River Festival Race 2017 a Success!

River Festival Race 2017 a Success!

The third annual People’s Sculpture Race (PSR) at the 2017 Cambridge Arts River Festival was once again a stupendous and hilarious success for artists and engineers, art lovers and racing enthusiasts, families and flaneurs. Here’s the link to images by Andrew Held and Tye Martin.

This was our second year at the Lechmere Park site in East Cambridge. The field of 12 racing artists sped 3/4 mile along the headwaters of the Charles River down the Cambridge Parkway, then back up a sidewalk crammed with passers-by whom PSR volunteers struggled vainly to restrain.

We are very grateful to our jurors this year–MIT Museum Curator Deborah Douglas, who also handed out trophies at the awards ceremony; Leslie University College of Art and Design Dean Richard Zauft; and Kinetic Sculptors Nancy Selvage and David Lang, both members of the Boston Sculptors Gallery.


In Memoriam

David Lang, who had planned to join the PSR team and had nurtured emerging artists and engineers for sculpture racing, passed away in November, after an oncoming car hit and rocketed a deer through his windshield. “His loving spirit kinetically left his body and passed into the hearts of those who loved him,” his daughter Amy Zapata said at the memorial service,  We miss David dearly. 


New This Year

There were three major innovations to the race this year.

First–instead of trophies for best speed (first, second, and third place across the finish line), trophies were given for speed (first across the finish line), most spectacular, and most ingenious. PSR Team Member Rory Beerits generously crafted brilliant trophies for the third time this year. Thank you, Rory! (Held image)

Second,  The Fund for the Arts, a public art program of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), generously bestowed upon us a one-time grant for 2017’s races, which included a purse divided equally among the teams that participated in the River Festival Race. On behalf of the PSR team and all of the racers, thank you NEFA!!!

Additionally, for the first time folks who initially participated in the April Community Sculpture Race at Danehy Park participated in the River Festival Race. This met our hope that the community race would serve to recruit community members, families, and kids into the River Festival Race, and also that our workshops could bring racing tyros up to engineering speed. These two teams were the Schainker-Frehywot Family (which ended up winning the speed trophy!) and the Fornasaro Family. Workshops were held by David Lang and PSR Chief Engineer Jeff DelPapa.

The workshops and the Danehy Park race were sponsored by PSR’s partner in art the Cambridge Arts Council (CAC). The CAC granted PSR a Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) Local Cultural Council Arts Access grant last year. The CAC were also our gracious hosts at the River Festival. Thank you, Jason Weeks, Julie Barry, Arts Council and Cultural Council!!!


Field of Twelve Racers

Work Year Artist
Schooling 2017 Artist Operation
Beeline to the Finish Line 2017 Schainker-Frehywot Family
The Ladder Machine 2017 Natalie-Newton Pelletier
Sisyphus Was a Journalist 2017 Multi Gallant Enterprises
Biblio Burro* 2017 Scott Ruescher
Platonic Solid Orrey 2017 Daniel B. Rosenberg
Snake in the Grass* 2017 & 2015 American Family Happily Institute/Be Be
Planet Express 2.0* 2016 Fornasar Family
Sisyphus* 2015r Harvard Physics Team/Kim Bernard
Who Carnio Flunx* 2015 Jeff Del Papa and Parts & Crafts
Dizzy the Cat* 2015 Jeff Del Papa and Parts & Crafts
Wheel #1 1982 Bill Wainwright

*The work or an earlier version has raced with PSR before.


Speed Winner: Beeline to the Finish Line by the Schainker-Frehywot Family.  The family worked with David Lang to engineer bee wing motion. Images: Left, Isaac weaving through the crowd; right, Elizabeth, Isaac, and Gojeb accepting trophy. (Held & Martin images, respectively)


Ingenuity Winner: Sisyphus by the Harvard Physics Team with Kim Bernard. Among many highly ingenious works this year, Sisyphus won for its wacky genius in running on square wheels. This works because the wheels roll smoothly on its catenary semi-circular tracks which racers must continually run forward after the ‘boat’ passes. This was the second time Sisyphus has appeared at a PSR race. It also raced last summer at the inaugural Rockland Sculpture Race in Rockland Maine, which Kim founded. Kinetic artist Kim Bernard is on the PSR’s advisory board. (Held image)

Spectacle: Who Carnio Flux by teens and artists from Parts and Crafts with Jeff DelPapa. The work, based on a Dr. Seuss machine, has multiple human sound-making instruments. Parts and Crafts is a Somerville maker space for kids. Jeff is PSR’s Chief Engineer. (Martin image)

