Episode #2: The Hidden Value of Public Art With Laura Connor

In the second episode of Baker2Go, Dr. Laura Connor explores the value of art that is free and open to everyone, and how we can learn valuable lessons from our history through some quick and simple analysis.

Dr. Laura Connor

Dr. Laura Connor Laura is a native of California. She has lived in Spain, France, Bolivia, Mexico, Brazil, and London, and has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Latin America. She has a dual B.A. in Hispanic Studies and French Studies from Scripps College, an M.A. in Art History from Richmond University in London, an M.A. in Spanish Literature from Harvard University, and a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University.

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CM's world language department ... offers several different options for students to learn, including Spanish, French, Chinese, Latin, and Irish. In fact, CM is the only secondary school in the United States to offer Irish as a language option for its students!

To meet the faculty that make up the department, click here.

Robert Gould Shaw ... was a colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War. He was from a prominent abolitionist family in Boston – he actually lived in West Roxbury as a child. During the Civil War, he commanded the 54th Regiment, which was the first regiment made up entirely of African-American soldiers. The soldiers were volunteers and included two of Frederick Douglass’s sons. Shaw supported his men’s demands that they be paid the same as white soldiers. Shaw and many of his men were killed in the Second Battle of Fort Wagner in South Carolina. If you’ve ever seen the film Glory, you’ll know a little bit about the history of Shaw and his men, and you’ve also seen the sculpture, which appears at the end of the film. You can read some of Shaw's actual letters here.

The Memorial ... was designed by August Saint-Gaudens, an American sculptor. The sculpture was unveiled in 1897, over 30 years after Shaw’s death in 1863. The sculpture includes a Latin inscription, omnia relinquit servare rempublicam, which roughly translates to: “He sacrificed all to preserve the republic.” Shaw was only 25 when he died and had gotten married right before the start of the Civil War, so he really did sacrifice a good portion of his life to defend the ideals of the union.

More of Dr. Connor's favorite public art destinations in Boston ...

  • "To immigrants with love" project murals in Roslindale and East Boston, which invokes the vital role of immigrants in Boston's past and present. We hope to have some of the muralists exhibit their work at our upcoming International Week in March.
  • "New England Holocaust Memorial" in Downtown Boston. The glass towers evoke the smoke stacks of concentration camps and are etched with numbers reminiscent of those used to identify prisoners. 
  • "Graffiti Alley" (Modica Way) in Central Square, Cambridge, MA off of Mass Ave. This is one of the only places in the city where any street artist can paint legally. 
  • "Betances Mural" in the South End, which honors the city's Puerto Rican community. 
  • "Nieli'ka mural" on the side of the restaurant Purple Cactus in Jamaica Plain. This mural pays tribute to an art form practiced by indigenous peoples in Central Mexico.

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Catholic Memorial, the Christian Brothers School of Boston, prepares boys for college, manhood and a world full of unknown challenges, ambiguity and complex problems and the importance of relationships.


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West Roxbury, Massachusetts 02132
Phone: 617-469-8000
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