Mural Project Aims To Coat Walls And Change Perceptions In Springfield, Mass.

Apr 5, 2019

A whole lot of murals are coming to the largest city in western Massachusetts.

It's part of a project called Fresh Paint Springfield. Officials say they hope it'll contribute to a changing perception of downtown.

Priya Green lives in Springfield with her husband Andrae. They're both artists — and they're working together on a mural design for the project.

“This is kind of the first big mural that we're gonna be doing,” Green said. “We do have a few smaller murals under our belts, but nothing of this scale, so we're really excited about this.”

Fresh Paint Springfield involves 35 artists — some but not all from the city. They'll paint more than two dozen works, including murals large and small as well as a bunch of painted pianos.

It's part of an effort to get people to enjoy downtown Springfield, and maybe see it in a different light.

Green said she's come around herself with her views on the place.

“Before moving here, we used to hear so many negative things about Springfield,” she said. “And when we actually lived here  — and met people that lived and worked here — we met so many young entrepreneurs like ourselves. We just felt that there was this energy here in Springfield, this entrepreneurial-type energy. And so, we were seeing the grit and the spunk.”

Andrae and Priya Green are artists whose work will be part of the mural project in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Credit Courtesy Fresh Paint Springfield

Britt Ruhe, producer of Fresh Paint Springfield, said there will be three community paint parties when anyone can come help paint.

“Basically, it’ll be a giant paint-by-numbers,” she said.

Ruhe said she got the idea for the mural festival by going to others in places like Worcester, Lynn and Salem.

“I fell in love with the way that the artists interacted with the community members, the way the community interacted with the arts, and just the incredible impact that they had in a really short period of time,” she said.

Once all the art is up, Ruhe said she hopes it creates a “very walkable outdoor art gallery.”

“And it encourages residents and visitors to come downtown, walk around, engage in the community and enjoy the downtown of Springfield, which doesn't have — or hasn't in the past had — the best of reputations,” she said.

Fresh Paint Springfield says it plans to track the economic impact of the murals.

Mayor Domenic Sarno noted the appeal of the arts in helping local businesses' bottom line.

“People like to see these arts,” he said. “They like to see the flow. They like to see that it's clean and safe. It makes you feel good. When you feel good, you want to spend money.”

Most of the murals will be painted in the first week of June.