“Generational Spirit” Mural

“Generational Spirit,” a vibrant, 30’x40’ mural featured on the brick wall of the East Boston Social Center, can be prominently viewed from every bustling entrance into Central Square. It is the inaugural piece in HarborArts’s newest initiative, Beautify Main Streets, in partnership with East Boston Main Streets.

“Part of Beautify Main Streets is to help capitalize and grow public art work, and hopefully create a legacy program that makes it more viable and sustainable,” explained Matthew Pollock, Director, HarborArts. “This is the heart of the community in Central Square. We are super grateful to the Social Center for giving us their wall as a canvas for the mural.”

Artists, Silvia López Chavez and Felipe Ortiz, with their mural, “Generational Spirit,” on display at the East Boston Social Center, in Central Square

HarborArts has produced over 30 murals in East Boston over the past three years; and Pollock is optimistic that a system will be created in the future to preserve and maintain existing paintings.

Pollock hopes that more local businesses, neighborhood groups, and non-profit organizations will accept the murals as gifts that can increase their visibility in the community. Pollock believes that public art can be a catalyst of conversation and economic growth.

As part of the mural’s planning process, residents were asked what they felt was special about East Boston. Beautify Main Streets received responses such as: diversity, community, and neighbors looking out for one another.

“As an immigrant community, Eastie has been a welcoming neighborhood,” said Pollock. “That’s what inspired this piece.”

“Generational Spirit” depicts three generations, and represents the strength and vibrancy of East Boston families. This mural is the first collaboration of locally and internationally exhibited artists, Silvia López Chavez, of Chelsea, and Felipe Ortiz, of East Boston. The two have been painting from morning until dusk since the beginning of September.

López Chavez and Oritz’s creative styles are incorporated into the contemporary piece that resonates with both of their cultural backgrounds. López Chavez grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she attended art school; later studying at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Oritz, a native of Colombia, is also a Massachusetts College of Art and Design graduate whose work focuses on themes of migration.

“We want to share that love of boldness and color in this space,” said López Chavez, who has been painting murals for seven years. “One of the things I love about working in the community is learning about what is important to the particular neighborhood. Being a neighborhood of immigrants, East Boston is about welcoming people.”

According to López Chavez and Pollock, passersby commuting to school, work, or Liberty Plaza have been curious and joyful when walking past the mural, thanking the team for beautifying the neighborhood.

“A lot of people are stopping and asking questions about what it means. They feel represented,” shared López Chavez, who maintains a studio space at Atlantic Works Gallery.

Attend the unveiling ceremony of “Generational Spirit,” on Wednesday, September 27, from 4-7pm at the East Boston Social Center, 68 Central Square, East Boston. The celebration will be in conjunction with the East Boston Farmers’ Market in Central Square, 3-6:30 pm. 

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