Schooling by Artist Operation, a piece celebrating the power and beauty of collaboration. Another work of genius by one of the home teams! The fish miraculously wiggle driven by cams. Everyone gets lots of spinning exercise. (Held image)

The Ladder Machine by Natalie Newton-Pelletier. Natalie discovers the joys of hamster-tude. (Held image)

Sisyphus Was a Journalist, by Multi Gallant Enterprises. The sisyphean metaphor for futility is here applied to journalists, fated to doggedly fact-check the Trump administration’s every tweet. (Martin image)

BiblioBurro by Scott Ruescher and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The work is based on Luis Soriano’s traveling library that distributes books to patrons from the backs of two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, in remote populations on Colombia’s Caribbean shore. Scott also co-read the PSR Manifesto at the event. Thank you, Scott! (Held image)

Platonic Solid Orrery by Daniel Rosenberg. An orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system that demonstrates and predicts through kinetic motion relative positions of solar bodies. In 1596, Johannes Kepler proposed that the distance relationships between the six planets known at that time could be understood in terms of the five Platonic solids. Daniel worked with David Lang on the mechanics of the Orrery. (Martin image)

Snakes in the Grass, by the American Family Happily Institute. The work “helps us remember that, just like most snakes, most people are not out to get us. They may be in our way sometimes, but they usually want to get out of our way and go about their day trying to survive, just like we do.” (Held image)

Planet Express 2.0 by the Fornasaro Family with Raquel Fornasaro. The Fornasaros worked with David Lang on a custom propulsion system for the space vehicle (bubbles). (Held image)

Dizzy the Cat, by Parts and Crafts children and artists with PSR Chief Engineer Jeff DelPapa. The kitty’s paw bats at a kinetic bird that flys around it. (Held image)

Wheel #1 by Bill Wainwright, 1924-2012. Bill was a member of the original sculpture racing group, World Sculpture Racing Society, in the 1980s. He had been an architect and retired to become a full time public artist. His Wheel #2 raced (and won first place) in PSR’s inaugural River Festival race in 2015 and was subsequently accessioned by the MIT Museum. Wheel #1 raced this year kindness of Clara Wainwright. Thank you, Clara! (Martin image)

Additional Thanks!

Nicholas Herold & Em Bridgham for timing the racers and deploying the large racing flags for managing starts and finishes; David Eggers for managing load in and the site. Emmalee Todd for holding down the welcome table. Chris and Scott Kyle for transport help. Doug Hayden for garaging Wheel #1. And all of our fans and supporters unnamed.

We’ll see you all again in 2018!

Rory Beerits, Jeff DelPapa, T.T. & Dennis Svoronos, Rock Louis, Daniel Rosenberg, Scott Ruescher, Wendy Whoriskey, Andrew Held, Christian Herold

People’s Sculpture Racing Team

Raceday is Coming!

Arrive early–it’s hard to find the location. See logistics at this link and below.

Dennis Svoronos Design.


11 AM sharp – opening ceremony at the Sculpture Garden
11:10 or so – staggered race from the Garden down Cambridge Parkway and back the same way.
11:50 or so – awards ceremony at the Garden
12-6 – sculpture racing exhibition at the Garden


The Sculpture Garden and the Start and Finish lines are at the top (north) of  Cambridge Parkway.  There’s no parking there.

THREE MAPS (the first two are upside-down)

River Fest - the Sculpture Garden
The Sculpture Garden. This above map is upside-down (east is to the left!)

River Fest - Walk from First Street
Walk to the Sculpture Garden along Lechmere Canal, which runs east from Cambridgeside Galleria (the above map is also upside-down; east is to the left!)

Where is the River Festival
Cambridge Parkway runs along the Charles River near the Science Center. (This map is correct.)

Location of River Festival
And where is all that? (Red marker is right next to start/finish line.)

How do you get there?

Walk easterly from the Cambridgeside Galleria past the fountain, along the Lechmere Canal, under Land Boulevard, towards the Charles River.

If you’re dropping someone off, drive in a northerly direction along Land Boulevard (the wide orange road on the map), and pull over just before or after Cambridge Parkway, which runs east/to the right off Land Boulevard (you can use “International Merchant Services” on your GPS).


  • Cambridgeside Galleria Garage (100 Cambridgeside Place) –5 hours or fewer $11;  more than 5 hours, daily max of $22.
  • First Street Garage (Spring St at First) – 5 hours is $8; more than 10 hours is $20.
  • There is metered parking to the west of the Galleria, and then, further west, resident parking.

The T

10 Minute Walk

  • Lechmere Station
  • Science Park

20 Minute Walk

  • MIT/Kendall
  • Charles/MGH are 20-minute walks.


