By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – When visitors approach Marlborough High School’s front parking lot they are now greeted by a large, majestic steel panther that pays homage to the school mascot. In addition to this original work, there is a second grand sculpture that has been installed at the front entrance, referred to as the Tree of Knowledge. Both works were created by artist Dale Rogers.
Roger’s Tree of Knowledge sculpture features a quote inscribed along the tree trunk that reads, “There are two lasting gifts we can give our children- one is roots, the other is wings,” which the staff helped to select.
“Dale’s work easily connects with so many different students because it blurs that line between art, design, technology and engineering,” said District Visual Arts Coordinator Julie Baker. “Following his visit, students were excited to engage in the design process by brainstorming ideas and submitting sketches. When we reconvened with Dale, it was clear that students really wanted the sculpture to represent their panther pride. Yet, there was also a desire from staff to branch away from the expected symbolism of the panther. So, we eventually landed on the idea of creating two separate sculptures for our school, and luckily Dale was on board with that as well.”
A dedication ceremony for the sculptures was held at the end of the school day Sept. 10. Students, faculty, administrators, elected officials, community representatives and more were in attendance. Marlborough High School’s new principal, Charlie Caliri, greeted guests and thanked many for their support. Richard Langlois, superintendent of Marlborough Public Schools, also gave his thanks especially to Jay Gustaitis from Aramark, a financial contributor to this project and their food service vendor.
“The project was privately funded,” explained Communications Liaison Beth Wagner. “No public dollars or tax dollars went to it. Aramark and Superintendent Langlois were major contributors to this project.”
School Committee members Michelle Bodin-Hettinger, Heidi Matthews and Denise Ryan were also there along with City Council member Don Landers.
Dale Rogers has truly built a successful career as an artist by following his passion.
“I was first contacted by Richard Langlois about a year ago,” Rogers said. “There was a lot of collaboration from start to finish and I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.”
Rogers noted that the panther is made of weathering steel – the same material that bridges are made of.
“The Tree of Knowledge was created with a lot of firsts for me, personally,” he added.
“This was the first time I have made something into a ‘10-footer.’ Some other unique features include the yellow bird – I typically do red – and a unique sunburst pattern that is featured in the metal.”
“Our main goal was to provide a real-world educational experience for students by partnering with a local artist in the creation of a public art piece for our campus,” Baker said. “Superintendent Langlois recognized the value in this and is a true supporter of the arts. We could not have done this without that support. Both sculptures have already transformed the spaces by bringing a renewed energy to the campus. It has been a wonderful experience to work with Dale and his staff, and more importantly to see the excitement and passion that he was able to share with our students.”
For additional information about the artist, visit dalerogersstudio.com.