Sunday, June 16, 2024

“Out of Town News” by Betsy Silverman is gong on display in Starbucks in Harvard Square.

The Starbucks that returned to Harvard Square in November is bringing back the Out of Town newsstand, at least in the form of two new artworks by Betsy Silverman.

The newsstand sold newspapers and magazines from around the world in a 500-square-foot former subway headhouse from 1984 through October 2019, when it was cleared out to make way for a public use. Renovations of the kiosk and surrounding Harvard Square plaza are underway. That business saw the first Starbucks open in the square in 1996, grow into three locations and begin to close, starting in 2018. By November 2021, all were gone, though less than a year later – in September – Starbucks announced it would reopen in the new Abbot building at 1 John F. Kennedy St.

Some shops in the coffee chain show off the work of local artists, and for the new Harvard Square location Starbucks picked Newtown-based Silverman, who makes images of often impressive realism entirely from recycled magazines.

“There is no paint, ink or pencil,” Silverman said. “I use magazines, scissors and glue the way other artists use brushes and paint. My color palette is the thousands of magazines I have in my studio.” A close look at Silverman’s artwork reveals how she creates a sense of three-dimensionality through the precise and painstaking placement of layer upon layer of carefully cut pieces of paper – each having carefully selected colors, pictorial content and gradations of intensity. Some of the magazine slivers are cut so finely they have to be applied with a magnifying glass and tweezers.

The head of Starbucks’ global art program, Lara Behnert, said in a press release that the chain loves finding “emerging artists with a focused perspective and style, who feel in line with how we are – optimistic, thoughtful and full of new ideas.”


This post took material from a press release.