Reception for Ceramics Program Mural at Somerville Hospital


Monday, June 20, 2016, 4:30pm to 6:00pm


CHA Somerville Hospital Emergency Department at 230 Highland Ave. Somerville, MA, 02143

The Ceramics Program, Office for the Arts at Harvard is pleased to announce the installation of a ceramic mural created by students of Instructor Allison Newsome for the CHA Somerville Hospital, part of the Cambridge Health Alliance.

 The public is invited to celebrate this collaborative public art project at a reception at the hospital on Monday, June 20, 2016 from 4:30 – 6 pm at the CHA Somerville Hospital Emergency Department at 230 Highland Ave. Somerville, MA, 02143. Light refreshments will be served. The event will be held in the ED/Main Entrance of Somerville Hospital. There is free street parking on Highland Ave or attendees can park in the Crown Street lot at the top of Tower Street for a small fee.

Created by more than 14 artists over two semesters, the salon-style mural, titled Homeostasis, incorporates life-reinforcing imagery such as fruit, flowers, and other happy themes, rendered in a ceramic relief that recalls the architectural ceramics of 15th century Italian sculptor della Robbia. Each artist worked on separate compositions that are unified by the use of a white maiolica glaze with color applied on top. For example, artist Julie Nussbaum chose to create a center medallion depicting Hygieia, goddess of health, surrounded by historical landmarks that will be familiar to Somerville community members, including the Prospect Hill Fort and the Powderhouse. Her depiction of Hygieia rising from a lotus blossom against a “bathtub mary blue” ground alludes to the familiar sights and changing demographics of the Somerville community. Artist Bruce Armitage contributed two pieces to the mural; one depicts a woman in a garden contemplating serene and happy thoughts, while the other shows a woman holding a basket with flowers. The collaborative ceramic mural is intended to “bring a human touch to a high-tech hospital environment with art that inspires, transforms and comforts patients, families, visitors and staff” in the waiting rooms of the Emergency Department and OB-GYN.

 Artists who worked on the project include: Christopher Adams, Bruce Armitage, Margaret Bearse, Deborah Bower Burke, Goce Davidov, Lesley Davison, Jia Gu, Kelley Hess, Marek Jacisin, Joyce Lauro, Catherine Lehar, Allison Newsome, Phi Nguyen, Julie Nussbaum, Brett Moore, Stephanie Osser, Elizabeth Timpson. Special thanks to Bethanie Long and Ava Penman of the Cambridge Health Alliance for their help in establishing this relationship between the Ceramics Program, Office for the Arts at Harvard and the Cambridge Health Alliance. It is the second time Newsome has led a collaborative mural project for the CHA through the Ceramics Program; in 2012 a mural utilizing local clay from the historic Stiles and Hart brick manufactory was installed outside the Women’s Health Center at the Cambridge Hospital.

 For information on current and upcoming courses, exhibitions and events of the Ceramics Program, Office for the Arts at Harvard, please call 617.495.8680 or visit