This piece, featuring bronze figures of a boy reading a book with his dog on a contoured basalt boulder, sits in Prospect Park’s Imagination Playground near the Lincoln Road Entrance. The play sculpture, funded by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and inspired by Keats’ book Peter’s Chair, was created by African American artist and Brooklyn resident Otto Neals.
Born on December 11, 1930 in Lake City, South Carolina, Neals developed an early interest in art with the guidance of an older cousin. Though he attended both the Brooklyn Museum Art School and Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop in Manhattan, Neals was largely self-taught and honed his skills while dedicating 36 years to the United States Postal Service. His “Spirit of ‘76” wood carving, a piece crafted from a discarded mahogany and oak postal table, is permanently displayed at the main entrance of the Brooklyn General Post Office.
Neals has also exhibited in nationwide galleries, museums, libraries, and universities, and he is a co-director and founding member of the Association of Caribbean American Artists-ACAA Art Gallery. This non-profit, Brooklyn-based organization promotes the work of African, Caribbean, and African American artists and supports Pan-American and African partnerships.
This sculpture was placed as part of the construction of the $800,000 capital project that affords children an interactive spot to read books and to hear or act out stories. The sculpture was unveiled at the playground’s grand opening in June 1997.
Peter & Willie Details
- Sculptor: Otto Neals
- Description: Two figures and chair on a natural boulder, mosaic play surface
- Materials: Figures--bronze; boulder--basalt; play surface--ceramic
- Dimensions: boulder = approx. w. 9' x d. 4'
- Cast: 1997
- Dedicated: June 20, 1997
- Foundry: Bedi-Makky Art Foundry, 227 India Street Greenpoint, Brooklyn
- Donor: Ezra Jack Keats Foundation (sculpture only)
Directions to Prospect Park
Know Before You Go
The Long Meadow Ballfields will be closed at Prospect Park for construction. The reconstruction of the Long Meadow Ballfields is a multi-phase project encompassing 34 acres of fields, paths and woodlands. The project incorporates contemporary storm water management techniques that support our goal of capturing and retaining storm water runoff. These improvements will also help to filter runoff before it enters our watercourse. Designed to revitalize the park’s sporting community, the first phase will restore Field One, pedestrian and bridle paths, drinking fountains, benches, and include new tree plantings.
Anticipated Completion: Fall 2014
Prospect Park Weather
- LeFrak Center Ice Rink Debuts At Prospect Park
- Zucker Natural Exploration Area Opens In Prospect Park
- The Great Googamooga To Come To Prospect Park
- Prospect Park Fitness Hike
- Shape Up NYC's Couch to 5K: Group Run
- Shape Up NYC: Cardio, Toning, and Stretching
- Shape Up NYC: Pilates
- Introduction to Birdwatching
- Barbecuing Areas
- Baseball Fields
- Bicycling and Greenways
- Dog-friendly Areas
- Fitness Equipment
- Hiking Trails
- Historic Houses
- Horseback Riding Trails
- Ice Skating Rinks
- Nature Centers
- Paddleboat Rentals
- Spray Showers
- Tennis Courts
- Wi-Fi Hot Spots
- Zoos and Aquariums
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