Freedom Public Art Project Proposals

The Vietnamese American Initiative for Development (VietAID) will commission one artist to create a permanent and highly visible art work at Doherty-Gibson Park (also known as Town Field) to identify Fields Corner as a destination for business and culture, honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom and democracy, and simultaneously serve as inspiration for the neighborhood’s aspirations for freedom from poverty and crime.

VietAID issued a call to artists throughout the world to apply, and 144 artists from 27 states and 9 countries submitted their qualifications. A selection committee comprised of residents, community leaders, artists, and a university professor selected three artists, Anh Tran, Joe O’Connell, and Juanjo Novella, to create a design proposal.

The finalists each presented their concepts at a public meeting held on October 20, 2014. Summary information is below. Each artist’s concept board was on display at the Fields Corner Branch Library through October 29, 2014.

Please click on each image below for the artist’s original proposal:

Anh Tran                             Joe O’Connell                         Juanjo Novella

Anh_Tran_Small      O'Connell_2_Concepts_Small      Novella 28_Small

Additional Information from the Finalists

We encouraged the public to give us feedback in the comments box below or at the Fields Corner Branch Library. All comments that were received by 5 p.m. on October 29, 2014 were shared with the selection committee. The winner will be announced on November 7, 2014.


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39 thoughts on “Freedom Public Art Project Proposals

  1. Terry Moore

    Just like the Statue of Liberty “The Freedom Temple” is a timeless and excellent piece. Weather and the forces of nature do not damage marble the way they damage steel. The material is as timeless as the idea that the sculpture represents. “The Freedom Temple” will remain in our history for many years as a reminder for freedom.
    I can learn about freedom from the idea of the sculpture and what it represents. I really like Ahn’s proposal.

  2. Terry Moore

    I think that the Freedom Temple is especially impressive because the idea and the materials used embody the word “timeless”. Maintenance and care for this work of art over a long period of time would seem to be minimal. The scale of the sculpture is the most impressive aspect of the work because few stone pieces can compare. I have never seen a marble sculpture of this size in the public world. The price of the materials are low but the quality of the sculpture is great. I wish to visit this sculpture and learn. I vote for “The Freedom Temple”.

  3. Gabrielle Romeu

    I think the concept of the “Freedom Temple” is very impressive. The materials used are inexpensive yet durable and long lasting. The quality of the piece is impeccable and very unique. That would be a great piece, I would love to go inside and view the words carved on the wall! I vote for the Freedom Temple, excellent work!

  4. Tanys Rothrock

    Inexpensive material for such a bold piece that will last through the years. Quality for less expense is always a positive aspect. I vote for the Freedom Temple. The linear shapes are FANTASTIC.

  5. shenethia mabry

    I love the idea to use marble as the material to sculpt something that has a long lasting meaningful message.

  6. Denay Richards

    I think this piece of work is very inspirational and emotionally stimulating. The community can easily sympathize with the piece of work.

  7. Melissa Mayberry

    I am interested in seeing what Mr.Tran’s idea would look like if it were to come into existence. I vote in support of his idea. I’m always fond of community spaces and the idea of togetherness. The concept idea for this sculpture is very lovely. Freedom to be yourself, and the unification of different cultures are some of the most important things to have in such a diverse world. I think that this installation would be very pleasant and draw much attention, and the benches are a nice touch to give it more of a communal feel. I think it’d be a great installation in idea, and I’m sure if given the chance, Mr.tran would work hard to make it just as great in practice too. It sounds like this idea is very dear to him, and he would probably put that passion to work to create something truly special.

  8. Ryan Gomez

    Mr. Anh Tran’s marble sculpture “The Freedom Temple” is a quite an amazing piece, and the overall concept of what he is trying to convey is a timeless narrative for anyone who will experience the piece. Having it the viewer be able to physically be a part of the art makes it even more amazing by making the viewer feel that they are a part of the work. Even with benches that make the seats around the sculpture tie into this piece, and having them all different colors is very representational of everyone who is comes to the country. It conveys that we are all different, yet the position of them gives them a sense of unity. The piece as a whole is very well done and I would love to see this piece once it is complete.

  9. Lizette Mares

    Mr. Anh Tran ‘s ” The Freedom Temple” is a truly remarkable piece of work. His piece conveys a sense of unity with the technique that he presents in this giant white marble. The work worked into this is beautifully done and the concept of the temple can strongly connect with the people who cross inside it and defines freedom. I would like to vote for Tran’s marvelous piece to be done for the message conveyed is truly inspiring and his concept is exceptionally strong.

