In the afterglow of the ICA's announcement of an opening date, I stumbled upon this fascinating chunk of recent history. Harry, the lab, not only attended the ICA's ground-breaking in 2004. He was one of the dignitaries to sign the beam to be placed in the new building's foundation.
Harry's a busy dog. But he was kind enough to answer a few e-mailed questions.
Why were you at the ICA for the ground breaking?
First, I was under the misimpression that ICA stood for Institute of Canine Art. I've learned subsequently that it's a museum that goes way beyond that and encourages fresh thinking and creative energy from humans too. That's great.
Second, I attended the ground breaking much like a human would want to be at an archeological site. When they turned over the earth, they uncovered scents that had been buried at an earlier time in Boston's history. And what a history it's been wouldn't you say. And then to realize that the new site for the ICA is in an area that has been relatively dormant to development all these years. Wow!
And that the new ICA will be the first new museum in the city for a hundred years. Bow Wow!
My third reason for attending is that I was enthralled with all the people present, from clowns in gowns to the powerful and prominent. I have to admit that distinguishing among the many had me a bit confused at times.
And I liked the music that the band was playing.
From your perspective, as a dog, what did you see that humans might have missed?
The event attracted birds that ordinarily don't hang around much. Usually they're soaring and having a high old time on the wind currents. But on that day, they circled and observed the activity below. And then they spun off to spread the news of the new location of the ICA to parts far away.
I also noticed that the humans all had smiles on their faces. That's not a very common observance, especially in Boston. I do notice it more on the Cape especially in the summer on the beaches. And because it was a sunny and warm day on the day of the ground breaking, the smiles were really wide and genuine. People were pretty happy that the digging was underway. How canine like when you think about it.
How disappointing has the ICA's postponed opening been for you?
The delay has really done nothing to remove the smiles as far as I've noticed. The work is proceeding on the site with great strides and what's in a schedule anyway. Humans could learn a lot from dogs if they would more easily just get up in the morning and go about their day. You never now what you're going to find along the way. And if all you do is rush to get somewhere, you miss all that is in the journey. When it's finished, the ICA is really going to be ground breaking. I can't wait, but I'm in no haste if that makes any sense to you.
What are you most looking forward to about the building?
I'm looking forward to languid days at the ICA basking in the sun and looking out over the beautiful Boston Harbor. I'm looking forward to day after day of smiling faces and crowded events as new works are unveiled and new visitors arrive for the first time to see mind expanding creations. And I know that the heart will expand to as these works touch on human emotions. We dogs are more adept at picking up the subtleties of human concerns, joys, and mood swings.The new ICA will be a boost to the city's mood especially on cold and windy days those that blow in the winter. The ICA will be like lying by the fire in a cozy mountain cabin.
[One note for Harry: The ICA tells us only seeing eye dogs are allowed inside. "He can certainly visit outside the ICA," says ICA spokeswoman Melissa Kuronen.]