I have always loved Street art. It is one of the things I am most passionate about and 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 in particular public art is that you have the ability to find it particularly when it’s meant to be seen and engaged with. 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 that 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 new murals feature a wide range of talents, subjects and locations, all either on Mass Ave or Mass Ave adjacent, and when combined together they make for a fun and engaging walk down Mass Ave for anyone who misses museum visits and is looking to get out and about, and maybe seek out something new.
What to expect:
Below you will find a map, a list of artwork and a gallery of images to help you identify what you’re looking for. Not ALL public art in the area is included on this map so you will probably find more as you go. To aid you in your quest, I have included the title and artist, where I could find it. I have also tried to include the corresponding Instagram handle and/or website link, where available.
On this map I have marked the approximate locations for each piece to give you a rough idea of where to look. You should expect to walk roughly 2 miles on foot over a flat terrain. You should also expect this tour to take anywhere from 45 minutes to about an hour and a half to complete, depending on how you fast you go. Additionally, I would recommend using Google maps to help locate each item, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the area.
Please remember this is a neighborhood in a busy city where people live and work. Respect the neighborhood and the people and please wear a face mask when touring to protect both yourself and the community.
LIST OF WORK
- “Series of Portraits” by @jesusmanuelart (utility Box)
- “Untitled” by @soleiarts (in front of 1369)
- “Untlted” (in front of Pill Hardware) by @talbotsart (Utility Boxes)
- “Cambridge and Beyond” by @percyfortiniwright ( 743 Mass Ave. Look up)
- “Power” by @lenamccarthy ( behind Pandemonium Books and Games )
- “Untitled” @goldlemons (utlility box at the corner of River St and Mass Ave)
- “Untitled” Green Street Garage by @vise_1_boston and @julzroth
- “Dot Matrix” by Ed Andrews. ( Stairwell. Corner of Green Street and Pearl Street)
- “Untitled” – by @SilviaLopezChavez (Central Square Public Library)
- “Celebrating the Marshland” Lilli Ann Rosenberg (Mosaic at Central Square Public Library)
- “Untitled” Utility Box by @naijahnine (Corner of Mass Ave and Brookline St)
- “Crosswinds” by Daniel Galvez (On the side of the Middle East)
- “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 Massave)
- “Belonging” by the Fearless Collective (Lafayette Park and Columbia Street)
- “Untitled” by @rixyfz (across from Uhaul)
- “Untitled by @rastagrandpa (Bishop Allen Drive and Main Street)
- The Starlight – Performance Space, Art Space and Photography. Exterior Photo gallery. Multiple Artists. The Starlightsquare.org
- “Past, Present, Future” by @felipeortizart – Corner of Norfolk Street and Mass Ave.
- “Untitled Installation” by @pheebzcpa, #crazypantsart (Sculptural installation on phone booth)
- “Untitled” by @curtistic (Alley Next to 907 Main)
- “Central Square Cultural District” sign by Kenji Nakayama @needsignswillpaint (look up)
- “Queendom” by @Marka27 (approximately, 581 Massave. Look up)
- Graffitti Alley – Aka “Modica Way” Multiple Artists. (Next to Central Kitchen, near Hmart)
- “The Potluck” by David Fichter (On the side of Hmart)
- “Breonna under the Stars” by Youth Artists participating in the Public Art for Social Change track at @caccambridge
- “The Teacher’s Home” by @calebneelonart
- “View of Mass Ave Circa 1929” by @adam_oday & @sleonxrd
- “Faces” by Unknown – (Utility Box)
- IDEO Building. by @Eltono (Exterior design) (80 Prospect Street)
Getting there: 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.