Dewey Square Gets New Mural

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Posted October 6, 2014 by Lindsey Daniels in Theater & Arts
Dewey Square Mural

The wall at Dewey Square has seen two murals come and go, the first by Os Gemeos and the second by Matthew Ritchie. On September 23, a new mural by Shinique Smith rolls out. The mural is based on one of Smith’s paintings, which is presently hanging in the Museum of Fine Arts during a temporary exhibition. In celebration of the new mural, Artists for Humanity ithrew a huge launch party to celebrate.

The Mural Premiere Party

This event took place from 5 to 7 p.m. on September 23, during prime rush hour commuter time. While many passersby booked it directly to South Station, there were a number of people who wandered over to the mural to check it out. Or it could be that they were drawn by the food trucks (which included Roxy’s Grilled Cheese and Bon Me) the Dewey Square Farmer’s Market, or the music from local bands Debo Band and Zumix. It was a decent mix of people of all ages. Dewey Square Plaza was definitely full, but it didn’t feel crowded when I was there at least. That left me plenty of perspective to step back and appreciate Smith’s colorful mural.

Debo Band was onstage with their eclectic mix of Ethiopian rock, funk, and soul when I checked out the party. Small groups of people mingled. There were a number of teens in attendance, probably because they worked with Artists for Humanity, the sponsoring organization.

Whatever the case, it was a fun party to announce a fun new mural. You can visit the mural yourself, or see more of Smith’s work at the Museum of Fine Arts. Her show, called Bright Matter, hangs until March 1, 2015. The painting that inspired the new mural, which is on display there, integrates bright colors, textures, and artifacts into a vibrant canvas. The mural opportunity marks a return to Boston for Smith, who graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts before moving to New York City, her present home.

More About the Mural

All in all, it took 20 days to take down Ritchie’s mural, prepare the space for the new mural, and paint Smith’s mural. And it also took 22 gallons of oil-based sign paint, which Smith mixed by hand to be the exact shade she preferred.

To translate the painting onto the wall, a team of experts digitally traced Smith’s painting. The photo was then placed on top of a grid and traced with specialized electronic equipment. Next, the grid with the traced mural outline was affixed to the wall at Dewey Square, and traced onto the wall using a special charcoal dust. With the mural was finally transferred to the wall, Smith and a team of mural painters were able to begin hand painting the areas of color.

With bright pockets of yellow, pink, and magenta, the mural will offer a little more color and pep than the soothing Ritchie seascape that was there before. Smith told WBUR that she wanted the mural to give a “lift” to the South Station commuters heading to and from work, and that she wanted people to spend time pondering the mural and discovering all of the different textures, colors, patterns, and elements contained within the Seven Moons mural.

While the party is over, you can view the Seven Moons mural on the Greenway for the next year. It’s an interesting piece, and one that I plan to take in again and again each time I pass through the area.


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