  10. Bryanna Gonsalves

    Mr. Anh Tran’s piece, “The Freedom Temple”, excites me because it’s beautiful and has a strong point and message to its viewers. I like that the marble was used rather than the steel that was used for the other works. This use of the stone makes it more permanent piece. It will stand longer and become a part of history for many generations to come to learn.

  11. joseph daun

    I believe that Mr. Tran’s proposal is the most timeless as it utilizes materials and forms that are universally seen as “monumental”. I believe that the two other proposals lack the sense of timelessness as I believe they will both look dated in the near future. From an administrative perspective, I would have real concerns about the annual maintenance of Mr. Novella’s and Mr. O’Connel’s pieces as they both would be more likely to be damaged from normal wear and tear and they would be very expensive to repair. Mr. Tran’s Piece on the other hand, would need very little annual maintenance and would have a long life. It would be very easy to remove graffiti and other damage.
    In addition, I believe that Mr. Movell’s choice of the color red has negative connotations as it does reference the communist government currently in place in Vietnam which I believe would not represent freedom.

  12. Rachel Kennedy

    I think Anh Tran’s proposal should be chosen. It seems to embody the purpose of the project and bring together in a positive way all of the cultural elements. His work and reseach should a clear understanding of the working the space for a monumental piece. His materials envoke the peaceful feelings that the project is looking for. His work brings togther the tennants of the project and ideals of the Vietaid and combines them with the community. I would vote for his work.

  13. Hung.T.T

    Cả ba đề án đều gây ấn tượng tốt cho tôi.

    Nhưng tôi xin chọn đề án của điêu khắc gia Trần Anh.

    Đề án này mang nhiều tính ẩn dụ đặc sắc qua cách xếp đặt các khối đá và cách xử lý ánh sáng ban ngày và ban đêm.

    Làm sao để thể hiện cánh chim tự do, khát vọng hòa bình, và sự hội nhập hài hòa của các cư dân Dorchester trong lý tưởng Hành Trình Đi Tìm Tự Do mà bất cứ ai muốn thoát ra khỏi cảnh đói nghèo đều phải phấn đấu vượt qua chính mình, và nghịch cảnh.

    Tác giả Trần Anh với kinh nghiệm của bản thân mình, và dân tộc Việt Nam bên kiaThái Bình Dương, chắc chắn sẽ thể hiện được qua tác phẩm “Đền Tự Do”.


  14. Carol

    I appreciate the unity and freedom in Anh Tran sculpture.
    It represents strength in the stone itself.
    with the the smooth clear lines in the body of the stone representing the people; the arms; unity, and the layers of freedom like an eagle that are able to wrap themselves together.
    Showing a strength and peace that can not be broken.

  15. Lee Adelson

    I feel that the installation offered by Joe O’Connell depicts the most accurate design interpretation of the criteria of a “freedom” based monument/sculpture. Dorchester, and Fields Corner in particular, has always been a vibrant and diverse community. As such. a work of art of this significance should reflect such a history and presence of varied and diverse cultures from all over the United States, and the world-and not a limited few as the other offerings are clearly biased in their imagery. The symbolism of doves universally defines peace, and the language of peace and freedom in the second piece in the sculpture reflects inclusion of every people and culture-not just those current and recent denizens of our community. The dramatic lighting attracts an additional visual interest beyond illuminating the sculpture alone. The projection of images and colors beyond the physical presence of the piece draws closer interest, reflection and contemplation of the feeling this piece evokes, clearly the most accurate interpretation of the design criteria.
    Mr. O’Connell’s work of art most appropriately honors the design criteria in a most universal language and at the same time in a unique and compelling portrayal of peace and freedom. His work is my choice-hands down.

  16. Dale Cates

    I prefer Anh Tran’s The Freedom Temple as it is visually appealing and, to me, defines the meaning which he intended to convey with this work. To me, including the words of President Kennedy is especially significant. From my knowledge of Prof. Tran’s background, he has lived and seen the struggle from a unique perspective, and conveys the message which you seek to convey.
    Thank you,
    Dale F. Cates

  17. Michael.Ud.W

    “The Freedom Temple” project is very fascinating for me. The work will bridge the cultures of the local community.
    There is a soul in the heart of the artwork; this is resonance my story. The image could be reflected into the space.
    I vote for the artist, and this is what I have reviewed on this proposal. It is the most superior work!

