Art in the Community – Painting a Local Eye Sore

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I’m in Connecticut visiting with family and spending some time with friends. In my hometown (and probably in your’s too!) there is an old shopping center that has not been used in well over 10 years. It is quite an eye sore.

In the 90’s when I was growing up this shopping center was where we did our grocery shopping, got our hair cut or went to the movies. It was a popular hangout for teens and in the 80’s a very popular place to go cruising.  Ever since the late 1990’s the strip has been vacant, attracting garbage and grafitti.  For 2 decades people in the town have wanted it torn down or revitalized.

Photo Credit: Manchester Parkade- Vintage Facebook Page – John F.

Finally they will get their wish.  It will be demolished sometime next year.

While I was in town a group from the local Art Association received permission to invite artists (or anyone who is interested) to come down and paint a mural.  The project is called Murals for Peace.  They saw the space as a “giant canvas for our own art association.” The art association had 50 artists signed up to come out and paint.  It sounded like a great idea so I headed down with my sister to check it out.

When we arrived the first thing I noticed was the sense of nostalgia that I felt looking over all of the buildings. All of the memories came back and I could picture how it used to look.  That feeling was short lived once I saw the state of the buildings.  The walls were covered with graffiti and gang tags, the parking lot was littered with broken glass and the buildings were falling apart.

Then I noticed the artists.  Painting their murals, sketching out their visions and filling the dull walls with color and life again.  It was really something to see.  Even though the shopping center will be demolished this year and the murals will be temporary, I think it’s a great way to foster art in the community.


What do you think?  Could you see a project like this benefiting your community?

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