"Frederick Law Olmsted" portrayed by Gerry Wright
Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. (1822-1903) is known for his diverse landscapes, from New York's Central Park, to the Capitol Grounds in Washington, to the Chicago World's Fair and many college campuses from the east coast to the west coast, but his values and vision extended into many endeavors. Olmsted owned and managed farms in Connecticut and on Staten Island. As a journalist he wrote three books on economic and social conditions in the South with important observations on slavery. During the Civil War he served as Executive Secretary of the Sanitary Commission with a mandate for providing health services. When he was manager of the large Mariposa Gold Mine in California he became an advocate for making Yosemite a national park. In the late 19th century, Olmsted consulted on several projects in Maryland, including the design for Sudbrook Park in Baltimore County. The majority of the 130 Olmsted projects in Maryland -- including work in Baltimore City and Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil and Montgomery Counties -- were undertaken in first half of the 20th century by Frederick Law Olmsted's sons, whose firm the Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects carried out the significant legacy of their father.
(Image by Tom Chalkley)
Gerry Wright works in the areas of human services, environmental advocacy and international relations. In the 1960s he founded Dare Incorporated, a nonprofit agency in Massachusetts that provides services for adolescents with social and emotional problems due to poverty and neglect. He has also championed projects that foster international communication, helping to establish organizations such as the American Russian Forestry Alliance. He has received numerous awards, including the 2008 Robert F. Kennedy Embracing the Legacy Award for his outstanding community service. Wright is founder and president of the Friends of Jamaica Pond/Olmsted Park Project and has been portraying Frederick Law Olmsted since 2002. He has performed at the Olmsted National Historic Site in Massachusetts and in New York City, Louisville and Volgoda, Russia. He holds an M.S. in wildlife conservation from Cornell University with additional education in the fields of philosophy, psychology and counseling.