Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial

©2014 Christian Phillips Photography 

©2014 Christian Phillips Photography 

Monday, April 7 through Sunday, May 11, Boston Public Library, Central Location, Copley Square, McKim Exhibition Hall

On April 15, 2013, two bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, transforming the city, its residents, and the runners and visitors participating in this world-famous event. Almost immediately, a makeshift memorial began to take shape, first at the police barricade at the intersection of Boylston and Berkeley Streets and later at Copley Square. People from across the globe left flowers, posters, notes, t-shirts, hats, tokens of all shapes and sizes, and—most significantly—running shoes. In June, the memorial was dismantled and these thousands of objects were transferred to the Boston City Archives for safekeeping. It is only now, after months of preservation and organization, that the collection’s meaning has become clear. Each of these objects, whether giant banner or tiny scrap of paper, store-bought or handmade, is a message of love, support, and hope for a city in mourning.

For the one-year anniversary of the bombing, selections from the memorial collection will be displayed in the exhibition Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial at the Boston Public Library. This exhibition will provide an opportunity for visitors to once again experience the outpouring of love that everyday people brought to Copley Square in the first weeks after the bombing. It will help visitors make meaning from this tragedy while providing a quiet public space for reflection. As they encounter the profound emotions the messages from the memorial evoke, visitors will be encouraged to ask themselves what they can do to sustain and build upon these expressions of communal support, and to move forward together to heal a grieving city.

Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial is being organized by a partnership that includes the Boston City ArchivesBoston Art CommissionNew England Museum Association, and Boston Public Library. It is made possible by the generous support of Iron Mountain. The exhibition will be on view from April 7 through May 11, 2014, at the Central Library in Copley Square, located at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and steps away from the original memorial. 


Sunday, January 19 through Wednesday, April 23, Curry College Student Center

"Aftermath" is a photographic reflection on the Boston Marathon Bombings of April 15, 2013, and how they affected both the people of Boston and professional photographer Joshua Touster. Photographs from Touster's "Aftermath" series will be on display in the Curry College Student Center's Shelley Hoon Keith Quiet Study Lounge from January 19 through April 23.

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To Boston With Love 2014

Tuesday, April 1 through Wednesday, April 30, Boston Museum of Fine Arts

“To Boston With Love,” an installation of more than 1,700 hand-sewn flags strung across the Shapiro Family Courtyard, returns to the MFA on the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon tragedy. The flags were created by quilters from nearly every state in the US and from countries around the world in tribute to the city. The flags convey inspirational messages of hope, evoke symbols of love and peace, and highlight iconic Boston images—the familiar “B” of the Boston Red Sox logo, the Citgo sign, Zakim Bridge, the city’s skyline, and “Boston Strong.” The project was a grass-roots effort conceived by Berene Campbell of Vancouver, Canada, and organized locally by Amy Friend of West Newbury.

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Boston Strong?

Tuesday, April 15 through Tuesday, April 22, Community Church of Boston

This exhibition seeks to spark public discussion and debate about the meaning of the popular "Boston Strong" slogan. The artists contend that there is a disparity between media coverage of the victims of last year's tragic Boston Marathon bombing, many of whom are white and live outside Boston, and media coverage of the victims of ongoing criminal assaults around Boston, many of whom are people of color and live in the city. Over 40 people have been killed in Boston, mostly by guns, since the bombing. But there is no outpouring of sympathy and financial support for those victims' families from around the Greater Boston area, and little serious talk of ameliorating the poverty that causes crime in Boston's working class neighborhoods of color.

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Aftermath: Remembering the Boston Marathon Bombing

Wednesday, April 2 through Tuesday, April 29, Newton Free Library

In conjunction with photographer Joshua Touster's illustrated lecture Aftermath: Remembering the Boston Marathon Bombing on April 17, a weekly rotating display of Touster’s stunning post-Marathon bombing photographs will be on view in the library’s Atrium from April 2-29. A freelance photographer since 1981, Joshua Touster’s clients include Massachusetts General Hospital, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Harvard Law School, among others. He has taught at Wellesley College, School of the Museum of Fine Arts and New England School of Photography. Touster has exhibited his work extensively both in the U.S. and abroad.

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Bled for Boston

Thursday, April 3 through Wednesday, April 30

Bled for Boston is a photography project documenting the people who received tattoos after the Boston Marathon Bombings in 2013. In April of 2014, the Boston Center for Adult Education will host a month-long exhibition of photographs of both the tattoos and portraits of the people who "Bled for Boston" at tattoo shops all over New England. There will also be an online gallery and a book, also called "Bled for Boston". A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

Opening Reception: April 3, 2014, 6-8pm

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Memorial Installation and Peace Cranes at Old South Church

Tuesday, April 8 through Tuesday, April 22, Old South Church, Boylston Street

On April 15, 2013, Old South Church's blue and gold tower banners overlooked the Marathon Finish Line, saluting the race, the athletes, and the international spirit of sport. The banners bore witness to the ensuing tragedies and, behind FBI crime scene barriers, they hung for eight days at the mercy of wind and rain. They were tattered, but not destroyed. This year, these very banners are lovingly transformed by artist Kathleen Simone and installed along Boylston Street, at the heart of a city that was shaken but not destroyed.

Last Spring, Old South Church was gifted with 1,000 paper cranes. Each crane is a prayer for peace lifted up for us by a community desperate for peace. The cranes were first folded to mark the tenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks (Saron United Church of Christ, Sheboygan Falls, WI). After a school shooting in Chardon, OH the cranes were sent to Pilgrim Christian Church, Chardon. Pilgrim Church then sent them to Newtown Congregational Church in Newtown, CT. Old South Church’s ministers and members were humbled to receive such a precious gift of sympathy. We display these cranes in a defiant plea for an end to violence.

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The Boston Marathon Bombing Digital Archive Exhibit

Thursday, April 10 through Wednesday, April 30, International Village, Northeastern University

Our Marathon is opening an exhibition in International Village at Northeastern University, where stories and images from the Boston bombing will be displayed. Come to the reception on Thursday, April 10, from 4:30 to 6pm. This exhibition is supported by The College of Social Sciences and Humanities and NU Lab for Texts, Maps and Networks.