Second city mural planned

The Esplanade under the Colunbia Greenway Rail Trail across from the Twin River Bridges was selected the site for a new mural. (SHANNON CHIBA PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – A group of artists are continuing their mission to bring beauty and color to the city.

Just weeks after the completion and dedication of the first public mural organized by ArtWorks, a second mural location was announced – under the Esplanade across from Temperance Park.

The site is a levy wall under the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail path next to the Twin River Bridges. Shannon Chiba of ArtWorks said the group presented the idea to the Department of Public Works and Parks and Recreation Department and received full support.

The first mural, located in the tunnel underneath the rail trail between Hedges and Taylor avenue, portrays the theme “Heroes are Everywhere.”

The next mural will be geared toward children.

The site of a mural titled ‘Westfield is Fantastic’ is being planned for 2021. (SHANNON CHIBA PHOTO)

“This is going to be a mural that celebrates the future of Westfield,” Chiba said. “The theme is ‘Westfield is Fantastic,’ and this wall will be full of fantasy creatures, creative loveliness and fun. The idea is to have professional artists paint the wall with a backdrop and to add the start of some beautiful fantasy art. Then, children will paint by adding some of their own creatures and designs.”

Some youth volunteers added their touch to the existing mural, but this one will be more hands-on.

“Children can paint-in a few pre-painted works, but children can also add to the mural in collaboration with the artists by making fun creatures, fairies, larger-than life bugs and unicorns,” Chiba said. “Dragons will be present, fire, all sorts of woodland life and lots – LOTS of whimsy. The purpose of this mural is to activate the space and make this area more attractive, generate interest in visiting the river area and to help kids stay active during this time.”

Chiba said children are Westfield’s future – its heart – and they will remember this experience for a long time.

“Giving back to the community instills pride in where we live, and hopefully, folks will see and feel how this mural will make an impact,” she said. “Many folks remember the twin horse mural, The Steeds, in town from long ago. Art creates space and inspires us. As a kid, if you still remember a mural you have passed in your travels, you can remember the awe that murals hold. Beauty in unexpected places can change our mood, change our day and our lives. This mural is more than paint on a wall, it’s a welcome to our city, a way to help kids get active in this difficult time, it provides some social engagement and it builds the future.”

Artists, contributors, and sponsors gather at the Hedges Avenue entrance of a volunteer-painted mural Aug. 22, 2020. (MARC ST. ONGE/THE WESTFIELD NEWS)

ArtWorks is collaborating with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield, donors, supporters and volunteers, to get this massive mural done.

“It’s huge!” Chiba said. “You can see it at Half Mile Falls Park as you look across the river from the fountains. It’s great to paint a large space, but we will need lots of materials. We have some paint left over from the last mural, but we will need more paint poles, brushes and sealer.”

Artists are trying to solicit funding now and hope the project will be fully-funded for May of 2021 when they hope to start work.

“We will need volunteers to help clean the area up a bit, we will assess/clean the wall and get to work sketching,” said Chiba. “Many of the details will be worked out soon, including how to sign up to volunteer. Overall, this project is massive, will have a massive impact and has the potential to uplift and inspire. That is just what community work and public art should do. If it seems we are pumped – we are!”


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