  18. Robert. R.S

    The three proposals are very well organization. One of them called “ The Freedom Temple” of Ann Tran ’s proposal intrigues me. The work is a very wonderful and strong idea. The exterior sculpture has a very beautiful shape/ composition, and the interior sculpture is very uplifting; this monolithic presentation is powerful in the cantilever that is a perfect spectral when direct sunlight is cast into the space. Granite would be a reliable material because it can be found seamlessly throughout the physical area. The model is created in harmony with the children’s playground and the other architectures that are close to it. We will have a good place to visit, meet, exchange, and relax on the stone benches while our children have a beautiful place to play at our locations. The monolithic stone structures encompass a portion of what is presented in the contemporary public art.

  19. Carl Sargent

    all are nice. i vote for the stainless steel birds

  20. Ngoc Q. Le

    I am impressed with the hand carving words of the interior wall of the “Freedom Temple” that honor our local hero, president John F. Kennedy and the local organization that serve our community Viet-AID. As long as the sculpture can last, they are always be remembered and recognized with their dedication to Freedom:

    Quote from Anh Tran’s presentation:

    The main sculpture incorporates a floodlight to illuminate the night sky like a huge torch, suggesting a beacon of inspiration, of knowledge, and of the community’s aspirations for freedom.
    Once inside the monolith, viewers will be presented with the words of President John F. Kennedy carved on the interior walls:

    “The best road to progress is the freedom’s road”

    And from the Viet-AID organization:

    “Honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom and democracy”

  21. Lawrence Wood

    I am driven by a thirst for understanding about the three artist’s proposals. I consider the “Freedom Temple”. I truly understand the artist’s concept. I really like the model and the words are carved on the interior walls.
    It is an incredible experience to watch Anh Tran‘s work compare with an
    appreciation for “Human Nature, Ugo Rondione’s project for the Public Art Fund at Rockefeller Center, includes “nine colossal stone figures, standing like ancient sentries along the full length of Rockefeller Plaza.” “We are proud to continue our long-standing tradition of presenting public art…” said Tishman Speyer Co-Chief Executive Officers Jerry Speyer and Rob Speyer. “Rockefeller Center is New York City’s greatest public venue, a place where timeless architecture and art come together. The work of a brilliantly inventive artist like Ugo Rondinone will add perfectly to the Center’s artistic identity—particularly as Human Nature was originally inspired by the very plaza where it will now stand.”

    “Courtyard Sculpture”, Beverly Pepper, an internationally respected artist, designed the imposing stone sculpture. The courtyard is an area where tenants and visitors of the building can relax and enjoy California’s beautiful outdoors.

    “2 Sierra White Granite Sculptures”, M.C.Carolyn. Kings Beach California Conservancy Park, Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe, CA

    I wish to see “The Freedom Temple” at Doherty-Gibson Park .

  22. Rosanne

    Thanks for writing the additional artist comments and clarifying information Jean, it is very helpful!

  23. Jean Mineo, Project Manager: Artist Selection Phase

    There are two factual errors stated in the comments which deserve correction:

    1) The budget for either of Joe O’Connell’s two proposals is the same as for the other artists: $250,000. I do not recall his saying that he could make either for $100,000 and the budget printed in his proposal certainly makes that clear.

    2) It is just as common for metal sculptures to be worked by hand these days as it is for stone to be carved by computer. Both metal and stone have been used in sculpture for thousands of years so it is not fair to say that either is more authentic or traditional. While both of O’Connell’s proposals begin with laser cut steel, both the birds and the twisting words will be formed by hand and by their 19th century power hammer in a process that takes weeks by skilled metal craftspeople.

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  25. Jean Mineo, Project Manager: Artist Selection Phase

    Based on the questions raised at the public presentations, the finalists offer these additional comments:

    1. From Anh Tran:
    Marble and limestone are natural stones that are beautiful and permanent materials. It is a wonderful investment for the public art project because the weather does not affect the color and texture of the sculpture. If someone draws on the wall, we will use water cleaning and chemical cleaning to remove interior and exterior dirt, paint, stains and graffiti.

    The sculpture will be illuminated at night by two lights. The lights will be hidden inside the upper wall of the sculpture itself and power conduit will be concealed within the walls of the sculpture as well.

    The surface of the sculpture can change color when touched. The more people that touch the surface, the brighter the color of the sculpture becomes.

    When the marble sculpture is built, we will see more of the details of the perfect lines, shape, form, and composition than we see in the small scale model.

    2. From Joe O’Connell: I would like to change the name of “Freedom’s Nature” to “None are Free Until All Are Free” and add a note to the selection committee that the sculpture is inspired by the fact that when birds are released they will often circle and wait until all birds have been released before flying off. In Viet-AID and in some other immigrant communities I see the same concern for all members of their community and applaud their enlightened view that freedom carries with it an obligation to those who are unfree.

