(Photo by Johanna Kaiser for boston.com)
A new piece of public art received a warm welcome from local officials, artists, and animal lovers Friday when the Animal Rescue League of Boston unveiled the latest addition to its dog play yard.
"Dancing with Spheres" is a 12-foot tall stainless steel and bronze sculpture of a cat, dog, and other small animals in a playful scene that many said serves as a welcoming art piece at the gateway to the South End and a tribute to the love of animals.
“It really speaks to kindness to animals," Malcolm McDonald, chairman of the League's board of directors, said. "These are very happy animals and it is clearly a statement of the joy that is felt as a function of the kindness that is delivered.”
The sculpture features a cat and dog holding paws as they appear to be dancing, along with a turtle, squirrel, and bird. It was created by Medford-based sculptor David Phillips.
Spheres are incorporated throughout the work to link the animals in motion, and serve as a reference to dogs playing fetch.
Phillips's public art work can be found throughout the United States and Japan. Some of his local work includes the frogs at Boston Common’s Tadpole Playground and the snails at Quincy Square Park in Cambridge.
His own love of animals can be seen in the sculpture. The dog holding the ice cream cone was inspired by his niece's ice cream business and her dog, Scoop, while the cat was inspired by Phillips's own cat Luna.
“The work was a great joy for me to work on,” Phillips said.
Tony Lopes, a Brookline artist and former Framingham Public Schools teacher, commissioned the work as a way to combine his love of art and animals.
“I just can’t believe how perfectly it came out. You’re all going love it, I know it," Lopes said. “This incredible piece of work not only enriches the community, it enriched my life to no end.”
McDonald, the League's chairman, said the work is also a celebration of the work the Animal Rescue League does every day.
“There are a variety of things that we do, but at the end of the day the essence of what this organization does is deliver kindness to animals and also to people," he said. "I don’t know a single person who hasn’t had their life enriched through the companionship of an animal.
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