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Natick - Local Town Pages

Find Your Outdoor Reading Room Local Artists Design and Build Spaces thanks to The New England Foundation for the Arts and Cognex Corporation

 The Morse Institute Library invites community members of all ages to read this summer! And thanks to grants from the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) and Cognex Corporation, you can read outside in one of three cozy Outdoor Reading Rooms installed across the community.
In partnership with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s Arts and Culture Department and Forecast Public Art, the Making it Public grant program supports artists in their public art making while building municipal capacities to support more equitable calls for public artmaking. “Natick’s combined commitment to expand public artmaking, improve green space access and participation, and invite the community to connect further with the library was ambitious. We were pleased to see that the Selection Committee chose emerging artists and students for this project,” said Kim Szeto, NEFA Public Art Program Director.


Each Outdoor Reading Room was designed and built by local artists, inspired by the theme Find
Your Voice:
Keefe Technical School Students designed POP!, found at the Cole Center in West Natick. A collaboration of three programs, Design & Visual Communications, Metals Fabrication, and Carpentry, this installation was inspired by the world of graphic novels and the limitlessness of space. It features hand-painted characters and creatures, each designed by different students.
“It’s so important that the students have authentic learning experiences. This project gave students the opportunity to go out into the world, make real-life work, and see its impact on the community,” said Molly Dee, Design & Visual Communications Teacher.
Perfectly nestled between trees on the Morse Institute Library’s front lawn stands Under the Trees by Paul Belenky. “I love reading books under the shade of trees and this installation aims to recreate the essence of reading in a forest,” said Belenky. With carved stump seating and painted fabric leaves, the space invites readers to relax amid the hustle and bustle of downtown.
Featuring wooden books in shades of blue and orange, Empower by Deborah Tuck Wirtz, highlights statements, quotes, and messages of empowerment from community members.
“Empower was designed with Connor Heffler Park in mind. The big green book begs you to come sit, relax, and read. My husband, Brian Wirtz, and I worked together on this. We are excited to see how this installation sparks imaginations, reflection, and self-discovery,” said Wirtz.
Supporting their global headquarters town for over 40 years, Cognex saw the Outdoor Reading Room project as a great way to demonstrate Cognex’s continued commitment to Natick. “The artists’ creations wonderfully reflect the company’s philosophy of working hard, playing hard, and enhancing vision. We were thrilled to be part of this town-wide initiative and hope to see many readers out this summer!” said Sheila DiPalma, Cognex Chief Culture Officer.
Summer in Natick is when the community is alive with outdoor events and activities to enjoy the gorgeous weather. “The Outdoor Reading Rooms are perfect additions to our 150th Anniversary celebrations. They also highlight Natick’s amazing local artists while supporting our efforts to foster a life-long love of reading,” said Miki Wolfe, Library Director.
The Find Your Voice Outdoor Reading Rooms will feature library- and community-sponsored events throughout the summer, such as visits from local authors, touch-a-truck and story time with Natick Police, Fire and Public Works personnel. Visit the for event details and to sign up for Summer Reading. These installations are up through the end of August for all to enjoy.

About the Morse Institute Library
The Morse Institute Library in Natick, Massachusetts envisions a library community where everyone can thrive and find joy in learning, discovery, and personal growth. Our mission is to inspire minds, enrich lives, enable learning, and foster connections throughout our community by providing open and equal access to cultural, intellectual, and community resources. Learn more at

About the New England Foundation for the Arts
The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation.
NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to each other and their audiences; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Learn more at

About Cognex Corporation
Cognex is the world’s leader in the machine vision industry, having shipped more than 4 million
image-based products, representing over $10 billion in cumulative revenue, since the
company’s founding in 1981. Headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts, USA, Cognex has
offices and distributors located throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. For details, visit
Cognex online at