The Doris Duke Monument Foundation (DDMF), an offshoot of the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF), has delivered an installation at Queen Anne Square in Newport, RI, with a dual purpose. It was created to honor the memory of Doris Duke, who championed Newport’s historic preservation and left an enduring legacy of historic architecture; and created to honor the effect of historic preservation as a catalyst for community revitalization.
The installation, entitled ‘The Meeting Room’, was created by Maya Lin, an artist selected for her thoughtfulness in approaching the site, its historic context, the visitor, and the important contributions made to Newport by Doris Duke. The landscaping was designed by Edwina von Gal, a talented landscape architect whom Maya Lin personally selected for this project.
Nick Benson, renowned local stone carver, whose family has collaborated with Maya Lin on past projects, carved quotes from historic Newport documents in the thresholds of the three foundations that make up the installation. Great care was made to make sure this artistic public space and landscaping fit into the site and not overwhelm it. This is a gift to the City of Newport on behalf of the Doris Duke Monument Foundation. It will be a place where residents and visitors alike can engage in reflection and enjoy the center of Newport’s Historic Hill.
Goals and Objectives
The installation, entitled ‘The Meeting Room’, was installed in the green park space known as Queen Anne Square, land on which Doris Duke spearheaded saving in the early 1970s; and which had seen a cumulative period of decline over the last twenty years. For its reclamation, the DDMF had three objectives in mind.
- The first was to revitalize a park which was an early project of Doris Duke and the Newport Restoration Foundation in 1974.
- The second was to pay homage to Doris Duke and the remarkable heritage of historic preservation in the City of Newport.
- The third was to continue the Duke tradition of giving back to the community.
The City of Newport was provided with an unparalleled opportunity to transform a public space – arguably the heart of the City – into a world-class site, with an installation by an internationally renowned artist. The benefits are manifold:
- a friendlier, more inviting space with useful and attractive amenities such as ample seating, additional green space, more lighting, a water feature, and additional tree shade;
- enhanced focus on Trinity Church as a central Newport landmark and raised public profile due to the artist’s reputation and cachet;
- increased visitation from the community and the potential for Queen Anne Square to become a destination spot for locals and visitors alike;
- finally, an enhanced public reputation for the City of Newport in general.
IMAGE CREDITS | (c) Alexander Nesbitt
TEXT CREDITS | The Doris Duke Monument Foundation (DDMF)