Crite Park

More than a Park, Building a Community

Reimagine. Redesign. Revive.

The Friends of Crite Park is building a park that honors the contributions of a highly revered South End artist and icon, Allan Rohan Crite. Located at the intersection of Columbus Avenue, West Canton Street, and Appleton Street, Crite Park will provide a space for respite and nurture a sense of community.

Through the encouragement shown by South End neighbors, guidance provided by the City of Boston, and contributions from residents, businesses, corporations, and foundations, Crite Park is becoming a reality.

The day is soon coming when we can all say, “Let’s meet at the park.”

FUNDRAISING FOR THE NEW CRITE PARK


To date, $600,000 raised in grants and private donations.

Our Mission


The Mission of the Friends of Crite Park is:

To beautify the space into a visually open, safe, and tranquil environment.

To rejuvenate and expand the park for community events and social gatherings supporting our diverse neighborhood culture.

To serve as a South End cornerstone and a tribute to a Boston cultural and artistic icon, Allan Rohan Crite.

Our Vision


Our goal is to build a park and sense of community by:

Building a welcoming space that replicates the theme of an outdoor living room, reminiscent of the scenes which Allan Crite observed from his window on Columbus Avenue.

Hosting unique events that showcase Allan Crite and other notable South End residents, past and current.

Promoting community ownership through membership in the Friends of Crite Park and volunteering to sustain the park and its commitment to the community.

Crite Park - Reimagine. Redesign. Revive.

©️ 2022 Friends of Crite Park

About Us


DIRECTORS

The Board and Advisory Council of the Friends of Crite Park are dedicated to transforming the former Allan Rohan Crite Square into a vibrant community gathering place, the new Crite Park. Our talents vary but our energy and commitments are strong and constant. We collaborate freely, we support one another, and we remain undaunted in reaching our goal.

Cheryl Dickinson
FoCP President

While serving as a literacy specialist, I sought ways to improve reading achievement and found that integrating fine art and literacy was one means to do so. Thus, I became acquainted with the beauty and honesty of Allan Crite’s works. I am privileged to lead an exceptional Board in honoring Mr. Crite’s contributions and providing a welcoming and pleasant space for neighbors.

Maryellen Hassell
FoCP Vice President

I moved to the South End in 1993. I have always enjoyed gardening and was pleased to find the neighborhood has many lovely parks. I soon learned that these parks were so beautiful because of the generous support from volunteers who work to keep them as a treasured and welcoming resource in the community. I was happy to join in, serving on Boards of several Park Friends Groups, and truly enjoy giving my time and resources. Allan Rohan Crite, the artist for whom it is named, lived in a building just behind my home. I recall seeing him in the neighborhood and am thrilled to be a part of the team developing the Park in his honor.

Meghan Dichiara
FoCP Corporate Clerk

I have enjoyed the many public parks and quiet places in the South End since moving here in 2008. I serve on the boards of the Ellis Neighborhood Association and Titus Sparrow Park. Before becoming a stay-at-home parent, I worked in litigation consulting. I look forward to serving as a Clerk and participating in the creation of Crite Park.

Roger Dickinson
FoCP Treasurer

Crite Park is only a half block from our condo on West Canton Street. I’m a retired engineer who led a product development and manufacturing company for 30 years. I volunteer my skills in other similar pursuits around Boston and my role as Treasurer of the Friends of Crite Park is among the most meaningful.

Jennifer Girvin

As a long-time South End resident and real estate agent, I hear how important it is for people to feel a sense of community. Crite Park will bring people together for relaxation and special events while commemorating a renowned South End African American Artist. I wanted to be a part of that.

Ryan Gosser

After living on Clarendon Street for over a decade, I recently moved to Maine where I now own and serve as host of the Lady Mary Inn though the South End still holds a very special place in my heart. I’ve served on the Crite Park Board for three years and am honored to continue my service to the park project.

Betsy Hall

After living in Italy and on the South Shore, I moved to the South End in 1995 and almost immediately became involved with the Ellis South End Neighborhood Association. I continue to serve on the Ellis Board which happily and enthusiastically led me to serve on the Board of Crite Park, focusing primarily on communication.

