Celebrated Colombian Artist Felipe Ortiz Turns Eastie Intersection into Work of Art

Anyone who lives in Orient Heights knows the area near the Marty Pino Community Center where Ashley Street dumps out onto Boardman can be a dangerous area for pedestrians and motorists.

With a community center and neighboring Noyes Park hosting hundreds of children each week once the weather gets warm the city has heard enough complaints about the intersection to begin trying something different.

Since last March the Boston Transportation Department has deployed a host of different traffic calming measures including installing permanent traffic cones to demonstrate the city’s plan to transform the triangular intersection into a more user friendly area for motorists and pedestrians.

This aerial view shows how celebrated Colombian artist Felipe Ortiz turned the intersection at Ashley and Boardman Streets into a work of art.

Recently, Redgate, the developers of the 230-unit apartment community on Addison Street, teamed up with the City of Boston’s Tactical Urbanism Initiative to create a safer intersection at Ashley and Boardman streets.

Redgate commissioned celebrated Colombian artist Felipe Ortiz to turn the portion of the troubled intersection within the traffic cones into a work of art.

Ortiz’s now completed mural incorporates imagery of native wildlife from Belle Isle Marsh into a public art piece for all to enjoy while drawing attention to the traffic calming measures that have been deployed by the city.

The commissioning of Ortiz was part of a community benefits mitigation package in connection with Redgate’s Addison Street project and was funded through the Addison project in collaboration with the tactical urbanism initiative

“The place we have created at Addison is very welcoming and hopefully inspiring to the artist community, and these wonderful pieces of public art reflect that idea,” said Damian Szary, a Principal at Redgate. “Felipe’s street mural not only has created great beauty for all of East Boston to appreciate, but it will actually contribute to improved public safety at the Ashley and Boardman intersection.”

Ortiz’s unique murals are a fusion of artistic themes representing the urban scenery from the U.S., its vast landscape, and fast-paced urban environments. In addition to Colombia’s vibrant culture, colors, sounds and dense natural scenery. For this mural at Ashley and Boardman, Ortiz took both of these factors and put them down taking nature’s elements from Eastie.

This is not the first time Redgate has commissioned local artists for work in the community. The developer hired cross-medium artist Mia Cross also created a dramatic interior painting which is the signature feature of Addison Street project’s lobby. 

Cross, a Boston-based artist who is originally from Framingham – has been featured in numerous galleries and exhibits throughout New England and New York, and her work lives in private collections throughout Europe and the United States. In addition to creating the Addison lobby mural was commissioned by Redgate to also produce new lobby artwork at One North of Boston in Chelsea, which Redgate developed in partnership with Trans Del Corp.

Redgate has also commissioned artworks for Addison by Cyrille Conan and Craig Lupien. Conan’s artwork is a two-story mural located at the main amenity space, he is the son of French immigrants, which is reflected in his artwork. Conan has produced site-specific installations and murals in several spaces including The Museum of Fine Arts and City Hall in Boston. Lupien’s mural to be completed in the Spring, will be on the side of Addison’s pool. Lupien produces mixed media art treating color and line as a concept expressing the non-verbal.

“Creativity and aesthetic beauty and the pioneering drive people have to carve their own path is really built into the spirit and soul of what Redgate has created here in Orient Heights,” said Addison Community Manager Ty Brieske, of Greystar – the development’s property manager and leasing agency. “These fine works by Felipe and Mia as well as the art of Cyrille Conan and Craig Lupien have been front and center in the place-making at Addison.”

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