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Thu, Oct 21


Online Event

Talk: Water Music: Blue Spaces in Olmsted's Landscape Design

Urban Green and Blue Exhibition & Speaker Series Presents: Dr. Mark Wagner, Worcester State University "Water Music: Blue Spaces in Olmsted’s Landscape Design"

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Talk: Water Music: Blue Spaces in Olmsted's Landscape Design
Talk: Water Music: Blue Spaces in Olmsted's Landscape Design

Time & Location

Oct 21, 2021, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Online Event

About the Event

(Image Credit: Elm Park study sketch by Urban Green and Blue Exhibition participating artist, Keri Anderson)

"Service must precede art," Frederick Law Olmsted once wrote, "since all turf, trees, flowers, fences, walks, water, paint, plaster, posts, and pillars in or under which there is not a purpose of direct utility or service are inartistic if not barbarous. … So long as considerations of utility are neglected or overridden by considerations of ornament, there will be not true art."

Water is the ultimate utilitarian feature, and finds level in a universal quality, such that how Olmsted and his brother set trees, of turf, water, rocks, bridges, in relation to water is of central concern. This presentation will consider examples of how Olmsted set trees, water, rocks, and bridges in relation to blue spaces, and finally explore what Olmstead sought to create: an unconscious awareness of elegance and beauty. We will conclude with an activity meant to explore our own unconscious as it relates to an understanding of scenery Olmstead said "simply did not apply to any field of vision in which all that is to be seen is clear and well-defined in outline." How do we employ the unconscious mind into the scenes he designed as either "considerable complexity of light and shadow near the eye," or "obscurity of detail further away."

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Worcester Arts Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

About Urban Green and Blue:

Urban Green and Blue is a juried exhibition of paintings featuring Worcester’s urban green and blue spaces: the city’s public parks, wildlife sanctuaries, nature reserves, publicly accessible reservoirs, lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds.

This exhibition gives ArtsWorcester artist members an opportunity to work outdoors in a Plein air tradition and highlights the importance of public green and blue spaces to the health and well-being of city residents.

Urban Green and Blue will take place in Preservation Worcester's Park View Room in the fall of 2021, and is a collaboration between Preservation Worcester and ArtsWorcester, funded in part by the Worcester Arts Council.

To learn more about the project click HERE

Additional Programming For This Exhibition:

Urban Green and Blue, Gallery Hours: Sundays Oct 10 - Nov 21, 2:30-4:00 pm

Urban Green and Blue, Speaker Series: Thursdays Oct 14 - Nov 18, 7-8 pm


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