Art installation proposed for Rocky Neck

Hello RNAC neighbors & friends,

You may have received this notice from City Councilor Paul McGeary regarding a proposal for a large-scale sculpture installation at Trefry Park, across from the parking lot. Councilor McGeary has offered to meet with the Rocky Neck Art Colony and interested neighbors in advance of his January 23 city-wide meeting on this issue.  We will meet this Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 6 pm at the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck.  Hope to see you then!!

Karen Ristuben

Art installation proposed for Rocky Neck

   David Black, a nationally renowned sculptor with roots on Cape Ann, has proposed the installation of a monumental sculpture at Keith Trefry Park, opposite the parking lot at the entrance to Rocky Neck. Under his proposal, David would donate his time and talent, but another group, whether public or private has not been determined, would pay for the cost of fabricating and installing the work. David has created monumental civic sculptures for many cities in the United States and around the world. As you can see from the designs below, the sculptures are large. David says they are designed to be experienced from within as well as without, to be walked through and around. At the ward meeting on Jan. 23, I will be showing the proposals as well as some other samples of David’s work. You can also view samples of his work for cities around the country and the world at his website: David has designed two proposals, entitled “White Caps” and “High Seas.” If the project moves forward, one of the two would likely be chosen for the site.


  • I would much rather see more trees and places for people to sit and enjoy the view from that park than a large sculpture totally unrelated to the natural beauty of the setting.


    • I agree Marty, but I’d like to see a drawing of the installation. From what I saw on the link to David Black’s work, it looks very large and urban. The Keith Trefry Park could use some interesting landscaping for sure, but let’s see the proposal first. I’m thinking former Harbormaster Trefry’s family may weigh in on this.


  • Lots and lots of children and families run and play at Keith Trefry Park, using the length of the park as an open space. As we all know, the natural beauty and the views from the park are gorgeous; simply stunning. I guess my question is why is a monumental sculpture needed there? What are the overall exact square footprints of the proposed sculptures? The monumental sculptures shown on Mr. Black’s website appear in the photos to be sited on spaces that are a much larger scaled than that of Trefry Park.


  • I have to agree with Marty. I am a pretty progressive fellow and try to appreciate it even if I don’t understand it. Went to the website to see examples of the sculptors work and really don’t see it fitting into that wonderful little park. But I don’t live in Gloucester at the moment so I reckon I don’t have a say in this one.


  • Reasons why Trefry Park should not be considered for this inbstallation:

    It would obstruct one of the nicest views in Gloucester. The natural beaty of the view one can experience there speaks for itself and needs no further embellishment.
    It basically repurposes the park from a functional open space for families, kids, visitors and adults to a ‘setting’. People currently use the park for all kinds of sport and other activitiy and this installation would certainly crowd those uses out.
    It provides a perfect roost for seagulls, who love to let go right after they take off. Think about it…
    It’s out of character for the neighborhood. Rocky Neck may be an artist colony, but it is also a resdiential neighborhood and has a maritime heritage that is reflected in the surrounding architecture. This piece is too modern in the way it looks.
    It is way to big for this setting. Based upon the scale shown in the images and using the person as a measuring stick, the sculpture looks like it will be almost about 30 feet tall (taller than the abutting structures) and 30 to 40 feet across.
    Whether you like it or not is a matter personal preference and interpretation.


    • Hi Bill, I neglected to mention that Rocky Neck residents will also express their opinions on this proposed installation, which they certainly will. Based on the scale of the website’s photos of Mr. Black’s work, it’s way too large and too abstract for an old fishing community. Ain’t gonna fly, in my humble opinion. If I were an artist looking at revered Harbormaster Keith Treyfry’s park, I’d propose an installation that would replace or hide the Jersey Barrier type bulkhead which borders Wonson’s Cove, but not block THE VIEW. Low to ground and with seating for people to have lunch and admire the harbor. And with stairs to go down to the water. Just my thoughts. It’s supposedly free, just like the Wind Turbines. Let’s see the plans first. I’m sure David Black can do us right if he wants to. Give me a call: 978-283-2524.


  • I like art. But art requires context. The sculptures shown do not have a context in a small park on Rocky Neck. They are better suited to urban spaces where art of this type can break up an often oppressive architecture, providing natural lines and spacial freedom where both are a commodity. This is, however, profoundly not the case in Tefry park. Tefry park does not need a representation of natural beauty in steel, it already has natural beauty.

    That’s my best rational response. What I first thought when I saw the representation of it online was: “Looks like the remnants of a blimp crash.”

    Art is cool. But everything has a place and time. This one is way off.


  • What this park needs is a good thatching, a plugging and a heavy dose of fertilizer. The sinkholes caused by washout near the barrier needs to be filled with crushed stone & capped with some topsoil.


  • Large art installations are welcomed where natural beauty is lacking….and that is not Gloucester anywhere by the water


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