A little Art can go along way.
I don’t know what I expected as I headed into East Boston, with my facemask on, for the first time in honestly a very long time, but after the extensive lockdown and doing the same walks around my neighborhood on a seemingly endless loop, I definitely needed a new backdrop. In normal times if I needed to refresh I would meet up with friends, go to a show, go out for dinner and hang out but in Covid times doing anything inside, much less visiting a museum, has become a lot more complicated (not impossible, just more complicated). Still, I really needed to get out and see new people and experience new things. What I found was an inspiring cache of incredible art ensconced in different locations around the lively and diverse neighborhood that is East Boston just on the North side of the City
With the ICA Watershed already established as a creative hotspot (closed for the cold months) and Harbor Arts working to bring more public art to the Boston Waterfront the addition of the new murals that went up mid summer seemed incredibly fortuitous to me. As it turns out walking around the neighborhood and discovering art was just the breath of fresh air I needed, as it was not only good for the body but good for the mind.
Although I periodically head over to the ICA and the ICA Watershed in the East Boston Shipyard this time I was focused on finding the 19 new murals that were going up in the neighborhood as part of Seawalls Boston 2021. With more than 350 murals in 15 countries worldwide the Seawalls: Artists for Oceans project is part of the PangeaSeed Foundation’s public art program that has been working with artists all over the world to create public art that engages and educates audiences about the challenges facing our oceans. Boston is now home to 21 of those murals, with 19 installed in East Boston, (there is also one in front of the Aquarium and one Next to Fenway Park). Along with those there are some older murals installed by the Mayor’s Mural Crew that date back more than a few years as well as a series of even older murals, well loved and weather worn, which depict local flora, lots of East Boston history and whose age speaks to the tenacity of a neighborhood and the determination of the inhabitants that have made it what it is.
As I learned East Boston is an ever evolving neighborhood rich with history and diversity. Whether you do the whole walk or just part, as you traverse the approximately 4 mile route, which can take anywhere from 1:15 – 2 1/2 hours depending on how fast or slow you walk and how long it takes you to wind your way through the bustling neighborhood, you will see lots of public art along with the aforementioned murals. The additional art to be discovered comes by way of what seems like an innumerable number of decorated electrical boxes celebrating the area as well as an additional cache of sculptures in the East Boston Shipyard that I trust you will discover on your own.
As you enjoy this tour, please keep in mind that this is a very busy neighborhood where people from all walks and backgrounds live and work. The East Boston Shipyard is a working shipyard so you need to be careful while walking around that area. Since you travel at your own risk, I always encourage visitors/travelers to double check their plans, check the weather and to assess their ability to comfortably navigate an area before they arrive. Remember to respect the neighborhood and the people who live there, and as always please travel safely
HOW DO I ARTWALK?
GOOD QUESTION! 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 East Boston. On this, map you will see 30 numbered places which correspond to the list of artwork provided and the gallery of images I have included to help you identify what you’re looking for. I have also included the street addresses, IG handle, etc.. to help you locate each work of art and connect with the artist(s) where I could find them.
HOW DO I GET THERE? East Boston is accessible via public transportation. You can take the Blue Line to the Maverick Square T stop (head towards Wonderland). You can also bike there, drive, or take the bus. However, please research your route and parking options before embarking.
THIS MAP IS NOT FOR DRIVING. This map is a graphic representation of the East Boston neighborhood only and is meant to give you a general idea of where to find the works of art. Since you travel at your own risk, I recommend that before you venture out you familiarize yourself with the area and/or also employ a map app as well.
DOWNLOADABLE MAP AND ART LIST
ART WORK LIST
- “Maverick Square” by C. Lauson. At the corner of Maverick and Henry Street
- “untitled” Paris Street Mural by City of Boston Mural Crew, 82 Paris Street. ( 2017.)
- “History of East Boston” by Unknown Artist – 155 Meridian Street. Side of Americano Espresso Bar.
- “Untitled” by @done_rite_designs at La Hacienda Restaurant. 150 Meridian Street, the Mural is actually on the back side of the restaurant, on Liverpool Street.
