JPOS Preview

September 12, 2008
By

Gretchen Grozier

Walking tours will unveil JP history and art

This year for the first time in 15 years, the Jamaica Plain Historical Society will offer free walking tours during the annual Jamaica Plain Open Studios (JPOS) on Sept. 27 and 28. Visitors will explore lesser-known areas of JP while learning about the neighborhood’s rich history and viewing works by its vibrant art community. Tours to be held on both days of the 15th annual event will focus on two neighborhoods.

A Stony Brook-themed tour will depart at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Stony Brook T Station. A Green Street/Sumner Hill-themed tour will depart at noon and 4 p.m. from J.P. Licks at 659 Centre St.

The Stony Brook tour departs from the Stony Brook T station and takes visitors on an exploration of a fascinating industrial area at the geographic heart of Boston. The Stony Brook area features many working artists studios and also includes 19th-century tannery and brewery buildings, the homes of early German settlers and today’s Boston Beer Company, which brews Samuel Adams beer.

In the 1970s, a coalition of community groups joined together to block construction of the Southwest Expressway through Jamaica Plain and other Boston neighborhoods. Today, the Southwest Corridor Park and the Orange Line that run through the Stony Brook neighborhood stand as testament to the power of community activism.

The Brewery Complex hosts the largest number of artists at one site during JPOS. Next to the brewery complex is Stonybrook Fine Arts, a working foundry that will have demonstrations during the weekend and poetry readings on Saturday. These stops are included in the tour.

The Green Street/Sumner Hill tour starts on Green Street, which was laid out in 1836. Green Street has played a key role in JP’s development, functioning as a residential, commercial and transportation conduit in the lives of the district’s residents. It currently houses studios and an art installation in one of its parks.

The tour also stops at Red Sun Press, host of an annual exhibition of political art during JPOS. The tour heads on to Sumner Hill with its sumptuous sampling of 19th-century Victorian houses—one of the finest collections of “painted ladies” outside of San Francisco. Sumner Hill was designated a National Historic District in 1987 and includes working artists who will open their private studios to the tour.

Jamaica Plain Open Studios is celebrating its 15th year as the premiere annual arts event in one of Boston’s most exciting neighborhoods. JPOS showcases 220 artists at 75 sites. The event is open to the public and takes place Sept. 27 and 28 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. [See brochure with map inserted in this issue of the Gazette.] For more information, to register, and to preview artists’ work, visit www.jpopenstudios.com or call 943-7819. The free Juried Show reception with the artists is Sept. 12, 6-8 p.m. at the Maliotis Cultural Center at Hellenic College.

JPOS is supported in part by a grant from the Boston Cultural Council a local agency funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and administrated by the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events.

The writer is the president of the Jamaica Plain Historical Society.

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