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30th year of the Mayor's Mural Crew celebrated

Mayor Michelle Wu, together with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, shared recent projects that the Mayor’s Mural Crew completed during its 30th year of employing Boston high schoolers to create large-scale public art projects across Boston’s neighborhoods and City parks.  

 “These murals will connect and inspire so many in Mattapan and across our city,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Thank you to all of our Mural Crew artists for creating art that celebrates the diversity and vibrancy of our communities - and I am thrilled to see what you all bring to our neighborhoods next.”

During the month of July 2021, the Mayor’s Mural Crew painted “Tout Moun Se Moun/One Love: Mattapan Tap Tap Mural,” a 50 foot by 18 foot mural located at the rear entrance of Chase Bank on Blue Hill Avenue. In August, the crew painted “Eat What You Grow Reap What You Sow,” a 31 foot by 14 foot mural at the corner of Topalian Street and Edgewater Drive, along the Neponset River. Murals were painted by a team of youth and adult artists, including Anthony Amaral, Ava Chow, Brenda Cartagena, Bobby Zabin, Camila Aguilera-Steinert, Eli Swanson, Heidi Schork, Isabel Slater, Jabari Gichuru, Jerome Jones, Leah Prodigalidad, Lucy Edelstein-Rosenberg, Liz O’Brien, Mila Fields-Zayas, Nate McKay, Niamh Mulligan, Sin Porter, Terrance Wharton, Upasana Patel, and Zariyah Wilkerson. 

“This was my third summer working as a youth muralist with The Mayor’s Mural Crew; it was a wonderful experience—we got to experience the effects of art on a community, and had a lot of fun doing it. Both murals directly depict people who would stop by to observe the process, and the cultures of those living in Mattapan, which made both projects so special,” said Niamh Mulligan, who began studying studio art at Vassar College in September 2021.

“Painting a huge wall by hand in a group with others and having to work together to paint one cohesive image was challenging to say the least, especially when people had differing views, but it was all worth it in the end once we stepped back and saw the whole piece,” shared Lucy Edelstein-Rosenberg, a recent Boston Latin School graduate, who began studying studio art at Suffolk University in September 2021.

“Completing these two murals showed me how strong you can build something, when teammates learn how to work together. Through each stage of each mural, our bond became stronger as we learned from our mistakes and each other.  It was important to all of us to serve the Mattapan community by sharing messages of unity and love,” said Upasana Patel, a graduate student at Boston Architectural College.

Tout Moun Se Moun/One Love: Mattapan Tap Tap Mural

A large-scale homage to Toussaint L’Ouverture and Marcus Garvey was previously displayed on the wall when it was owned by Santander Bank in 2015. For this project under the patronage of Chase Bank, the Mayor’s Mural Crew developed a theme around the Caribbean residents of Mattapan Square by incorporating traditional Haitian and Jamaican stylistic elements on a larger than life size tap tap bus (tap taps are brightly painted vehicles with metal covers that serve as taxis in Haiti). The work features iconic architectural motifs in the form of Haitian gingerbread houses, bright gradients, and plants native to both Jamaica, Haiti, and Mattapan to show the diversity of the neighborhood. All the portraits were sourced directly from Mattapan residents, community members who play essential roles in public transit, healthcare, variety stores offering cultural foods, and greenspace maintenance. L'Ouverture and Garvey were done in the style of the banknotes from their respective countries to highlight their legacy, but also the exchange of value that occurs between US residents and their families back home, as well as the investments Chase Bank is making in this community. The lettering was done in a lively color scheme as would be on an actual tap tap bus, with all the variety of script fonts, bold sans serifs, in-line color blocking, white starbursts, and outlines. The community was pleased with the work of the Mural Crew, often showing their support with honks, cheers, photos, long conversations, and even by providing food and water for the crew.

A mural by the Mayors Mural Crew
A mural by the Mayors Mural Crew

Eat What You Grow Reap What You Sow: Edgewater Drive Mural

The Neponset River and greenspace at large has been historically inaccessible to the residents of Edgewater Drive and Mattapan as a result of redlining. This mural was done in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Food Access, the Edgewater Neighborhood Association, in addition to the neighboring food bank run by Reverend Homicil and the wall donated by Guerini Inc. The aim of the mural is to call attention to the need for community garden space and local food access. It features two teen volunteers from the Edgewater Community Garden, Cornelius Simmons and Kayla Docker, prominently tending to their garden and a longstanding figure in the community and gardener extraordinaire, Winfield Russell, in the center. The rolling Blue Hills are in the distance behind the houses of Mattapan. All of the vegetables in the mural such as Swiss chard, maize, Honduran beans, callaloo, tomatoes, sunflowers, collard greens, cabbage, were taken directly from the food being grown in the garden. The residents of Edgewater Drive have boldly taken up the task of ensuring that their community can eat fresh vegetables and herbs “By Any Greens Necessary.” 

A mural by the Mayor's Mural Crew

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