Emeka Iheme

As a 15-year resident of the South End, I am honored to be able to leverage my background in technology and operations to support the vision of Crite Memorial Park. Having previously served on the Board of United South End Settlements, I understand how meaningful and empowering projects like this are to our local community.

ADVISORY COUNCIL

The Advisory Council includes civic leaders who share insights and varied skills that are instrumental to the success of the Crite Park project. Whether it involves a legal issue, community outreach, fundraising, marketing, landscaping, art, lobbying, or government issues, the Advisory Council is only an email away. The influence of the Advisory Council cannot be underestimated, and the Board is most thankful for the support of Council members.

Gary Bailey

Gary Bailey is the Assistant Dean for Community Engagement and Social Justice in the College of Social Sciences, Policy and Practice (CSSPP) at Simmons University. He holds the rank of a Professor of Practice at Simmons University School of Social Work and has a secondary appointment at the Simmons University School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Professor Bailey consults with local, state, and international organizations and holds leadership posts in each. Gary provides guidance in a variety of areas including but not limited to: LGBTQ youth, AIDS issues, women’s advancement, educational financing, and health and housing issues for low-income populations. As a South End resident Gary serves on the Boards of the Friends of Harriet Tubman Park, the Friends of Titus Sparrow Park, the South End Library and chairs the Church Council of the historic Union United Methodist Church Leadership Team. Gary has linked the Crite Park Board with a diverse community who will enrich the persona of the new Crite Park.

Tracey Bolotnick

Tracey is an attorney with a practice specializing in serving nonprofit organizations, and she is the General Counsel of the Edward P. Evans Foundation, which supports cancer research and educational projects. She has worked with a number of South End-based groups such as United South End Settlements and Friends of Harriet Tubman Park, and she sits on the boards of the Friends of the South End Library and Mass Audubon. Tracey has lived in the South End for 16 years and is raising her two children here.

Steven Cohen

Steven Cohen, of The Steven Cohen Team, is a top realtor in Boston who has intimate knowledge of the Boston neighborhood and especially the South End. Steven realizes the impact that the revitalized park will have on the South End community. Steven has been most helpful in addressing marketing and other related questions from the Crite Park Board.

Claire Corcoran

Claire is a South End neighbor and certified Massachusetts arborist who advises the Crite Park Board as to the health and maintenance of the trees at Crite Park. Her advice has enabled the Friends of Crite Park to incorporate the appropriate measures to sustain the Crite Park tree canopy.

Jackie Cox-Crite

After a career in corporate finance, Jackie now serves on local and national community arts boards. For the past 23 years, Jackie has been involved in co-founding the Allan Rohan Crite Research Institute and Library (ARCRIL). The institute is building archives that present the art and life of Allan Rohan Crite, Jackie’s late husband.

Linda Esposito

Linda Esposito is a horticulturist and master gardener who lives a few houses away from Crite Park. As the owner of La Vie en Rose Gardens, Linda works throughout Boston and maintains the nearby Childe Hassam Park. Linda’s extensive knowledge of trees and plantings will be fundamental to maintaining Crite Park. Linda will train and support the Crite Park gardeners.

Councilman Ed Flynn

Councilman Flynn represents District #2, which includes Crite Park. He has served over 25 years in the Navy and worked in the Department of Labor under President Bill Clinton. Through Councilman Flynn’s active support for Crite Park, the revitalization is becoming a reality.

Frieda Garcia

Frieda, a native of the Dominican Republic, grew up in New York City and graduated from The New School of Social Research. Since moving to Boston in 1965 she has been a tireless activist and community leader.

Frieda Garcia is the former president of United South End Settlements (USES), the founding director of La Alianza Hispana, past chairperson of the Board of The Committee for Public Housing, and the Board of the Boston Foundation, member of the Local Initiative Support Corporation, trustee emerita of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Community Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Within the South End, Ms. Garcia is the longstanding Chair of the Friends of the Harriet Tubman Park in the South End. Frieda’s leadership and contributions will carry on forever through the children who play at the Frieda Garcia Park on Clarendon and Stanhope Streets and for all those who enter the new Crite Park. Frieda has spent many hours consulting with the Crite Park Board and engaging her network of colleagues to expand promote the development of Crite Park.

