Give Feedback On Public Art For Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools

Join Cambridge Arts for a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Oct 12, 2021, at 05:30 p.m. to give feedback and ask questions about public art that four finalist are proposing for Cambridge’s Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools, as part of a reconstruction of the complex at 197 Vassal Lane. The finalists will participate in the meeting. The 20-person Site Committee is expected to announce the winning project in November.

Register: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

You can also send feedback about the art proposals by emailing Cambridge Arts at

The Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools reconstruction is a project of the Cambridge City Manager's Office, the Department of Public Works, Cambridge Public Schools, Cambridge Arts and the Department of Human Services Programs. The project architect is Perkins Eastman.


Daily tous les jours proposal for public art at Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools.

Daily tous les jours of Montreal

Located near the future City Sprouts garden, in a meeting place where school and the neighbourhood intersect, a canopy with sculptural seating plays with water. Rainy days, snowy days, sunny days, The Dish is transformed with the elements. Like great tree branches and boulders, they are good for high-touch play, climbing and lounging. They create a living landmark welcoming kids and adults everyday to spend time, before, after school, waiting for a friend, or taking a break from a walk.

The canopy provides shade and is activated during rain events–it collects, filters and controls the flow of water. On the ground, a sculptural bench slows the flow of water, its curvy surface making water stream and pool in different directions before falling to foot level and entering the ground. Demonstrating water management strategies, The Dish offers a playful environment for anyone to be–over, under and around.

Gregory Gómez and Rodrigo Nava proposal for public art at Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools.

Gregory Gómez of Newtonville and Rodrigo Nava of Putney, Vermont

Gómez/Nava's proposal for the new Vassal Lane/Tobin school, Elemental Gifts (working title), is to create five separate sculptural works that reference the architect's design organization, where the interior areas are connected to The Elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. These align with the geometry's five unique Regular Solids (Platonic Solids) Earth = Cube, Air = Octahedron, Fire = Tetrahedron and Water = Icosahedron, along with a fifth, Dodecahedron = Universe. We would reinterpret these five shapes using a broad range of sculptural approaches and building materials, for both a unique sculptural and educational experience for students. Teachers could use the sculptures to address elemental notions of mathematics, geometry and science, as we hope to connect to the Montessori and upper school's math and science learning outcomes. Students and visitors would follow an ADA-approved path to encounter each of the five sculptures located following the Fibonacci sequence. This is another learning opportunity as the sculpture engages visitors intellectually, visually, physically and sonically.

IKD proposal for public art at Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools.

IKD -- Yugon Kim and Tomomi Itakura -- of Boston and San Francisco

Our project reuses existing materials on the site that are meaningful to the community, creating opportunities for experiential learning and engagement. We wish to highlight the critical role that trees play in a healthy ecosystem that sustains our planet and all living things, as well as issues of temporality as a response to typical industrial practices of making materials that last forever, which often leads to environmental issues.

Inspired by the beloved apple tree at the edge of the playground planned to be removed during construction, our project aims to carry forward through civic participation not only its physical DNA but also its legacy of placemaking, inclusion, and community that will continue to grow well into the future.

Embracing the progressive educational approach of both schools, our project strives to blur the traditional, established norms of public art by bringing together botany, science, art, social experiment, and pure joy.

The Urban Conga proposal for public art at Tobin Montessori and Vassal Lane Upper Schools.

The Urban Conga of Brooklyn, New York

Change only happens through time. This timeline of change is the main driver in our concept titled “Timescape,” a series of ever-changing landmarks that utilize play methodologies to spark open conversations about the past, present, and future of Cambridge and our planet.

“Timescape” is broken into three components which are the past, present, and future. The past is about what has been done and how we learn from it. The present is our opportunity to explore the choices we can begin to make in order to evoke change in the future. The future is the change we hope and prepare for.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen alone; we need to work as a community to create a more resilient world. “Timescape” is designed as a timeless series of ever-changing moments that are always shifting and responding to the people, the landscape, and the interactions between them.


3/15/2021: Tobin Public Art Meet-And-Greet March 24
9/21/2020: Create Public Art For New Cambridge School Complex