Public Art in the Seaport

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Public Art in the Seaport

Perhaps you’ve noticed the multicolored spheres that have accumulated and attached themselves to lamp posts and congregated below park benches throughout the Seaport. The playful objects are part of “Quarks,” the latest installation by local artists Claudia Ravaschiere and Michael Moss.

As of November, Ravaschiere and Moss have created over 6,000 circular objects that represent quarks, which are defined by scientists as subatomic particles—smaller than protons and neutrons—that carry electric charges. While we cannot see them, their presence has been measured by the effects they have on other things. For “Quarks” the spheres are tucked in various locations around the Seaport and by the time the project is complete, the tiny orbs will stretch to Boston Wharf Road.

Ravaschiere and Moss have designed a number of public art installations. Before “Quarks” they built “Nimbus” in the South End, which glows at night over the Blackstone Fountain in Franklin Square. Other works included “Shimmer” on the Congress Street bridge over the Fort Point Channel and “Flutter” on Massachusetts Avenue.

Science has been a recurring theme for Ravaschiere and Moss. “The time is right for art and science to collide,” says Ravaschiere. “Quarks” is meant to compel interested onlookers to dig deeper into science, quarks and the tiniest elements that make up our big world.

The ultimate goal of all their installations is to bring a bit of happy discovery into the daily routine of passersby. “Everyone has a different opinion about public art,” says Ravaschiere. “I think it’s essential because it takes art out of galleries and museums and gives people experiences with art that they might not otherwise have.”

Ravaschiere and Moss as well as colleagues, family members and friends have held a ladder and stood in the cold to help make the project a reality. Each of the collections is tightly fastened using sailing materials, which came from Moss’ sailing background and is also a nod to the nautical heritage of the neighborhood.

“Can art change lives?” Ravaschiere poses the question inside District Hall on the day of the installation’s celebration. “I guess it depends on the person, but I think it can make life more joyous.”

So as you walk around the Seaport, look out for the rainbow of orbs clinging to objects. Together they assemble on their chosen location adding pops of color in the most unexpected places and they just might make you smile.