Turville Installs Art Door in Brewster's Woods

December 9, 2022 by Stewart Ikeda

Brewsters Woods Door by Bill Turville

The Umbrella has collaborated with Mass Audubon  on a new entry to the 2022 Go Out Doors - Neighbors project by longtime friend of The Umbrella, artist William Turville!

Mass Audubon has opened up a very large and scenic parcel of woodlands, wetlands, and fields along the Concord River for public use. This old farmland estate is part of a large parcel formerly owned by William Brewster, a prominent local ornithologist, conservationist, and curator, who served as the first president of the Massachusetts Audubon Society while he lived in Concord from 1891 to 1919.

Mass Audubon asked Turville to fashion a “welcoming” door/entry or marker at the intersection, marked by two large pine trees, of two popular paths through this preserved area. Although most of the artdoors from the 2022 temporary installation have been removed from sites around Concord, this particular installation is intended to be permanent, to remain there as long as possible until nature reclaims the wooden elements that compose it.

For this project, Mr. Turville has continued in his efforts, in building this installation, to use local materials and artifacts for the project. Centered on the installation of an ancient, weathered gate, as the “door”, he has created a portal from fence parts from the farm, antique implements, and branches and brush cleared from the woods by Mass Audubon staff. A quote from William Brewster, chosen by Mass Audubon, is wood-burned onto a slab of locally-sourced maple.

The gate is ajar, to signal Mass Audubon’s welcoming of the public to this historic preserved woodland. Everyone involved hopes that this installation will also help those who are enjoying this land to appreciate the land and its history, and the effort that Mass Audubon has made to preserve William Brewster’s woods for all to enjoy.

“Welcome to Brewster’s Woods” can be accessed from Mass Audubon’s trails at Brewster’s Woods Wildlife Sanctuary off of Balls Hill Road in Concord. The project is located along the Bluebird Field Loop, where the trail meets the southeast corner of the meadow. For parking information and a trail map, please visit massaudubon.org/brewsterswoods.

As a sculptor, Bill has worked with many arts and environmental organizations, including a varied, productive, and creative twenty-plus year connection to The Umbrella Arts Center and its Arts and Environment program, where he has served on the Advisory Council. He will use nearly any material or medium or combination of mediums, working in two- and three-dimensions and at various scales, and is well known in Concord for vibrant, whimsical creations crafted from recycled materials at the recycling center's annual DropOff SwapOff. Most recently with The Umbrella, in 2020, Turville participated in the annual Art Ramble at Fairyland Pond, and created the massive temporary structure at Millbrook Tarry, titled "Oh Go Ahead" in an Umbrella naming contest!

He enjoys working collaboratively on larger community projects which are aligned with his views on environmental and social justice issues. He is a 1972 Pratt B.Arch. graduate, with graduate work at Mass. College of Art, course work at The DeCordova Museum, and several residencies at the Vermont Studio Center. His full-time/full-service architecture and sculpture studio is located in Waltham, MA.

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