Newton Community Pride relying on the power of the arts, promoted a captivating way to bring art lovers and supporters together in this transitional, almost post-pandemic world. On March 30, friends, artists, Newton’s representatives, guests and families celebrated Nancy Schön’s extensive artistic career and outstanding accomplishments.
Newton-based legendary artist Nancy Schön continues to brighten the scene. Nancy welcomed her audience with her unique, well-known warmth and charisma by sharing insightful stories and highlights of her life as an artist, dedicated mother and beloved grandmother. Best known for the charming, iconic landmark, “Make Way for Ducklings” sculpture located at the Boston Public Garden since 1987, Nancy’s work can be seen all over Boston, New England and in Moscow, where the only replica of the ducklings stands as a gift from United States First Lady Barbara Bush to Soviet First Lady Raisa Gorbachev. Another famous sculpture, well-known to Bostonians and tourists, is the Tortoise and Hare at Copley Square. It was commissioned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Boston Marathon. The sculpture, a tribute to the runners from all over the world who have participated in this oldest road race in America, was inspired by Aesop’s fable as the perfect metaphor, slow and steady wins the race.
Jim Braude, host of Greater Boston and co-host of Boston Public Radio, a longtime fan of Nancy’s work and persona, hosted the conversation in a witty and intimate dialog, amusing and entertaining the audience. Guests heard and lived Nancy’s memories learning first-hand updates of her still very active daily practices.
The legacy of this fantastic woman artist producing hundreds of artworks for over seven decades cannot be summarized in one evening. Still, Nancy was able to remind us why her work fascinates us all. She introduced one of her new works still in progress, and it was available and on view right next to her on the stage. The unfinished work is a ceramic prototype of a soldier’s boot, with the front of the boot-shaped like a bear’s mouth with large pointy fangs, ready to bite and step on a tiny nightingale bird. The Nightingale is a small bird with a thunderous loud song, and it is Ukraine’s national bird. The bear is a symbol for Russia. Nancy never refrained from expressing political and social matters through her work.
In her studio, one of her favorite places to be and where she still works daily is where the artwork comes into existence. From her creative mind to drawings, then to a maquette on wax, to a clay form, and finally, to the foundry, none of her work lacks strong symbolism. Some of her sculptures reflect and appeal to racial justice, domestic violence, human rights abuses, and human resilience and depict the need for love, respect, hope, and peace. Nancy’s work is layered with hidden messages that make us viewers confront our perceptions and question our understandings and fears.
Nancy has mastered tools for decades and has made art since high school. Inspiration comes from her father, who was a florist, and such motivation continues and transcends to the next generations of artists, including her daughters and granddaughters. The Schön family is currently working together, a group of seven women artists, creating work in various mediums that centers on seven species: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. The work explores how each plant’s virtues embody and reflect the interconnected growth in their family of Jewish women artists. A beautiful dialog and permanent connection sealed between the past, present and future.
Newton Community Pride (NCP), founded by volunteers in 1989, is a non-profit organization building community through free arts and culture programming, beautification projects and volunteerism. Gloria Gavin, NCP president, organized this wonderful event at Showcase SuperLux at The Street, Chestnut Hill. Proceeds from the evening will support Newton Community Pride and the Nancy Quint Schön Arts Scholarship.
“Art is the soul of who we are. It’s part of who we are as human beings, it separates us from animals, is part of the fabric of being a human being“. — Nancy Schön