By John Lynds
Boston’s Office of Immigrant Advancement’s Heidi Schork,who runs the office’s Mural Crew program is looking for community involvement for an upcoming mural at the East Boston Greenway.
Schork and the Mural Crew are starting one mural in Eastie on Paris Street in about two weeks and the other project down on the Greenway is the one she said she needs the community’s help.
“We’ll probably kick off the mural project on the Greenway (under the Maverick Street bridge) at the end of August,” said Schork. “The theme of this mural will focus on East Boston grandmothers.”
Over the next few weeks Schork is looking for Eastie resident from all backgrounds and nationalities to send photos of their grandmothers to [email protected] to be incorporated into the mural.
“Anyone interested can email a picture–don’t worry too much about the quality because we can tweak the photos with Photoshop,” said Schork. “We have a lot of wall to cover and we want it to be giant loving grandmothers of East Boston. I’m hoping to cover all generations from the early 20th Century to today.”
Those who want to submit photos should include their grandmother’s name and a couple of bio sentences.
“I’m really looking for pictures that give the subject a sense of place and time in history,” she said.
The idea came to Schork after working with teens from Eastie.
“After meeting kids in East Boston where the Italian ‘Nonna’ or Latino ‘Abuela’ culture is prominent and the patriarch of the family is celebrated, I thought why not take that concept further,” she said.
The murals in Eastie are part of Mayor Martin Walsh, the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement and the office’s Mural Crew’s “To Immigrants With Love” public art campaign. The murals will be located in Eastie and Roslindale, and will celebrate immigrants’ contributions to Boston and their local communities, featuring past and present immigrants in each neighborhood.
“This project is designed to celebrate all heritages that make Boston the great city it is today,” said Walsh. “Immigrants throughout the centuries have contributed to the building of Boston, and our goal is to celebrate immigrants’ work, and foster civic engagement throughout the City.”
In addition to highlighting the economic and cultural vibrancy immigrants bring to their neighborhoods, “To Immigrants With Love” also connects immigrants to city services and resources via a campaign website.
“The arts are a powerful tool for bringing people together, and public art is an ideal way lift up and make visible the contributions of Boston’s diverse immigrants,” said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. “We’re proud the the Mayor’s Mural Crew will create this important art in communities throughout Boston.”
The other Eastie mural located on the Paris Street side of Dr. Dental will feature immigrants Carmello Scire and Veronica Robles. Scire immigrated from Sicily in the early 1930s and founded his own catering business. Currently run by Scire’s grandson Steve Scire, Sammy Carlo’s Delicatessen and Catering continues Scire’s dedication to community service and has been located in Eastie for over 75 years. Beside the portrait of Scire there will be one of Veronica Robles. Robles is a cultural ambassador, educator and longtime community activist, who immigrated from Mexico in 2000. Mayor Walsh appointed Robles to serve on the leadership council for Boston Creates, the cultural plan for the City.
“I discovered that culture is a beautiful opportunity to provide not only joy to people but also to create social change,” said Robles. “We can use the power of arts and culture to be able to make our communities better.”