Mosaic Mural in Downtown Springfield Promotes Reuse!
By Claire Cuozzo, Outreach and Education Fellow
This past Sunday, the Center for EcoTechnology participated in Make-It Springfield, a collaborative community revitalization initiative hosted by UMass Amherst and MassDevelopment. With clear blue skies overhead, we teamed up with community members to create a public mosaic mural in an alcove off of Worthington Street in Springfield. Through the vision and guidance of local mosaicist Robert Markey, the crew used donated tiles and other materials from EcoBuilding Bargains, our reused building materials store, to create this beautiful community art project!
Robert Markey’s mosaic work is well-known in this local community. With murals all throughout Springfield, his artwork has become a lasting fixture in the city’s architectural history. In regards to Sunday’s project, Markey was presented with a challenge; use 100% donated tiles from EcoBuilding Bargains to create a permanent installation. With only white tiles in stock at EcoBuilding Bargains, Markey decided to use a brick wall for the background (as opposed to concrete) so that the white tiles would stand out, allowing passerby’s to appreciate the artwork. That’s when the space on Worthington Street came to mind as the ideal location. Directly across the street from Markey’s iconic ‘Bike Night’ tribute mosaic mural, the alcove hosts three brick walls that face one another, with a tree in the center of the courtyard. Inspired by the space, Markey developed three images – one for each wall – that depict a saxophonist, a male dancer and a female dancer. Though beautiful as separate images, the pieces work together to create a cohesive mural employing the technique of using positive and negative space. Starting at 10:00 am Sunday morning, the team worked non-stop (with a short break for some well-deserved pizza) until just around 6:00 pm. Participants included CET staff, local community members from the surrounding neighborhood, and even the Director of Elder Affairs for the City of Springfield, Rodriguez Denney. In an interview with the Springfield Republican publication, El Pueblo Latino, Denney said, “I love Bob’s work because I think he is very creative with his art around the city, and I wanted to support their activities… I thought it would be wonderful to create something here that you would feel proud of for the rest of your life.”
Make-It Springfield will host public workshops and events throughout the month of June at 168 Worthington Street in Springfield. MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative, the UMASS Design Center in Springfield, and the Springfield BID are thrilled to offer a space where you can learn a new craft or skill from one of the many talented artists, entrepreneurs, and non-profits in Greater Springfield. For more information, go to Make-It Springfield or the Center for EcoTechnology events page.