    3. From Juanjo Novella: As I can realize in the past meeting, colour could be an important issue to discuss, so we have several options for it, and most important, that doesn´t change the main meaning of the piece. As a reminder, the rust steel option will never need any maintenance. (Note: based on the feedback from the public presentations, Mr. Novella submitted several additional color options including yellow, violet, blue and rust-color).

  26. Tony Nguyen

    For the support of ideas to the Freedom project, I have some following words.
    There are six issues that a public art should concern:
    1- The public art is the work that can pleasure all people at all levels to enjoy the art work. At this point that a normal worker to an art professor they can find and understand the artwork.
    2- The public art must be made from a permanent material that can stand firm in hard weather, long live and no need to maintain, avoiding vandalizing.
    3- The public art must pay attention the safe for all people to participant to the work
    4- The public art is not a independent object in space; it must be concerned their relationship to objects and architectures around by shape, and scale in environment.
    5- The public art should not repeat as a copy of form, shape, or idea of any art. It must be unique.
    6- The public art must be the best product in a budget.
    Base on the above issue, I see that there are two materials: STONE, and METAL in the models.
    Metal material that now is often work by machine, artists is only design on computer, and scan it to laze machine, or 3d sculpture machine to cut. This work is the same to create a massive industrial product. However, STONE is a natural material, and today human has not yet invented a big machine that can replace the hand work of stone artist in stone. Most of them have to work as slave by hand to create art work in hard environment. That is the reason that there are no more stone artists in American today.
    Base on the five issues that I have just show above, I see that, all of models of artist, the metal models, made by machine, and are the same many public art around as a copy of style no unique. O’Connell’s work is the same style of metal sculptures in many states now.
    Novella is used words of freedom , tu do, translated in different language by Google translator that is not exactly of languages. It is also not save, when children climb up, what come with them if their hand locked in small holes of metal sculpture, and rusting metal can kill people by small flooding wound caused by many shaped points of metal.
    O’Connell and Novella ‘s metal works are not concern the environment around, and use lights on the ground that is easy broken by vandal.
    Most of metal works, constructed in hole forms, focusing their shadow made by light, but this place is full of mature trees covering, the sunlight hard to come. All models use light in art, light in metal sculptures is only the light to made shadow, while the light in freedom sculpture is as freedom symbol, that light in Anh’s work have the same meaning as The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
    In the three artists, I see the Freedom temple of Anh Tran is unique in one great marble block, can contemplated by all levels of viewers, is safe for all people, full of meaning of freedom for all of the immigrated local community. It is the big stone art in cheap, if compares the budget $ 250,000,000 for the metal sculptures. This Freedom Temple looks like the Stonehenge – Sun worship temple, I like it, to vote for Anh

  27. Hai Nguyen

    The steel artworks from Mr. O’Connell and Novella are not unique and they are machine-made artworks (computer design), similar to artist Matthew Richie Art21 style. We can find that type of artwork in any city or studio around the country. I think we like to have a unique artwork with craftsmanship for this project. Besides, the steel art looks cold and not fit well with the surrounding area. There is no ground work proposed for the projects. Putting the steel artwork on the bare concrete ground will not look good.

    I like the marble stone artwork of Mr. Anh Tran. It is unique and required lots of skilled craftsmanship to create the artwork. Seeing the mini module of the whole project area, I can see the stone fits well with the surrounding area, especially with the tile floor and the color stone benches surrounding the artwork area. Stone can handle extreme weather and can last forever.
    The artwork proposal meets all the requirements from the organizing committee: highly visible, destination for culture, honor freedom and democracy and inspiration for the neighborhood.
    I vote for it.

  28. Thach Huynh

    I am very impressed with each artist’s proposal artworks. They are all look wonderful as themselves.
    In the context of this public art project dedicated for Freedom, I would like to give my two cents:

    1. For Mr. Novella’s steel sculpture, it is nice to have the image of the Ha Long in Vietnam bay but this will limit to just the Vietnamese community while the goal of this art project is to promote the diversify of this community, with people come from many parts of the world seeking for freedom.
    – Looking at the sculpture design and imagine to walk into the steel sculpture, I have the impression of walking into a cave (or prison) with limited open space while freedom is all about the open space.
    – Although the RED color will make the artwork stand out and vibrant, but as a Vietnamese refugee, it reminds me of the red flag of the communist regime that has been ruined my beloved country for the last 70 years with many bloody wars and still continuing to persecute our people. What if some day someone plays a trick by spraying or putting a yellow star on the red sculpture, this would create an uproar from this Vietnamese community !
    – I am not an artist, nor an art expert, but I think a great artwork should make people understand of what it means by its symbol, not necessary to use the word “Freedom”.
    – This public park is also a playground for the children of the neighborhood. Safety is also a concern. There is no way to prevent kids from climbing onto the sculpture. There is possibility of children stuck their hands or fingers into the steel holes. Especially when the steel oxidize over time, it will be hazardous for any injury.