Samantha Wagner

Samantha is a relatively new South Ender, living on Appleton Street with her fiancé across from Crite Park. She works at raising funds for the Sloan School of Management, and spends any extra time cooking, strolling about the beautiful South End neighborhood, and trying to pet any French Bulldog she can come across! Samantha regularly advises the Crite Park Board regarding fundraising and grant submissions.

SPECIAL MENTION

In addition to the Crite Park Board and Advisory Council, there are others whose impact will have led to the success of the Crite Park project. We give special mention to them.

Monique Hall
Landscape Architect

Monique Hall is a Landscape Architect and Associate at BSC Group. Based on neighborhood feedback, her vision is to create a new pocket park that supports community activities and also pays homage to the life and work of Allan Rohan Crite, an African American artist living in a black middle-class neighborhood.

The new park takes shape as a series of outdoor living rooms – which is intended to be both an extension as well as an examination of everyday life. In this way, the park design parallels Crite’s work as an urban biographer, seeking to portray everyday experiences in his community. Framed by a lush setting of overhead canopy trees and artfully cut pergola screens, the multi-use design allows for informal gatherings at a variety of seating areas, while also accommodating programmed events in the central open space. In addition, the landscape planting areas provide a sense of enclosure from the busy streets and pedestrian sidewalks while maintaining clear lines of sight to the surrounding activities in the neighborhood.

Para Jayasinghe
City Engineer
Boston Public Works Department

Para Jayasinghe is the City Engineer for Boston’s Public Works Department. Para’s expertise and commitment to the Crite Park project are enabling the park to build better, faster, and with cost savings. Mr. Jayasinghe clearly stands by the efforts of the Friends of Crite Park and has organized a team of City colleagues to move this project forward.

Crite Park - Reimagine. Redesign. Revive.

©️ 2022 Friends of Crite Park

Allan Rohan Crite


Allan Rohan Crite (1910-2007) was a prolific artist whose eye for detail captured the pulse of the African-American community living in Boston’s South End nearly a century ago. Through pencil sketches, lithographs, brush-and-ink drawings, and oil paintings, Mr. Crite’s depictions of everyday life provide a visual history of urban people in an ordinary light: Children playing street games, neighbors chatting on porch stoops, and people coming and going to work and to school; persons enjoying the usual pleasures of life with its mixtures of both sorrow and joys. His extensive work also included ecclesiastical pieces often set amidst the backdrop of Boston’s skyline or even on city subways.

Although he was admitted to Yale School of Art, he chose to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston after receiving a degree from Harvard. Dubbed the Dean of African-Artists in New England, Allan Crite wrote several books and received numerous accolades and awards for his work which can be viewed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Smithsonian, Washington, DC, the Boston Atheneum, the Boston Public Library, the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, and many other galleries throughout the world.

In his obituary, The Boston Globe called Mr. Crite "the granddaddy of the Boston art scene," hailing him as "a master of his craft and a treasure of his community." Mr. Crite was a proudly unique figure. His being black in a largely white art world was only part of that uniqueness. "I am a storyteller of the drama of man. This is my small contribution - to tell the African- American experience - in a local sense, of the neighborhood, and, in a larger sense, of its part in the total human experience."

For painting citations, click here

SUNLIGHT AND SHADOW

Allan Rohan Crite, a self-described artist-reporter, chronicled the seemingly insignificant moments of daily life in his Boston community throughout the 1930s and early 1940s. His paintings of playing children, church-going families, and friendly neighbors offer a glimpse into the lives of ordinary African Americans. In Sunlight and Shadow, three generations of neighbors gather in Madison Park in Boston’s South End to spend a pleasant afternoon beneath the shady trees.