Consider giving yourself plenty of time to orient yourself and make your way to the Sculpture Garden and Cambridge Parkway. We look forward to seeing you there!


Community Race 2017 Results!

Community Race 2017 Results!

A whirring bee, a supercharged bubble-frothing rocket, The Big Dipper, the mysterious Freemason pyramid, a tremendous pig–these new (or improved) sculptures whizzed along around the Olympic soccer field at Danehy Park April 23 in the second annual Community Sculpture Race. They were joined by past champions Dizzy the Cat and Hatching in the 1/2 mile race. First place was Team Mud with The Pig. The Fornasaro Family took second place with their newly bubble-powered Planet Express 2.0, and the Schainker-Frehywot Family took third place with Beeline to the Finish Line.

Images are by Andrew Held and Tye Martin. (Featured image by A. Held.) Link to more images. Some of the works were developed by the artists at David Lang’s studio. See workshop images here.

Before the flag. Held image

Planet Express 2.0. Held image.

The Pig veers right, blocking Dizzy the Cat! Martin image

Beeline followed closely by Planet Express. Martin image.

Beeline. Martin image.

2016 River Festival Champion Hatching nearing the finish line. Martin image

Dizzy the Cat. Martin image

Ursa Major, Twinkle Minor leads The Dollar. Martin image.

The Dollar. Held image

2017 Workshops

(All three are open to all ages and skill levels)


Intensive Sculpture Racing Prototype Building Workshops

April 8 & 9 (two-day workshop), 1 PM – 4 PM. Email us with your interest.

David Lang
Natick Studio
Cost: free

Blue Worm Group, David Lang


Two Sculpture Racing Building Workshops
Taught by Jeff DelPapa

For anyone thinking about racing an artwork in this years community Sculpture Race, Jeff Del Papa, chief engineer for people’s sculpture racing is hosting an event at CRMI that will get you off to a flying start.   Learn how to construct what is normally considered a stationary art form using a minimum of tools, and straightforward materials, then make it able to move under your human power, complete with animated bits,  and how to get it to (hopefully) hang together until you cross the finish line.

This is an event for families (yes, bring the kids), teachers, scouting (or similar) groups and others looking for an interesting project, one that combines art with engineering, to occupy the upcoming school vacation week.  The race will be held at Danehy park (near Fresh Pond in Cambridge), on Sunday April 23, part of the Cambridge Science Festival.

Feel free to take one or both workshops!

Dizzy the Cat, Jeff Del Papa & Teens

Jeff Del Papa Workshop #1
April 8, 1-2 PM
Parts and Crafts
577 Somerville Ave., Somerville.
(617) 207-8016
Cost: donation

Jeff Del Papa Workshop #2
April 9, 1-2:30 PM
Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation
154 Moody Street, Waltham, MA – (781-) 893-5410.
Cost: museum admission (adults $10; children and teens $5)



David Lang, kinetic sculptor “I have been active as an artist for all of my adult life. Since 2005 I have been constructing interactive Kinetic Sculpture from my studio in Natick MA. I am also a painter, photographer and writer. I chaired the Art Department at Middlesex School in Concord, MA from 1972 thru 2003. I was a flight instructor at Hanscom Field in Bedford, MA for 24 years.” David served as a juror for entries for the 2017 Cambridge Arts River Festival race. http://www.davidlangstudios.com/

Jeff Del Papa is a Maker, card carrying NERD, and a builder of strange things.  He founded the first American team to appear on the engineering competition show “Junkyard Wars”.  He builds catapults (punkin chunkin, piano “moving”) strange bicycles, and the odd practical effect for TV sorts.  He teaches at the Somerville kids makerspace “Parts and Crafts” (he also runs team building events for adults), is the current president of the New England Model Engineering Society, and Chief Engineer for People’s Sculpture Racing. http://www.the-nerds.org/


Last Call for Community Sculpture Race Entries!

See the next post below for workshop information!

Everyone is welcome to participate in the second annual Community Sculpture Race and Exhibition at Danehy Park on Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 (corrected date). This is a Cambridge Science Festival Event, a 4/10 mile race of wheeled arts and crafts on the loopy sidewalks around the Olympic soccer field at Danehy Park in northwest Cambridge, followed by an 2-hour exhibition of your work!!!

Families, artists, engineers, teens, professionals, amateurs–build a sculpture on wheels! Please see the “Calls” section for design guidelines and FAQs, and the ‘Make’ link that has ideas for building racers. We’ll have some workshops coming up, check out the “Classes” section. Have a look at the photos of last year’s race.

Please let us know by Friday, April 21–earlier is better so we can send you information!–if you intend to participate. Racers should arrive by 9:45 (where the green marker is on the map), earlier if you need to assemble your contraption. Your friends should arrive by 10:45–earlier is better because it’s the race site is hard to find–for a sharp 11 AM event kickoff!

