SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

June 24, 2013

Artist plans to bring 'Oracle' to Beverly

BEVERLY — You walk into a single-room structure on Beverly Common. As you sit in the chair surrounded by painted frescoes, a voice greets you.

“Welcome to the Beverly Oracle.”

That’s the vision that an artist from Brooklyn hopes to bring to Beverly as part of a National Endowment for the Arts public arts competition.

Anna Schuleit Haber, whose projects have included placing 28,000 blooming flowers in a closed psychiatric hospital and erecting 10-foot-high mirrors off an island in Boston Harbor, has been selected as the winner of the design competition.

The next step is to make the project become a reality. The estimated budget for the project is $250,000, which Montserrat College of Art President Steve Immerman said the college hopes to raise through grants and donations.

“There’s work to be done to figure out where it’s going to come from,” Immerman said. “To attract internationally recognized artists, you have to be ambitious. I’m hopeful. I’m excited, and I’m hopeful.”

The public arts competition was hosted by the city of Beverly, Montserrat College of Art and Beverly Main Streets after the group received a $75,000 “Our Town” grant last year from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Most of the grant money is being used to create a plan for an arts and cultural district in downtown Beverly, but a portion was used to pay for the public art competition’s selection process.

Schuleit Haber's “The Beverly Oracle” design was selected from a field of 75 applicants. According to her preliminary proposal, this is how it works:

A visitor enters a free-standing, ground-level, single-room structure with a roof and tall glass windows located on Beverly Common, in front of Montserrat College.

The person sits in a chair and is welcomed by a voice from speakers. The voice then asks, “What brings you here? What is your question?”

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