Art in the Round

Sculptor Jeff Briggs brings New England creatures to life on the Kennedy Greenway carousel
Watch a video of Jeff Briggs as he takes the carousel project from idea to installation. Video: Steffan Hacker
October 15, 2013

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The lifelike animals on Boston’s newest carousel were turning around in the mind of Jeff Briggs long before they appeared on the Rose Kennedy Greenway late this summer. Briggs, A71, specializes in making public sculptures and monuments, and has designed several regional-themed carousels around the country. The challenge for the Boston carousel was to create rides shaped like animals you’d encounter in the “land, sea, and air of the New England environment.”

The animals had to be realistic, Briggs says. But they also “had to be rideable, had to be mountable.” The lobster, a spiky beast in nature, required some smoothing out for tots. The harbor seal was intended as an accessible, chariot-type ride, and Briggs wondered if a real seal could bend its body enough to provide back support. A visit to the New England Aquarium reassured him that it could.

These characters joined a grasshopper (based on the weather vane atop Boston’s Faneuil Hall), a peregrine falcon, a skunk, a whale and eight other local fauna, all sculpted at his home studio in Newburyport, Mass. The finishing touch for each animal was a bright, kid-pleasing paint job by artist Bill Rogers, a longtime collaborator. “It’s nothing if it doesn’t have color,” Briggs says.

For information on visiting the Kennedy Greenway carousel, go here.

Steffan Hacker can be reached at steffan.hacker@tufts.edu. David Brittan can be reached at david.brittan@tufts.edu