The race is followed by an exhibition of works lasting until 2 PM. There will be an artist/engineer design table at the exhibition where fans of all ages can contribute a conceptual design for a racing sculpture.

Please also visit us at the Cambridge Science Festival Robot Festival and Zoo on Saturday, April 15 from noon to 5 PM in the outdoors basketball court at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School on Cambridge Street. Submit your entry there!

Jurors Convene!

Our 2017 jurors–Deborah Douglas (MIT Museum Curator), Richard Zauft (Dean of Lesley University College of Art and Design), and Boston Sculpture Gallery artists Nancy Selvage and David Lang–met Wednesday, March 15. Richard hosted us by his office at the Lunder Arts Center.

The jurors reviewed 19 works, of which nine are new, one combines old and new, five raced in previous PSR races, and three are legacy works from the 1980s. The jurors accepted 15 works. Four teams may resubmit their pieces by April 21, three with working prototypes. The final field will be announced at that time.

The Jurors at LUCAD: Debbie Douglas, Richard Lang, Dean Richard Zauft, Nancy Selvage.

Please see ABOUT OUR JURORS for more images and bios.

About our Jurors

Debbie accessioning Wheel #2 for the MIT Museum from Lionel Spiro in 2015 after it won the first People’s Sculpture Race.

Deborah G. Douglas, Director of Collections & Curator, Science & Technology, MIT Museum

Deborah G. Douglas oversees the MIT Museum’s extensive science and technology collections. Prior to joining the museum’s staff in 1999, she worked as an independent scholar specializing in the history of technology and science. From 1994 through 1999, she served as the Visiting Historian for the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia and as adjunct assistant professor of History at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Douglas is the author of American Women and Flight since 1940. She received her A.B. in history from Wellesley College and holds A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania.



Richard Zauft, Dean of Lesley University College of Art and Design & Artist

Prior to becoming Dean of LUCAD, associate vice president of academic affairs for Emerson College in Boston, where he also served as executive director of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, interim dean of liberal arts, and dean of graduate studies.

He designs, illustrates, and hand prints letterpress printed broadsides (prints) and books that
follow five distinct avenues of interest. These include the visual interpretation of poetry; commissioned commemorative prints for special events; political and social satire and humor; personal celebrations featuring my own poetry; and prints showcasing historical applications of typography.


Nancy Selvage, Artist

“I am engaged with the intersection between dematerialized space and visceral substance.
This juxtaposition has an existential and visual complexity that resonates with my impetus to
capture fleeting insights from the flux of life.”

Nancy exhibits her work at Boston Sculptors Gallery and in numerous national and international venues. Clients for large public art commissions include the City of Lowell, MA; Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA; City of Cambridge, MA; Keene State College, NH; the National Park Service, Grand Canyon, AZ; and the North Carolina Zoo, Ashboro, NC. Nancy Selvage received a BA in Art History from Wellesley College and an MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University. Nancy Selvage’s educational career includes a long tenure as Director at the Ceramics Program at Harvard University. http://nancyselvage.com/


David A. Lang, Sculptor

“I have been active as an artist for all of my adult life. Since 2005 I have been constructing interactive Kinetic Sculpture from my studio in Natick MA. I am also a painter, photographer and writer. I chaired the Art Department at Middlesex School in Concord, MA from 1972 thru 2003. I was a flight instructor at Hanscom Field in Bedford, MA for 24 years.” http://www.davidlangstudios.com/



Christian Herold photos


NEFA Grant to be distributed to Sculpture Racers

The New England Foundation for the Arts has bestowed a generous grant to People’s Sculpture Racing. The Fund for the Arts at NEFA has granted PSR and its fiscal umbrella the Cambridge Arts Council $7,000 for organization building and to distribute to race participants.

Teams participating in the Saturday, June 3, 2017 Cambridge Arts River Festival race will equally split a purse of about $4,500.

People’s Sculpture Racing holds brief urban races of mobile artist and community sculpture, followed by exhibitions. Since 2015, it has held a juried race at the June River Festival, and an unjuried community race during the Cambridge Science Festival in April. Images and video may be seen on the www.sculptureracing.org website.

The jury this year is comprised of Richard Zauft, Deborah Douglas, and David Lang. Zauft is the Dean of the Lesley University College of Art and Design; Douglas is the Curator of Science and Technology at the MIT Museum; and Lang is a celebrated kinetic sculptor.

Submissions for River Festival Race due March 4

Submissions for the juried River Festival Race are due March 4. Please see the call for entries on the website for details on judging criteria and submitting.