This week, Jared Bowen delves into a new public art installation at the Prudential Center. Then, a look at Fitchburg Art Museum’s pandemic efforts. Plus, a review of Trinity Repertory Company’s production of “The Catastrophist.”

“Ambrosia,” a public art installation at the Prudential Center by Cicely Carew, presented by Boston Properties in partnership with Now + There through June 30

Cicely Carew takes a photo of one of her "Ambrosia" sculptures installed at the Prudential Center
Courtesy of Now + There

The Prudential Center hosts a vibrant, new public art installation by Cambridge artist Cicely Carew. Visitors to the Pru needn’t do much more than slow down and look up to take in Carew’s “Ambrosia,” a series of abstracted, floral-inspired sculptures that hang throughout the building’s thoroughfares. Titled after the mythical nectar of the gods, the installation and its series of suspended sculptures Carew calls “floral tonics in the sky,” were inspired by the artist’s own fascination with plants and their healing properties.

“I was thinking about this as an offering,” says Carew. “An offering to humanity, an offering to life, an offering to whoever comes across it. It’s a celebration.”

The Fitchburg Art Museum provides pandemic relief to its community.

Fitchburg Families First
Fitchburg Families First provides food, school supplies, and other necessities to Fitchburg public school students and their families
Courtesy of Fitchburg Art Museum

When is a museum more than a museum? How can the arts reach beyond gallery walls? It’s questions like these that drove the Fitchburg Art Museum to implement and expand its pandemic relief program Fitchburg Families First (a collaboration with a host of fellow community organizations), which provides food, personal care items, restaurant gift cards and art projects to Fitchburg Public School students, their families, and any resident in need. Since December, the Fitchburg Art Museum has been packaging these supplies on-site in one of its studios, and distributing them at drive-thru distribution events. The program, fueled by a grant from the Cathedral Fund, a private philanthropic foundation, will continue into spring, with the final distribution event slated for June 5.

“The whole point of a nonprofit organization is to serve people,” says museum director Nick Capasso. “People have to come first. We don't let the arts suffer, but our client isn't the art. It's the people and the community that we serve.”

“The Catastrophist,” streaming on-demand via Trinity Repertory Company through May 31, 2021

The Catastrophist
William DeMeritt (Nathan) in "The Catastrophist" produced by Marin Theatre Company and Round House Theatre
Courtesy of Marin Theatre Company, Round House Theatre, and Trinity Repertory Company

Laruen Gunderson’s latest play hits close to home—her own home, actually. The playwright’s new work “The Catastrophist” tells the story of her husband, virologist Nathan Wolfe, who was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for his work tracking viral pandemics. Time-hopping through various points in his life, this digital theater production, starring William DeMeritt, follows Wolfe’s journeys from Cameroon to the CDC as he tracks viruses and hones in on the value of family.

“'The Catastrophist’ is at its most compelling when we’re running along the global trail blazed by a 'virus hunter,'” says Bowen. “Of course in this pandemic moment, the normally abstract and obscure lives of viruses and the scientists corralling them make for a commanding thriller. I only wanted more of that and less of the personal exposition. Nonetheless the show tends toward the riveting.”

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