I ran across an announcement that the "Make Way for Ducklings" sculpture in Boston’s Public Garden just celebrated its 20th birthday. The bronze pieces by Nancy Schön are one of my favorite pieces of public art. I love seeing kids climb on the back of Mrs. Mallard or petting one of her ducklings following along. The sculpture so engages the user; it is what public art is all about for me.
That’s one reason for instance why I like Chicago’s Crown Fountain or Cloud Gate so much. I don’t care that everyone has to have their picture take at "The Bean". Isn’t that the point? Congratulations to Chicago for developing Millennium Park, a tourist attraction that five years ago was just railroad tracks.
So what does this have to do with Cincinnati? Well, maybe nothing. But maybe some lessons learned like public art should be fun and engaging and maybe a bit whimsical. And as places like the Central Riverfront Park are executed, this needs to be remembered and reinforced.
- Mr. & Mrs. Mallard's ducklings are named Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack
- Robert McCloskey, author of the book on which the sculpture is based and dedicated, is from Hamilton, OH. As a kid my mom would take me to storyhour at the Lane Public Library's Robert McCloskey Children's Room.