Dorchester Voices/ Dorchester History
“Its skin is a little tough. But inside, it’s sweet as butter.” According to local artist Laura Baring-Gould, the Clapp pear is a “fitting metaphor for the people of Dorchester” and a unique symbol of the neighborhood’s history. This variety of pear was first cultivated in 1830 at the Clapp family farm, located two blocks from Edward Everett Square, now a bustling urban intersection. In the course of designing the sculpture, Baring-Gould collaborated with the Dorchester Historical Society to collect the oral histories of a diverse variety of neighborhood residents. She also conducted research in local archives and museums and held over a hundred meetings with civic leaders to discuss how her work should represent the Dorchester community.
While the pear represents Dorchester and its people as a whole, Baring-Gould has created a series of smaller sculptures to highlight the individual stories of the Dorchester residents she’s come to know. Life-sized renditions of everyday objects—a baseball mitt, oyster shells, a telephone—illustrate their professions and pastimes. At the base of each sculpture, quotations from Dorchester residents, both living and long gone, hint at the significance of these objects.
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