FITCHBURG — Four lead artists, eight assistant artists, a few instructors, dozens of volunteers, and months of work have brought the idea of creating three new murals in downtown Fitchburg. did.
Liz Murphy, Director of Housing Development, said in one of the three mural ribbon cuts on Sunday, June 26th and Monday, June 27th, “I’m more excited about all these results. I couldn’t do it. “
The murals are on the retaining wall under Boulder Drive’s Heritage Flag Park, on one side of the Putnam Street Parking Garage, and behind the former Woolworth Building on 83 Boulder Drive.
The installation near Heritage Flag Park was created with input from the Montachuset Community Branch YMCA Spartacus Youth Program. Created by lead artist Jon Allen and his team of Jennessa Burks and Keenan Cassidy, the mural features several youth program members who have agreed to be models, “Our dreams have power”, ” “Our voice is important”, “We are survivors”, “Take care of friends and family”, “We can do anything with love.”
The Putnam Street Parking Garage mural honors Fitchberg’s longtime civil rights and community activist Adrian Ford, who died in January 2021 at the age of 73. Coordination with Desiry Philkins, Petriflint, and the North Central Massachusetts Minority Union.
The mural contains a quote from Ford. “The only way change can happen is to allow people suffering from racial injustice to express their opinions, opinions, and especially pain.”
Ford founded the community development company Three Pyramids Inc. in 1971 and held the title of CEO from 1972 until his death. Leonawetzel, one of Ford’s nieces, is president of the Three Pyramids. In 1992, Ford co-founded the Minority Union in Central and Northern Massachusetts, dedicated to achieving racial, gender and economic equity in the region.
The former Woolworths mural was created with the views of Fitchburg Art Steward. It was designed with the theme of “What is the power of art?” With the help of Shara Osgood, Monique Guthrie, Amber Haney and Maxwell Zarensky. Two children, a guitar-playing man, and two crows, with the words “art is healing,” “art is community,” and “art is innovation,” along with expressions of Fitchberg’s various cultural communities. Butterflies and sunflowers.
The mural creation process began in the fall of 2021 when the Fitchburg Community Development Planning Department was introduced to the Co-Director of the Community Mural Institute. Britt Ruhe from Common Wealth Murals in Springfield and Greta McLain from Good Space Murals in Minneapolis. ..
“I was fascinated as soon as I met Brit and Greta,” Murphy said. “We wanted to do this.”
During the winter, the city worked with the Community Mural Institute to form a selection committee to score and select 12 artists working on three murals.
The murals were created using a technique called Polytab, which was taught to artists by instructors at the Community Mural Institute.
“The entire mural is made of a large piece of synthetic canvas and sticks like a permanent wallpaper,” McLean said. “This allows us to have a paint party where hundreds of people come and help us paint, but we don’t have to ride a lift with us.”
A temporary studio was set up in a warehouse space in Putnam Place provided by the Fitchburg Redevelopment Department, where artists worked and Community Paint Party Day was held.
The polytab technology made it possible to install mural paintings in a short time. The mural “lasts much longer than traditionally made murals,” McLean said. “Also, the quality is higher.”
The mural project was funded by the Reimagine North of Main, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Community Development Block Grant Program.
“We were fortunate enough to welcome 12 highly talented artists who applied and were selected,” Murphy said. I’m happy to find these artists and have these three murals, but I’m also excited about the community side. “
Maya Ford Diaz, one of Adrian Ford’s five children, joined her brother when she spoke on Sunday’s ceremonial ribbon cut for her father’s mural. She called the mural “emotional and fulfilling” and “amazing public art work.”
“We didn’t want our dad to be buried,” Ford Diaz said. “For many of us, this is more than just a mural. It’s a place where we can come and still feel connected to him.”