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The Forest Bells at Blackman Field and Woods

The Forest Bells art installation at the Blackman Field and Woods conservation land is one of Groton’s unique and special landmarks. On Sunday, November 5, the GCT trustees hosted a celebration at the Forest Bells to mark the reopening of Paul Matisse’s musical installation with the artist and land donor Camilla Blackman. 

The Bells, formed of six tall aluminum chimes, are hung in oak trees along a hillside trail and can be played by pulling ropes attached to each bell. They were originally commissioned by The Artists Valentine Project in 1995 and installed on land donated to the GCT in 2000 by Camilla and Arthur Blackman. Due to frequent use, the Bells require periodic repair. In 2022 they were dismantled and then refurbished at Matisse’s workshop. Their reinstallation was completed in Summer 2023.

Friends, family, and neighbors gathered at Blackman Field and Woods to honor this important piece of Groton culture. GCT trustee and Blackman Field and Woods neighbor Ed McNierney, Camilla Blackman, and Paul Matisse shared stories about the origin and the history of the Forest Bells, and Matisse played one of the Bells, giving all a chance to hear the remarkable sound of his enduring musical sculpture.

Groton Trails Committee member and GCT advisory council member Paul Funch treated everyone with performances on his flute, following in the tradition of Andrea Mason, who played her flute at the original dedication in 1998.

Enjoy these photos, courtesy of Steve Lieman