    2. For Mr. Joe O’Connell artworks, I’ve heard that at the end of your proposal presentation, you said you can do the project for one hundred thousand dollars. Economically, it’s great but American always saying ‘you get what you paying for’. There is a budget of 250,000 USD for the project. People would like to have a product that’s worth the money they plan to spend. Going cheap is not what they are looking for !

    3. For Mr. Anh Tran’s Freedom Temple project, this is a huge marble stone that
    you can find. It looks quite big compare with the space available for this project.

    – There are not many big stone sculptures in America. This might be the biggest stone artwork in Boston area. Stone might last for thousand years and very low maintenance.
    – I like the symbol of the sculpture that shows the Love (heart-shape sky opening), the hard work (hand-shape) of the immigrants who work hard to achieve the American dream, the thanksgiving for Freedom that America offer them.
    – The circle of colored stone benches in the proposal is not only served as sitting places for visitors but also showing the circle of many ethnics unifying to create the livelihood of this community.
    – The project overall can merge well with the surrounding area. It’s visible during the day and the light will make the sculpture stand out at night.

    In summary, thank you for all the hard works from the artists and wish you well with your creations to the world of art. I hope that our community and project leaders will choose the artwork that best represents our community in the heart of this great city.

    Thach Huynh

  29. Gerard Huber

    I am writing in support of Anh Tran’s proposal. The combination of a monumental marble monolith with benches that invite the community to come together humanizes the space and invites reflection on shared personal stories.
    The white marble resonates with other famous national monuments and focuses attention on the colorful population of dedicatees and visitors.
    Truly inspiring!

  30. Paul Losordo

    thoughtful proposals from all finalists. Juanjo’s proposal is aesthetically exciting. Joe’s tower is compact flowing but a little tame. Ann’s is difficult to approach, perhaps too cerebral?

  31. Pat Hickman

    Freedom Public Art Project proposals are each very interesting. I am writing in support of the submission by Anh Tran. His work appears to be monumental in scale–fitting with the concept and meaning of the theme of this proposed public art sculpture. Freedom is a “big” idea–and this artist’s proposal exhibits the ambition required to carve the scale of this stone. As a Vietnamese citizen who knows well what it means to come to this country, Anh’s statement is a passionate one, coming from his own experience. His proposal is very well researched and professional. I have no doubt that he is the artist whose work would be the best fit for the Viet-AID project.

    Pat Hickman, Emeritus Professor
    University of Hawaii Art Dept.

  32. Stacy

    I do like the manner in which you have framed this matter and it does indeed give me some fodder for thought. Nonetheless, through just what I have experienced, I simply just trust as other feed-back pile on that folks stay on point and don’t embark upon a tirade involving some other news of the day. All the same, thank you for this fantastic piece and whilst I can not go along with this in totality, I respect the point of view.

  33. Phil Lindsay

    Is this where I vote? I like Joe O’Connell’s the most.

  34. Ruth R.

    I like Juanjo’s proposal best. The color is eye-catching and vibrant. The scale is impressive but the structure itself isn’t overpowering because of the light passing through. The curvature dictates flow nicely and allows viewing and interaction from many different angles.
    I personally consider the use of words to be too intentional in most artwork, but I understand these proposals all were created based a strong predefined sentiment. I think this one excels in multiple aspects compared to the others.

  35. Heather Dabreu

    Anh Tranh
    While the Freedom Temple is nice, It only represents the immigrant community. I think this project should represent the community as a whole. We need to include and embrace all cultures of the community.

    Juanjo Novella
    This sculpture is ok, but not really appealing, and again, there is a special reference for the Vietnamese community. There is division in having special references of a particular culture. I don’t believe it would be good for the community to show division in a “freedom” art project that is suppose to be equally inclusive of all cultures within the community.

    Joe O’Connell
    The Freedom’s Nature has a nice underlying religious meaning, but not everyone in this community is religious. The sculpture is nice, but it also looks a little creepy at night. Maybe for Halloween!

    I really love Freedoms Herald!
    The sculpture is beautiful and the concept is inclusive to all cultures with in the community. I only wish we could have a water theme with this! Otherwise, Extremely Well Done!!!

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