I have always loved Street art.
It is one of the things I am most passionate about and totally fascinated by. There is something about its subversive nature, the unfiltered messages, its at times unsanctioned appearance, and the fact that it is often one of the few places that gives a voice to the unheard which adds critical layers to our ongoing social, political, economic and cultural discussions and which appeals to me on absolutely every level. Maybe as an artist myself i’m just really impressed by the ingenuity, skill and persistence of the “artists” who take the time to design and share their murals, sculptures, graffiti, stencils, stickers or tags that makes me appreciate it as a uniquely powerful art form.
Similarly powerful, Public art is also unlike Street art in that it is typically very intentional in its creation. Public Art is art that has been planned and installed in a location where it is specifically designed to interact with the public. Whether you find them irritating or inspirational, both Street art and Public art in all their forms have long been part of our visual vernacular and play a particularly important role in our ongoing dialogues.
The most important thing about art and public art in particular, is that you have the ability to find Art and engage with it on a personal. Although there are a lot of fantastic locations for Street Art and Public Art in the Greater Boston area there is probably no better neighborhood to familiarize yourself with it locally than Central Square in Cambridge. Right on the Redline, Central Square is known to be one of the more colourful neighborhoods in the Metro Boston area and has a long history of supporting creative expression in all its forms.
Central Square has long been a host to innovative public art. With a series of murals and public art installations that date back decades, Central Square recently introduced a series of murals that are part of the Central Square Mural Project, which began in the fall of 2019 and coincided with the 10 year anniversary of “Graffitti Alley,” a.k.a. Modica Way, a local treasure and a Gram-able hot spot known for its vibrant and eccentric rotating gallery of wall and graffiti art.
More recently and in the wake of Covid, and with our lives upended and continuing to head in directions unknown, Central Square continues to be a vibrant neighborhood that supports new creative voices and community through the addition of new artwork. Some of the newest work is part of the “Speak Your Piece Campaign” designed to promote inclusion and embrace diversity through new public art pieces installed throughout the neighborhood. The truth is there is always new work being planned and installed. The new murals feature a wide range of talents, subjects and locations, all are either on Mass Ave or Mass Ave adjacent, and when combined together they make for a fun and engaging afternoon for anyone who misses museum visits and is looking to get out and about, and maybe seek out something new.
How do I Art Walk?
Use the map embedded in this blog post, or download and printout the PDF map provided below to help you navigate the public art of Central Square Cambridge. On this, map you will see 35 numbered places which correspond to the list of artwork provided and a gallery of images I have included to help you identify what you’re looking for. To further aid you in your quest, I have also included the street addresses and/or notes (including artists IG handle, website etc… where I can find them) to help you pinpoint locations of each work of art.
You should expect to walk roughly 2 miles on foot over a flat terrain. You should expect this activity to take anywhere from 45 minutes to about an hour and a half to complete, depending on how you fast you go. There is a lot of public art currently in Central Square. Not ALL public art in the area is included on this map. You will definitely find more as you go. Since you travel at your own risk, I would recommend using Google maps to help locate each item, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the area.
Central Square is easily accessible via public transportation and can be accessed via the Central Square T stop, on the Redline. It is also on the #1 bus route, which runs up and down Mass Ave, and can be reached on foot from all directions.
THIS MAP IS NOT FOR DRIVING.
This is a graphic representation of the Central Square neighborhood only and meant to assist you in identification of the neighborhood art. The art is subject to periodic change. I encourage visitors to assess their ability to comfortably navigate the neighborhood before arrival.
DOWNLOAD THE MAP AND ART LIST
LIST OF ART WORK
Instagram handles and websites included where found.
- “Series of Portraits” by @jesusmanuelart (Utility Box in front of Cambridge City Hall at 795 Massachusetts Ave.)
- “Untitled” by @soleiarts (in front of 1369, 757 Massachusetts Avenue)
- “Untitled” by @talbotsart (Utility Boxes in front of Pill Hardware, 743 Massachusetts Ave)
- “Cambridge and Beyond” by @percyfortiniwright ( 743 Mass Ave. Look up above Pill Hardware)
- “Power” by @lenamccarthy ( behind Pandemonium Books and Games. Corner of Pleasant and Green Street )
- “Untitled” @goldlemons (utlility box at the corner of River St and Mass Ave)
- “Untitled” Green Street Garage by @vise_1_boston and @julzroth (260 Green Street)
- “Dot Matrix” by Ed Andrews. ( Stairwell. Corner of Green Street and Pearl Street)
- “Untitled” – by @SilviaLopezChavez (Central Square Public Library, Green Street – Pearl Street)
- “Celebrating the Marshland” Lilli Ann Rosenberg (Mosaic, Central Sq Public Library, 45 Pearl St)
- “Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.” Lilli Ann Rosenberg [Mosaic, Central Sq Public Library, Franklin St]
- “Untitled” Utility Box by @naijahnine (Corner of Mass Ave and Brookline St)
- “Crosswinds” by Daniel Galvez (On the side of the Middle East, 472 Massachusetts Ave)
- “Nocturnal” – by Artists at artbioollaborative.com (Corner of Brookline Street and Green Street)
- “Diurnal” – by the Artists at artbioollaborative.com (Corner of Green Street and Brookline Street)
- “Untitled” @Vyalone (On the corner of Pearl Street and Green Street)
- “For Cambridge With Love from Nepal” by @Imagine876 (Corner of Sidney Street and Mass Ave)
- “Belonging” by the Fearless Collective (Lafayette Park and Columbia Street)
- “Set me Free & Illuminated” by @rixyfz (across from Uhaul) & @rastagrandpa
- “Set me Free & Illuminated by @rastagrandpa (Bishop Allen Drive and Main Street)
- “Minerva and the Muse” by @hueman_
- “Untitled” by @curtistic (Alley Next to 907 Main)
- “Untitled Installation” by @pheebzcpa (Sculptural installation on phone booth) #crazypantsart
- “Central Square Cultural District” sign by Kenji Nakayama @needsignswillpaint (look up)
- “Queendom” by @Marka27 (approximately, 581 Massave. Look up above building)
- Graffitti Alley – Aka “Modica Way” Multiple Artists. (Next to Central Kitchen, near Hmart)
- “Breonna under the Stars” by Youth Artists at @caccambridge
- The Potluck” by David Fichter (On the side of Hmart)
- “See Me” @mz.icar (Next to H-Mart, behind blue pop up shops, I know… sorry]
- The Starlight – Performance Space. You can not miss this. It’s massive. Behind/Next to Hmart.
- “Past, Present, Future” by @felipeortizart – Corner of Norfolk Street and Mass Ave.
- “The Teacher’s Home” by @calebneelonart – On the other side of HMart.
- “View of Mass Ave Circa 1929” by @adam_oday and @sleonxrd. Essex Street and Mass Ave.
- “Faces” by Unknown – (Utility Box) Corner of Mass ave and Essex Street.
- IDEO Building. by @Eltono (Exterior design) (80 Prospect Street)
This gallery is in approximate order.
DOWNLOAD THE MAP AND ART LIST