Six ‘Sea Walls Boston’ Mural Completed

The first six murals that are part of a new public art initiative known as ‘Sea Walls Boston’ are done and a seventh mural is on the way. 

“We completed six murals so far and a last minute seventh mural will begin this week,” said HarborArts Director Matthew Pollock, who is serving as Project Director for Sea Walls Boston. 

Artists for Humanity featuring teen leaders from Eastie work on one of the two murals at the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway.
An artist puts the finishing touches on one of the murals at the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway.

Presented by Linda Cabot, Local public art group HarborArts is collaborating with the international nonprofit PangeaSeed Foundation to bring their globally renowned public art program to Boston. The initiative, known as Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans will install up to 15 public murals throughout East Boston in 2020. 

Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans is part of global initiatives that has produced over 400 murals in 16 countries calling attention to climate change from New Zealand to Mexico to Indonesia to the Caribbean. 

This was the first time Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans has come to the Northeast and Eastie is home to “Sea Walls Boston”. The art initiative is going to be part of a bigger pilot project that will involve more artists and more murals all in Eastie in the near future.

Sea Walls Boston kicked off in September with the creation of the first four of six large-scale ocean-themed murals at the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina. Then, two subsequent murals were painted on the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway later in the month. 

Participating talents are local ARTivists Silvia López Chavez, Julia “JULZ” Roth + Cedric “Vise1” Douglas, Josie Morway, IMAGINE, Sophy Tuttle, and Artists for Humanity featuring teen leaders from Eastie. 

Pollock said these six murals were painted with a purpose to give our oceans a creative voice, by serving as educational tools and conversation-starters about locally relevant key issues affecting our oceans, environment, and people.

Presenting Sea Walls Boston is long-time PangeaSeed Foundation supporter Linda Cabot. Cabot is a lifelong ocean advocate, sailor, and founder of Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs, a Boston-based nonprofit that challenges students to explore issues impacting the oceans through art. 

As part of Cabot’s support of the project, she has recruited Artists For Humanity for one of the murals located at the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway. 

“I am thrilled to be able to present Boston Sea Walls, especially this year when we are exploring the intersection of social and environmental justice,” she said. “As an artist and ocean educator I know art and creative expression has an unique superpower to engage, educate and inspire beyond what is traditionally known. Boston, a waterfront city is prime for this type of innovative and relevant activation as a community that is concerned about sea level rise, depleted fish stocks and warming waters. Working with the world renowned PangeaSeed Foundation and HarborArts is a dream come true. I have also engaged Artists for Humanity for this project so that youth and their creative voices can be represented in this one-of-a-kind project to raise awareness for the health of our oceans.” 

A seventh Sea Walls mural painted by Colombian-American artist, Felipe Ortiz, will now be added to the series of new installations. 

Ortiz is scheduled to begin painting this week. The painting will reference the topic of warming seas, a new topic in the list of Ocean-themed environmental issues covered in this year’s Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans. 

“It’s not front of mind for a lot of us, but the Gulf of Maine is the fastest warming body of water in the United States, which is causing many of the cold water marine species in the US to migrate to colder waters,” said Pollock. “The same issues that are destroying coral reefs and causing biodiversity to disappear all over the world also affect us right here at home. This mural will represent how our oceans are all connected.”

Sea Walls Boston is produced in partnership with Boston Harbor Now, Ocean Havens, East Boston Main Streets, the Davis Companies, the East Boston Foundation, Artists for Humanity, the Donald McKay School, the Barr Foundation, the Friends of the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway (formerly the East Boston Greenway), Montana Cans, and many members of the East Boston community. The project is also supporting local small businesses and restaurants impacted by COVID-19 by purchasing materials and food for the artists and volunteers.

For more information on Sea Walls Boston, please visit seawalls.org or contact the local Sea Walls team at [email protected] 

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