The Jewish Arts Collaborative is gearing up for what it’s billing as the first major piece of Jewish-themed public art in the city. Pathways to Freedom, a multisensory exhibit on Boston Common by London-based social sculptor Julia Vogl, is inspired by the universal theme of immigration and the search for freedom found in the Passover story. Through a series of what Vogl calls “encounters” at various spots across the Boston area from March 20 to April 8, she will interview people about their ideas of immigration and freedom and help them create a unique Pathways button that will then become part of the artwork at the Parkman Bandstand, on display from April 25 to May 2. The site isn’t meant as a counterpoint to the “free speech” rally that was also held there in August and drew members of the alt-right, but Pathways is still expected to provide a unifying contrast to that divisive incident. Audio of personal stories will also be played at the bandstand, giving visitors a more immersive experience. To paint a picture of the effort behind the exhibit, we dove into the numbers behind Vogl’s undertaking.

UPDATE: The Pathways installation has been moved to the common’s Soldiers and Sailors monument because of the condition of bricks around the bandstand.

  • – 1,500+ conversations Vogl will have with people in the Boston area over the course of 20 days
  • – 4 questions about freedom and immigration each participant will be asked
  • – 15 public “encounter” sessions throughout the area, including at City Hall Plaza and Aeronaut Brewing Company, where Vogl will hold interviews
  • – 8 days the installation will be on display
  • – 6 items found on a traditional Passover seder plate, which along with the shape of the bandstand inspires the form of the buttons created by participants

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