Here’s the story behind the new nature-inspired installation in Upham’s Corner

Boston AIR installment, "Traces of Wind and Water." –Georgie Friedman

If you are walking through Dorchester’s Upham’s Corner at night over the next five weeks, you may be surprised to see a peaceful and green nature scene in stark contrast to the street’s usual cityscape.

But that’s exactly what the artist, Georgie Friedman, wants.

“I hope this is a little interruption in every day life,” she said.

Starting Thursday evening, you’ll be able to see Friedman’s video projection, titled “Traces of Wind and Water,” which will run until November 14, starting at dusk each night. The installation is projected on the upper south facing brick wall of the Strand Theatre, best seen from the intersection of Columbia Avenue and Hancock Street.

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The large scale public art project features three nature filled video segments displayed on the theater’s brick wall: large trees swaying in the wind; a constantly flowing waterfall, and wild grasses and reeds. Friedman filmed all the footage herself in Millennium Park in August.

Friedman is one of three artists who were part of the city’s first ever Boston Artist-In-Residence program. Each artist was given a stipend of $20,000 and the opportunity to work with one of the city’s departments to make their pitched project a reality. Friedman collaborated with the Department of Neighborhood Development and the Parks and Recreation Department to bring her video installation to Dorchester.

“One of the greatest parts of working with the city is actually learning how the city works,” she said. “Everyone was really nice and open to the process.”

Friedman, who has lived in Boston since 2005 when she first joined the School of the Museum of Fine Arts graduate program, researched the history of Upham’s Corner for months before deciding on the location and the projections she would film for it.

“Upham’s Corner has been a vibrant neighborhood for hundreds of years and the Strand Theatre is itself historic, built in 1918 as a ‘movie and vaudeville palace,’ so projecting moving-image content on to it ties directly with that history,” she said in a statement. “Looking to the land—before Dorchester was annexed to Boston in 1870, it was a rural farming community for over 200 years. Prior to that, Native Americans from many tribes including the Wampanoag, Pequot, Nipmuck, and the Massachuset, had developed agriculture in the region, used the woods for hunting and were highly skilled in navigating the waters.”

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Friedman said she is in the process of organizing events with the city to allow for viewers to interact with and learn more about the piece and the AIR program (those interested can follow her artist page for more details about when and where in the coming weeks).

“This whole program is really exciting because it shows the city’s interests in artists and what artists can bring to a community in a different way than traditional city programs,” Friedman said.

The city announced earlier this month that 10 artists were chosen for the city’s second round of the program.

Georgie Friedman's
Georgie Friedman’s “Traces of Wind and Water.” —Meagan McGinnes / Boston.com
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