The Esplanade Association Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Special to the Beacon Hill Times

Boston-based creative studio MF Dynamics to debut “Hatched: Breaking through the Silence,” a projection-mapping and sonic public art work during 300+ outdoor showings on the Esplanade Jan. 22 to Feb. 21.

To mark the 20th Anniversary of the Esplanade Association’s successful public-private partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Esplanade Association (EA) will present “Hatched: Breaking through the Silence,” a four-week illumination and sound experience to provide a family-friendly and physically-distant celebration at the famed DCR Hatch Memorial Shell.

“Hatched” will cut through the darkness of the winter months, offering a public space for joy and optimism in the New Year. The work is an original 15-minute visual and sound performance led by Boston-based creative Maria Finkelmeier of MF Dynamics and is shaped specifically for the 80-year-old amphitheater itself.

Link to digital assets

“Hatched” is free and open to the public, taking place nightly from Jan. 22 through Feb. 21. Viewers will be able to tune in to the original synchronized soundtrack on their personal devices while watching the illuminations. The work, made possible by collaborations with LuminArtz and projector sponsor Epson, will begin nightly at 5 p.m., and restart every 20 minutes until 9 p.m. ET, offering over 300 opportunities to enjoy the work in the open-air landscape of the historic Hatch Shell Oval Lawn.

“Hatched” is the fifth and most ambitious offering in the Esplanade Association’s public art program, which includes four art murals currently on view in locations throughout the 3.2-mile linear park. Public art has become a core element of the Esplanade Association’s mission to support the ongoing health and vitality of the 64-acre Charles River Esplanade through capital restoration work, park improvement projects, horticultural care, public programming, concessions enhancements, volunteer engagement, and much more. In total, the Esplanade Association has raised $16 million towards this work, which is accomplished through a public-private partnership with DCR. The partnership will mark 20 years of successful stewardship and collaboration on the second-to-last night of Hatched on Feb. 20.

“This year the Esplanade was as essential as ever before to the physical health and mental well-being of our visitors,” said Michael Nichols, Executive Director of the Esplanade Association. “’Hatched’ will provide a safe, open-air destination for people and their families to experience art while enjoying the tranquil beauty of the Esplanade in winter. This spectacular illumination experience is the perfect way to mark the Esplanade Association’s first 20 years of lighting the way forward for Boston’s riverfront park.”

The projection-mapped visuals for “Hatched” will celebrate the many sounds that Hatch Shell performers have expressed over the facility’s impressive musical history. Finkelmeier and her team will feature geometric shapes of musical instruments as kaleidoscope pieces, human hands magically tapping, scratching, and creating beats on the surface itself, and colorful animations accentuating the Shell’s Art Deco form – all set to new music composed by Finkelmeier and recorded by local musicians. Featuring a team of predominantly female-identifying artists and directors, Hatched will bring to light a balanced pedestal, an opportunity for underrepresented communities to “break through” and share their skills, vision, and voice.

Artistic Director and Composer of Hatched, Maria Finkelmeier, says, “Creating Hatched for one of my favorite pieces of architecture in the city has been a huge honor. When I think of the Hatch Shell, I envision gorgeous music, community, and a love for my city. Memories of concerts, walks, and bike rides along the Esplanade come to mind. With Hatched, my team and I are elated to create a new type of expression that brings original music, visuals, and new technology to the iconic structure, encouraging viewers to form a new memory of the space – a memory that will carry us into the New Year and beyond, celebrating creativity, resilience, and joy.”

“The Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Charles River Esplanade serves as an incredible natural resource offering countless recreational opportunities for visitors to enjoy year round,” said DCR Commissioner Jim Montgomery. “Engaging visitors in unique ways like public art displays ensures the park remains timeless, and the Baker-Polito Administration is pleased to continue its public-private partnership with the Esplanade Association.”

Powered by Epson laser projectors, “Hatched” will bring vibrant color and form to the inner surface of the Hatch Shell. With custom-built weather housing for the projectors, the experience presents a rare opportunity to experience projection mapping in the winter months and will bring joy no matter the New England winter weather.

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