SCHOOL’S OUT

With his vibrant painting of urban life, Allan Rohan Crite provides a wholesome portrait of a community. On a sunny afternoon after the last bell, mostly African American girls, neatly dressed, spill out of the fenced yard of a city school. Most stroll with friends, some break into a run, a few quarrel, and a handful walk with their mothers.

PARADE ON HAMMOND STREET

The parade on Hammond Street, executed from memory in June 1935, was inspired by a parade the artist witnessed near his residence in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Painted in predominantly warm, vibrant colors, this urban genre scene focuses on the neighborhood’s extensive African-American community, with residents dressed in their best attire gathered to watch a festive, locally organized parade before Sunday church services.

DOUGLASS SQUARE

Oil on canvas board, 1934. 610x457 mm; 24x18 inches. Signed, initialed, and dated "April 1934" in oil, lower left recto. Signed, titled, and inscribed with the artist's address in oil, verso.
Provenance: the artist, Boston; Grace Horne Galleries, Boston, with the gallery label on the verso; private Maryland collection.

In his own words...

In 1979, the artist Alan Rohan Crite explained his preference for the kind of everyday neighborhood scene like Douglass Square. He said, “I was living here in the South End with a lot of black people around me. I was painting them as I saw them as human beings, just ordinary human beings, having ordinary lives. In the twenties and thirties, the image of black people was distorted, to put it mildly. We had a “Jazz Negro” entertainer or a traumatic figure out of the ghetto or a social problem. But the ordinary human being who goes to the store, comes home, washes dishes, all the homely things—he just wasn’t registering. I felt it important for me to present that life of black people as part of the Christian dignity of man.”

Crite Park - Reimagine. Redesign. Revive.

©️ 2022 Friends of Crite Park

Crite Park Events

Crite Park events are about honoring Allan Crite and other notable
Southenders, enjoying family and friends, and just having fun.

Once the park is built the Friends of Crite Park will be planning events with
the support of volunteers and businesses.

Come join us! We will keep you posted.

Some examples of events are…

Community Picnics

Days set aside each year for neighbors to gather

Saturdays in the Park

Exploring Crite’s works

Storytelling at Twilight

Reminiscences about Allan Crite, and other South End notables

For painting citations, click here.

Crite Park - Reimagine. Redesign. Revive.

©️ 2022 Friends of Crite Park

The Crite Park Story


In the Beginning

Some years ago, the park site was a huge open road area that automobiles coming from Massachusetts Avenue would use to veer right onto Appleton Street in order to avoid the red lights on Columbus. This traffic pattern created a safety hazard and affected the tranquility of the neighborhood. Childe Hassam portrayed the site in his painting, “Rainy Day, Boston”.

Rainy Day, Boston (1885) - Toledo Museum of Art
Childe Hassam Painting of the Crite Park location (looking Eastward)

Crite Park Today

In 1986, the City of Boston erected the current Allan Rohan Crite Square to solve the traffic problem. Over the years the park has become overgrown, is a magnet for trash, and is ready for a redesign.

The New Crite Park

Allan Crite considered himself a biographer of the urban experience, and he once wrote that “the street is like the living room of the community.” The design of the park recreates a series of outdoor living rooms as a place where people can meet with others thus creating the fabric of our neighborhood.

*Please note that the art display and flooring in the video have been updated.

Crite Park - Reimagine. Redesign. Revive.

©️ 2022 Friends of Crite Park

In The News

The Board and Advisory Council of the Friends of Crite Park are dedicated to transforming the former Allan Rohan Crite Square into a vibrant community gathering place, the new Crite Park. Our talents vary but our energy and commitments are strong and constant. We collaborate freely, we support one another, and we remain undaunted in reaching our goals.

Watch us Grow - Join our Revitalization of the Allan Rohan Crite Square


On Columbus Avenue at West Canton & Appleton Streets in the South End

A rendering of the proposed park.


In the News


From the Beginning - Jackie Cox-Crite reminisces about Mr. Crite’s presence in the South End. A story follows of how the park revitalization began.

Daniel, S. (2019, June 4). Tribute to a Special Gentleman: Neighbors Begin Campaign Seeking Revival of Crite Park. The Boston Sun.


