Tours introduce JP art and history this weekend

September 25, 2009
By

Gretchen Grozier and Joy Cochran

The Jamaica Plain Historical Society (JPOS) will be collaborating with the Jamaica Plain Arts Council for the second year during this year’s 16th Annual Jamaica Plain Open Studios to offer walking tours. The tours will allow visitors to gain knowledge about the history of the neighborhood, while visiting individual artist’s studios and group sites.

A total of four tours will be offered during JPOS this weekend on Sept. 26 and 27. A Hyde Square tour will take place Saturday at noon and Sunday at 3 p.m. A Green Street tour will happen Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at noon.
Hyde Square

The Hyde Square tour will depart from the Cheverus Building at 365 Centre St. and take visitors on an exploration of this fascinating residential area. The Hyde Square area features many working artists studios and also includes varied 19th-century homes of diverse residents.

The Cheverus Building is a new group site, which will be showcasing 10 individual artist’s studios, as well as the work of the Hyde Square Task Force, during Open Studios. Artist studios in the neighborhood encompass a broad range of media including fiber art, painting, photography and sculpture. The walking tour will include the Cheverus Group Site and several artists in their studios.

Hyde Square was once Boston’s largest German neighborhood, and the street names still reflect that heritage. Nowadays, the area is a vibrant Latino area. Centre Street has a second name here: “Avenue de las Americas.” The tour will include a milestone from the 18th century that shows just how long this road has been important. The tour route also visits the area of the Blessed Sacrament Church, which is currently under redevelopment.
Green Street

The Green Street tour will leave from the JP Open Studios information table in front of J.P. Licks on Centre Street. The tour will start on Green Street, which was laid out in 1836. Green Street has played a key role in Jamaica Plain’s development, functioning as a residential, commercial and transportation conduit in the lives of the district’s residents. It is currently home to studios and an art installation in a park.

Red Sun Press on Green Street will be presenting a show entitled “Impressions for Change: 35 Years of Political Posters from Red Sun Press,” which documents the history of social change in Boston and celebrates 35 years of Red Sun Press being a printer for the progressive movement in Boston.

This tour will also include the 12-artist group site hosted by Central Congregational Church and individual studios of Gail Bos of Voices Gallery and Richard Youngstrom, a mosaic artist presenting demonstrations during the weekend. One of the earliest baseball factories in the country was located on Green Street, and the tour will discuss Louis Mahn and his JP baseball empire.

By attending these tours, visitors will be able to explore some lesser known areas of Jamaica Plain while learning something of JP’s rich history and viewing works by its vibrant art community.

JPOS is celebrating its 16th year as the premiere annual arts event in JP. JPOS showcases 230 artists at 62 sites. The event is open to the public and will take place Sept. 26 and 27 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information and to preview artists’ work, visit www.jpopenstudios.com. Also see the brochure and map of sites in this issue of the Jamaica Plain Gazette.

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

The writers are volunteers with the Jamaica Plain Arts Council.