Arts & Culture Transportation

Public Art Proposal: “Glass Garden” by North End Artist Nathan Swain

Nathan Swain, a local artist and North End resident, is proposing a “Glass Garden” at the corner of Richmond and North Street within the empty concrete fenced space. Nate brought the concept to the June 14, 2012 meeting of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association where it was generally well-received by those in attendance.

The sidewalk “garden” would be made with custom tiles consisting of thousands of blue and black opal glass beads inspired by the colored lights of the trellis at Christopher Columbus Park. In addition to the tiles on the ground, Nate is considering ideas for some vertical art elements, such as trees. At the meeting, it was suggested that musical notes or instruments might be appropriate given the piano repair and violin making arts at the North Bennet Street School.

Swain is currently talking with the new property owner, the North Bennet Street School, about the project and would also like to get feedback from North End residents. If all parties approve, Nate plans on doing a fundraiser to pay for the artwork. He intends to donate his own labor, keeping the estimated cost low at $5,000.

The artist would like the project to be viewed as a building-warming gift to the North Bennet Street School from the neighborhood. The area is fenced in, so there would be no maintenance other than occasional cleaning.

Nathan Swain is probably most well-known for the painted murals on the Salem St. Powerhouse and the wall wrap at St. Leonard’s Peace Garden. He also has some ideas for the Greenway. See more examples of his work at where he describes his mission to transform the realm of public space using neglected city spots as his canvas.

3 Replies to “Public Art Proposal: “Glass Garden” by North End Artist Nathan Swain

  1. Another fake art installation ….Just say no. No more painted canvas covered walls. No fake stone wall in the flights will keep the kids from partying there. No fake garden made of glass. Let the students and faculty of the NBSS design what THEY want to see outside the school. If people want to donate money to beautify the neighborhood…give it to the friends of the Prado so the trees can be trimmed again or so that the Friends of Christopher Columbus park can plant more flowers and maintain the Rose Garden or donate the $ to help clean up “needle park”. Mr Swain should find some other place to cover with painted canvas or glass flowers. The North End had enough of his “art” now..

  2. Wow! I have the pleasure of working with Nathan on another beautification project for Parcels 8-10. His
    understated style makes these discoveries possible only through your efforts. Fabulous idea and impressive talent. Thanks for making me aware of yet another of his accomplishments.

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