The Design is Revealed - Monique Hall, landscape architect integrates community input to formulate the vision for the park design

Daniel, S. (2020, August 6). Crite Park Designs Set to be Unveiled in Person and Online This Month. The Boston Sun.


The Community Reviews the Designs. - Interest and support build after over 100 neighbors attend the Open House and Zoom meeting to review the renderings.

Daniel, S. (2020, August 20). Crite Park Restoration Stages Big Reveal on Site as Momentum Gathers. The Boston Sun.


The Landmarks Commission Considers the Design. - The Commission made insightful recommendations to adjust the design which eventually led to a unanimous decision to endorse the park design.

Bennett. L. (2020, August 12). SELDC Hears Plans for Crite Park Under Advisory Review: Makes Small Recommendations. The Boston Sun.


Crite Park Earns a CPA Grant! - Excitement builds as Crite Park receives a $250,000 award from the Community Preservation Commission.

Daniel, S. (2021, February 18). Crite Park Gets a Start with a Nomination for 250K CPA Grant. The Boston Sun.


We Ready for the $10,000 Challenge. - The fundraising begins!

Daniel, S. (2021, June 10). Crite Park Group Readying to Launch Restoration Fundraising Campaign. The Boston Sun.


Crite Park Earns a Grant from the Henderson Foundation - Through the auspices of the Henderson Foundation, Crite Park can purchase furniture for the six alcoves portraying the theme of outdoor living rooms.

Facebook. Friends of Crite Park. Henderson Foundation grant awarded to Crite Park. Facebook, September 7, 2021, 10:24 AM, accessed September 8, 2021.


Here is Our Story! - Find out neighbors joined together to build Crite Park.

Steven Cohen Team. (2022, Spring). Acknowledging the South End’s Own Allen Crite. South End Stakeholders’ Report, pp.16-17.


Crite Park - Reimagine. Redesign. Revive.

©️ 2022 Friends of Crite Park

There Are Several Ways You Can Help The Park.


Donate

Donations can be made using the PayPal button below

or by sending a Check made out to Friends of Crite Park to
Crite Park
PO Box 170657
Boston, MA 02117

The construction and maintenance of Crite Park depend on
your generosity. Your contributions help us preserve and
enhance this valuable community space.

The Friends of Crite Park is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization.
All donations are tax deductible.
Thank you for your support!

For assistance, Contact Us.

Major Donors

Crite Park - Reimagine. Redesign. Revive.

©️ 2022 Friends of Crite Park

Citations


Samples from Allan Crite’s work:

Parade on Hammond Street, 1935, The Phillips Collection, oil on canvas

Shawmut Avenue, Boston (1939) Private Collection, oil on Canvas

Harriett and Leon, 1941, Boston Athenaeum, oil on canvas,

Cambridge, Sunday Morning (1934) Boston Athenaeum , oil on board


Citations


Rotating pieces
Marble Players, 1938, Boston Athenaeum, oil on canvas
The Car Stop, n.d., Boston Athenaeum, oil on canvas
Portland Hospital, 1977, National Center of Afro-American Artists, sketch
The Shower, Ruggles Street, 1935, Boston Athenaeum, oil on canvas

Stationary pieces with descriptions
Sunlight and Shadow, 1941, Smithsonian, oil on canvas
School’s Out, 1936, Smithsonian, oil on canvas
Parade on Hammond Street, 1935, The Phillips Collection, oil on canvas
Douglass Square, 1934, private collection, oil on board

Painting of Allan Rohan Crite
Ted A. Charron, Allen Rohan Crite, 2010, Courtesy of Ted A. Charron, oil on canvas


CONTACT US


Locate Us: Columbus Avenue at West Canton &
Appleton Streets in the South End

Email: critepark@gmail.com


FRIENDS OF CRITE PARK MEMBERSHIP


Watch for more information to follow in our newsletter and on Facebook.
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VOLUNTEER


Volunteer opportunities could include clean-up, fundraising, publicity, posting flyers, helping with events….
Please let us know how you would like to help.



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