Mimi Graney, civic design and engagement strategist for the Department of Housing and Community Development, stood outside City Hall Saturday welcoming residents to free tours of mural sites in the city.
It was a beautiful day for a walk and residents were poised and ready to view the fine array of murals that now brighten the exterior walls of Chelsea buildings.
Amanda Hill, co-coordinator of the murals programs with Carolyn Lewenberg, was one of the tour leaders. Edwardo Chacon, president of Jukebox, an event planning company, also led a tour.
Graney said this year’s mural program, which is part of Chelsea Prospers, has focused on painted murals mostly on Division and Cherry Streets.
According to Graney, the goals of the project are: to make the alleys on these two streets more attractive and welcoming to move through, especially pedestrians; to create public art that reflects the people who call Chelsea home; and to build relationships and connections in the city, especially in this project for local artists.
“The mural tours are a project of Chelsea Prospers, the city’s downtown initiative,” explained Graney. “We have 15 new murals on Division, Cherry, and Pearl Streets (on the back of the Roca building) and at O’Neil Playground.”
The murals program began last summer with improvements to Division Street, focusing on the area between Hawthorne and Fourth Streets.
“We’ve heard a lot of great, positive feedback,” said Graney. “Folks really like the designs and feel they really reflect the community. Among the artist themselves, some are now partnering with each other in obtaining grants and working on other projects. Part of our goal is to advance a cohort of local artists and build relationships with them and that’s been happening.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino is no doubt very pleased with the success of the murals program. Ambrosino was noted during his terms as mayor of Revere for his city-wide beautification programs, some of which captured awards.
With Graney leading the downtown initiative in Chelsea, street by street, sidewalk by sidewalk, the area is experiencing a revival of visual creativeness along with a vibrancy that you can’t measure with an instrument, but you can feel in your heart.