrance when the regular spots fill up (see below for photo of parking lot)


Park Size: 100 acres (conservation area is 32.2 acres)

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Highlights: Easy trails, sculptures displayed around the park (until Nov. 11th, 2016), wildlife, pretty trees and flowers

Lowlights: small parking lot

Web Site: Friends Of Kennard Sculpture Trail

Trail Map: Newrown Conservancy Trail Map

As if Kennard Park wasn’t pretty and interesting enough on its own, sculptures have invaded the park.  The Kennard Park Sculpture Trail is a diverse display of art with social , personal and political messages.  But, hurry if you want to view it.  It is scheduled to be on display until November 11th of this year.

I want to give credit to 52 Sundays-Halpern Blog for posting a blog about this amazing exhibit.  Stop by and check out halperns’ blog!

The sculpture trail includes sculptures from 15 different artists.  There are sheets of paper hanging from the exhibits or near the exhibits which give information about the artist and some of his or her inspiration behind the sculptures or art.  The sculptures may not seem to go in order numerically if you start the trail from the parking area because there are several sculptures and works of art on the front lawn.  I am listing the sculptures and pieces of art in numerical order based on the map key which is available at the park.  Free handouts for the trail are located on one of the tables at the entrance.

The first sculpture by Jean Blackburn is called Kennard Web.  She states she is fascinated by the age of trees and their ability to adapt or effect their environments.  She also states she would like to create a “weave of connections” through this art work.  The work of art would make visible the singular configuration of the community of trees at this time and place.

The second set of sculptures, by Paul Walker, are called the Nattural Balance Benches and Bridge Bench.  These tables and bench are a combination of rough and refined, accordiing to Walker’s write up.  They are natural and hand made.  They are comprised of black walnut is in Newport Bay and sediment stone with stainless steel posts.

Murray Dewart’s sculptures are the third work of art on the trail.  His sculpture entitled, “Pavilion Of The Sun” is meant to convey something aspirational, both spiritual and monumental.  The Sun Pavilion has the promise of something ceremonial and celestial, open to the sky.

The welded aluminum 15 foot gate is powder coated and installed in three sections.  On the inner face of each column inside the pavilion is a mirrored surface of stainless steelthat reflects the sunlight with the faces and bodies of the visitors.

Dewart also has a bright red aluminum gate as part of his exhibit.

The Propeller Bench by Kit Clews is the fourth exhibit on the sculpture trail.  The Bench Propeller is an ultralight cooling station.    Kit imagined a tree branch with a gently spinning propeller in place of leaves which are create cooling breezes whilst they lounge together under the kinetic propeller tree.  As the spinning wheel turns, visitors are free to visualize “whirled peace” and perhaps, someday, “the wheel thing.”

The fifth exhibit is a “Reflection on the Ornithology of Naturalist-Conservationist Frederick Kennard and Memorial to Extinct Species” by Charlet Davenport.  As the name suggests, the exhibit honors Frederick Kennard’s interest in birds and to the extinct species of birds who used to roam these woods.

The exhibit includes eggs with names of extinct species on them (the very same eggs, except they are not real, that Kennard would collect) as well as porcelain forms in the shapes of Japanese lanterns which are meant to mimic the paper lanterns which were used as ornaments during the times of Frederick Kennard.  A stoneware birdbath is located next to each tree.

Biomimicry Rain Harvester by Allison Newsome is the 6th exhibit on the trail.  Her sculpture is made of steel, cast bronze rain chains, aluminized steel culvert and garden hose.  It is a functional sculpture that harvests rain water.  It holds up to 700 gallons of water and it has a hose attached that can be used for gardening and help in conserving the use fo town water by using the water it collects instead.  Biomimetrics is the immation of nature to solve complex human problems.  Biomimetrics is a combination of “bios” which is Greek for life and “mimesis” which means to imitate.

Marek Jacisin’s “Visual Playground” (the 7th exhibit) is meant to transform that part of the park into a visual playground.  The sculpture recreates elements of a board game.  The pieces of the exhibit are the player pieces of the game and the park is the board, according to Jacisin.  Jacisin was aiming (no pun intended) to provide a stark contrast with the black and white spinning circles and the asymmetrical shapes.  Jacisin goes on to explain that “nothing is ever as it seems.”

Once your eyes refocus, you can make your way to the next exhibit (exhibit number 8).  Zoe Friend’s exhibit may be hard to find if you don’t look hard enough.  Somewhat off the main trail, past the parking area and closer to the office, Zoe Friend’s exhibit “Bromeliads” is a tribute to her mother.  While researching charm bracelets, Zoe came across her mother’s old charm bracelet and she wanted to create something that would showcase some of the things her mother loved such as fuschia flowers.  Specifically, Zoe remembered how the rain cascaded off the flowers and how they clung to the very ends of the stamens after a shower, cementing them as the perfect crux between the rain chain and the her mother’s charm bracelet.

The ninth exhibit by Caroline Bagenal is called “Strata.”  If, like me, you begin the trail at the area closest to the parking area, this may be the first sculpture you see.  The elements of the Strata sculpture were inspired by the park itself.  Bagenal states she was first attracted to the land of the park and the apple trees in front of the house as she first came into the park.  She was also attracted by an old well on the corner of the property and the old stone walls she passed by while walking through the park.  She also learned part of the park used to be used as a landfill which lead her to the idea of making an exhibit with levels of both “man-made” and “natural” levels.   As you can tell the sculpture includes natural things as well as man made materials.  Layers of thought, time and place are included in her sculpture.  She specifically chose the perennial garden to display her art because it suggests a clearing but with encroaching woods.  Even the books she chose to include in the sculpture such as a book by Robert Frost and a building construction book seem to add meaning to the exhibit.