- “Protect What You Love” by @itsaliving – Central Square, East Boston. Behind MacDonalds and Autozone. Seawalls Boston, 2021
- “Death to Plastic” by @tallboy666 – 160 Liverpool Street. Seawalls Boston (2021)
- “Guiding Giants” by Taj Francis. IG @tajfrancis – 150 Liverpool Street. Seawalls Boston (2021)
- “Fear” by Sophy Tuttle. IG @sophytuttle – 60 Border Street. Seawalls Boston (2021)
- “Zumix Radio Block Party Mural” by Liz LaManche (& Volunteers) IG @Liz_lamanche. 250 Sumner Street (2017)
- “Precipice” by @beaustanton – East Boston Fire Station & Mary Ellen Welch Greenway. Easily viewed from S. Breman Street. Seawalls Boston (2021)
- “Guardian” by @josiemorway – Cunard Tavern. 24 Orleans Street. Seawalls Boston (2021)
- “Gates of Transcendence” by Michael Alfano. Installation. East Boston Shipyard
- “Kelp Meal Makes Excellent Soil” by Paul Howe. Installation. East Boston Shipyard
- “Untitled” Pink person with fish and cityscape by Unknown. East Boston Shipyard
- “Protect What You Love” by @Imagine876 – East Boston Shipyard. Seawalls Boston (2020)
- “Fight the Rise” by @josiemorway – East Boston Shipyard. Seawalls Boston (2020)
- “Rise” by @silvialopezchavez – East Boston Shipyard. Seawalls Boston (2020)
- “The Calling” by @vise_1_boston and @julzroth – East Boston Shipyard. Seawalls Boston (2020)
- “Intersectional Environmentalism” by @artyouhungry – Donald McKay Elementary School. 122 Cottage Street. Seawalls Boston (2021)
- “Aquatic Dimensions” by @felipeortizart – Donald McKay Elementary School. 122 Cottage Street. Seawalls Boston (2021)
- “Guardianes del Mar” by @oh_sabadee – Donald McKay Elementary School. 122 Cottage Street. Seawalls Boston (2021)
- “Solo Hay Un Océano” by @artworkofkai & @most_funky_click – Donald McKay Elementary School. 122 Cottage Street. Seawalls Boston (2021)
- “Untitled” by @Marka_27 – Donald McKay Elementary School. 122 Cottage Street. Seawalls Boston (2021)
- “To Immigrants with Love” by Mayor’s Martin Walsh’s Office of Immigrant Advancement and the Mayor’s Mural Crew. Beneath the Summer Street overpass
- “Rising Tides” by @sophytuttle – Mary Ellen Welch Greenway, Summer Street underpass, Seawallls Boston, (2020)
- “Untitled” Plant Life mural by The Boston Natural Areas Network Youth Corp beneath Gove Street overpass, (2010)
- “East Boston Greenway” by East Boston Greenway Mural by Boston Natural Areas Youth Conservation Corp. Beneath Gove Street Overpass, (2006)
- “Hope and Resistance” by @afhboston – Mary Ellen Welch Greenway, Porter Street Underpass. Seawalls Boston (2021)
- “Heart of the Ocean” by @felipeortiz – 260 Bremen Street. Seawalls Boston (2021). This is ALL THE WAY DOWN. You will get to the ranger station, or whatever it is and this mural is just across the street to the left.
- “Parasitic Pandora” by @squid.licker – 62 Chelsea Street. Seawalls Boston (2021)
(These are absolutely beautiful and definitely worth the side quest, however they are NOT IN EAST BOSTON, so I did not include them on this map)
“A Vital and Vibrant Ocean for All” by Shepard Fairy. IG @obeygiant – Seawalls Boston (2021) Aquarium T Stop, Blue Line.
PROTECT” by @dragon76art – This is in the alley between 120-126 Brookline Ave. Boston. Close to the Kenmore Square T Stop, Greenline. It is also easily viewable from Van Ness Street. Seawalls Boston (2021)
DOWNLOADABLE MAP AND ART LIST