Sunday Gratitude: Of Classmates, Myth Makers and Local News

Photo courtesy of Melanie Gilbert/the Lowell Sun

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On Friday, the story of a wonderful new public art piece was published in the Lowell Sun, a local news source that survives if not thrives in the greater Lowell area since 1878 (!!). Here are the first paragraphs of that story (re-printed by permission) and I encourage you to read the rest at the Lowell Sun site (and then subscribe).

LOWELL — At night, the solar-powered eyes of “The Night Watchwoman” will shine out over the Riverwalk Footbridge that spans the Concord River, as the monumental owl sculpture, mounted to the top of the bridge, keeps watch over the city.

During the day, its silver-painted bamboo framework, festooned with ribbons of dichromic film, will make it seem as if the huge bird — with 12-foot wings on either side of the body — is about to take flight. The new sculpture is the latest public art installation in the city and its unveiling takes place at noon on Saturday.

“The dichromic film makes the sculpture more sparkly and creates a visual like it’s moving,” The Myth Makers artist Donna Dodson said while on break from hanging the first of three large pieces atop the bridge with partner Andy Moerlein Thursday afternoon.

“It’s like a kinetic sculpture even though it’s stationary — like flying with feathers,” she added.

Read the rest here at the Lowell Sun

And of course the Weston Owl is pre-disposed to love the sculpture: giant art, an owl, a classmate who made it. It was officially unveiled on Saturday at noon–this Owl was, unfortunately, unable to attend due to State Relays for an Owlet in Seekonk. Sometime this week there will be a road trip to Lowell.

Here’s the Owl’s personal joy: the sculpture is by Wellesley College classmate Donna Dodson and her partner Andy Moerlein, who are known as the Myth Makers. You can meet some of their other projects here at their blog, or by just traveling around. Their owl hollow in Acton is also easily reachable. Their gigantic birds are simply amazing in their artistry and engineering. Dear Morton Arboretum in Illinois and Coastal Botanical Gardens of Maine, these folks are right up your alley–forget trolls. I look forward to seeing their work there in the future 😉

Northern Cardinals, 2019 Image credit: the Myth Makers

And as more and more of our high schoolers (go ‘cats!) tell of where they are going and what they are doing after graduating in June, my thoughts go to my own college experience and what has to be one of the strongest alumnae connections in the country through Wellesley College. Classmates have done amazing things–art, science, community service, business, and education. It gives me a ripple of happy every time I see a classmate mentioned in the news, while realizing many never hit the news because their individual wonderful may be in a smaller pond. Small ponds are good. Large ponds are also good. I actually prefer the word “lakes” like the home college Lake Waban (ah, and our rowers were crowned NEWMAC champs yesterday, go blue!)

Scenes from a Wellesley alumnae parade, June 2015

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And now, and finally to the Lowell Sun and local news. Lowell’s population is around 113,000, more than 100,000 more than Weston. I do not have their number of subscribers, but I imagine it is significantly less than that, and the newspaper does have advertising and sponsored content. We all do what we need to do to make it. I contacted Melanie Gilbert, the author of the Myth Makers owl sculpture article, for permission to reprint her article and it was approved by her editor. Please note that the Lowell Sun is not independent, but owned since 1997 by MediaNews Group of Colorado, which is in turn owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital. The Sun has an interesting history of a wacky caped editor in the 1970s who wanted to annex Mexico as well as a famous sports reporter not afterward known for sports reporting: Jack Kerouac. You can read more at wikipedia.

Earlier this morning I also read about the “death” of the Framingham Source, another local news outlet. I read about it in the Metrowest Daily News, a regional local news outlet (and one that, despite the name, does not cover Weston). It’s a great article about the importance of local news to community building and fact-checking. Check out the opinion article here (sorry, may only be available to subscribers, hint)

It should make Weston happy to hear that there is currently a working group to create an objective (non-Owl) news source–with support, Weston Media Center may take on a new role as a digital news provider for our town. And if and when it does, expect that the Owl will give it all her support and breathe a giant sigh of relief. Expectations are high, Weston. We need more than a blog, a Facebook page and an anonymous PAC to cover this town.

And that’s the Sunday Truth, if not gratitude.

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