“Color Notes” by Anne Spalter is the tenth sculpture on the trail.  Spalter’s exhibit includes three pieces; digital wallpaper, video work and exterior sculpture.

Digital Wallpaper is meant to be a main conference room with a large-scale kaleidoscope composition that integrates images of the wooded area during winter.  The video work is a “color piano” video that uses color notes from winter and fall creating an abstract piece that calls attention to the changing seasons.  The exterior sculpture aspect of the sculpture are meant to highlight the transparency of the “keys” with the colors of nature showing through.

Peter Diepenbrock’s sculptures are the eleventh part of the trail.  Peter’s art consists of four pieces.  His collection, called “Buddhati’s Dream: The Transference”, includes

“The Lost Boy”

“Spirit Ship”


Spectral Shift II

and “Pegasus”

Peter’s intent was to create a strange otherwordly environment of alien-esque artifacts with fragments of alien intelligence or presence set in an otherwise perfectly quiet, natural environment.

To my surprise and delight, Peter was there to discuss his art and some of the details about his sculptures.  In fact, the artists may be appearing from time to time at the park to meet people and discuss their works.


The twelfth exhibit is “Totems” by Deborah Putnoi.  “Totems” is in part an interactive exhibit.  Rocks and signs with words and phrases of good advice such as “breathe”, “imagine and “be open” are strewn throughout the trail and on trees.   People are encouraged to draw their own art based on the nature they see on the totems and on paper which provided.

Putnoi, who grew up in Newton and presently lives there, wanted to make a piece that is subtle and doesn’t detract from the nature.  The stones are meant to reflect aspects of the layered and embedded history in the toen as well as the history of the trail and space.


The next exhibit (number thirteen on the sculpture tain) is by Marco Vargas.  Marco’s sculpture was inspired by Ehecatl; the Aztec god of wind whose breath gave movement to the sun and gives life to the lifeless.  His love is symbolized by a tree that grows in the place where Ehecatl arrived to Earth.  Since Kennard Park is a natural zsetting, Vargas wanted to use natural materials to his sculpture.  He used red mud where graffiti hexagons draw the god of wind.  He also used branches and logs.

The fourteenth exhibit on the trail is “Sacred Space” by Carolyn Kraft.  Carolyn’s work of art is a reflection the beauty of nature and how we can appreciate it in our life.  She loves to make dwellings of nature from nature.  Carolyn thinks we can find contentment and be more connected to earth through her art.  Inside the hut are chairs made of stone with moss on them.  The beads which hang in the area change color based on the direction of the sun.

The fifteenth and final work of art is “Silent Spring” by Mary Dondero.  As the title would suggest, Mary’s art is based largely on Rachel Carson’s ground breaking book, “Silent Spring” which revealed the indiscrimate use of pesticides and how it affected our environment, particularly birds.  Mary’s exhibit includes 200 shimmering white objects at the base of the tree, all silent.  Most of the bird objects are clustered near an almost dry brook or stream.  She included ceramic hands in the stream-bed.  The hands may appear to be ripples of water when the water returns to the area.  Her goal was to imply that it is by our own hands that these songbirds have diminished in population.  Although it is explicitly explained in the paper explaining the art hanging near the exhibit, I interpreted the cloths on the rocks on the ground to be dead birds, perhaps due to the use of pesticides and other detrimental human made causes.

Besides, the works of art, there were many other pretty and interesting things at the park.

And, of course, there were dogs at Kennard Park.  With its easy trails and spacious areas to roam, Kennard is an ideal place to take your dog for a quick walk.

Frederick, a 4 year old Chihuahua rescue, had to take a big stretch before he began his walk..

Sally, a 3 year old Golden retriever, walks the trail almost everyday.  She was more interested in playing with her stick than looking at the art.

Truffles, a 6 year old Italian Waterdog, lied down and took in the art at the park.

Pika is a 12 year old Border Collie.  The name Pika is derived from the name of the pica font style.

Below is a video of Peter Diepenbrock’s Spectral Shift sculpture.  In the background, you can hear him discussing his art.

About New England Nomad

Hi I'm Wayne. Welcome to my blog. I am a true New Englander through and through. I love everything about New England. I especially love discovering new places in New England and sharing my experiences with everyone. I tend to focus on the more unique and lesser known places and things in New England on my blog. Oh yeah, and I love dogs. I always try to include at least one dog in each of my blog posts. I discovered my love of photography a couple of years ago. I know, I got a late start. Now, I photograph anything that seems out of the ordinary, interesting, beautiful and/or unique. And I have noticed how every person, place or thing I photograph has a story behind it or him or her. I don't just photograph things or people or animals. I try to get their background, history or as much information as possible to give the subject more context and meaning. It's interesting how one simple photograph can evoke so much. I am currently using a Nikon D3200 "beginner's camera." Even though there are better cameras on the market, and I will upgrade some time, I love how it functions (usually) and it has served me well. The great thing about my blog is you don't have to be from New England, or even like New England to like my blog (although I've never met anyone who doesn't). All you have to like is to see and read about new or interesting places and things. Hopefully, you'll join me on my many adventures in New England! View all posts by New England Nomad

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