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Mural Painting Begins at East Cottage Street and Norfolk Avenue Bridges as Part of MBTA Bridge Replacement Project

Posted on October 28, 2022

The MBTA today announced that local artists have begun painting murals beneath the East Cottage Street and Norfolk Avenue bridges as part of a public artwork installation. The MBTA is replacing both bridges, built in 1906, between Uphams Corner and Newmarket Commuter Rail stations. The East Cottage Street and Norfolk Avenue bridges carry the Fairmount Commuter Rail Line through Roxbury and Dorchester.

The MBTA offers 24 roundtrip trains each weekday and 12 roundtrip trains on weekends serving Fairmount, Blue Hill Avenue, Morton Street, Talbot Avenue, Four Corners/Geneva, Uphams Corner, Newmarket, and South Station. A single ride on the Fairmount Line to Boston’s downtown financial district is $2.40, equivalent to a subway fare and takes approximately 25 minutes. Since Labor Day, ridership on the Fairmount Commuter Rail Line has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The mural installations are facilitated by Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), a nonprofit, community-run organization based in Roxbury. DSNI’s mission is to empower Dudley residents to organize, plan for, create, and control a vibrant, diverse, and high-quality neighborhood in collaboration with community partners. Established in 1984, DSNI has managed or been involved in a variety of public art projects that have uplifted and beautified the neighborhood for more than 35 years.

“We’re pleased to continue partnering with community groups like the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative that help us facilitate the beautification of our public spaces,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “The murals to come painted by these local artists exemplify the spirit of the community while also bringing character to the T’s infrastructure. We thank DSNI for their collaboration, and we thank these local artists for lending us their talent.”

“Art has the ability to transform the way we experience and show up for our communities. We’re thrilled to bring new vibrancy and perspective to this part of the neighborhood in collaboration with these talented local artists and the MBTA,” said DSNI Community Organizer Sean Webster. “Projects like this create opportunities for the growth and expansion of Boston’s creative economy and it’s important that we continue to prioritize and connect local artists to jobs like this. Through this partnership, I think we’re delivering the full impact.”

The local artists selected by DSNI to install the murals are Luis ‘Take 1’ Taforo, Geo ‘GOFive’ Ortega, Eyevan, Ricardo Gomez, and Michael Talbot, who were all chosen for their commitment to improving public spaces through both the arts and activism. The murals will be completed ahead of the bridge installations, which are anticipated in mid-November 2022.

Ortega and Taforo will paint a mural entitled, “Birds of a Feather,” which has been described as a visual representation of the Dorchester and Roxbury communities with paintings of the Cape Verdean King Fisher, Papagayo de la Española, Puerto Rican Toby, Rock Pigeon, and Sunbird as examples of these respective homelands’ natural beauty as well as the adaptability of their people.

Eyevan is creating a piece centered around the multidimensional beauty that sunflowers display. The flower absorbs radioactive isotopes from the soil and creates fertile environments for other life to thrive. Despite adversity, their growth is never stunted, and the natural process creates a healthy ecosystem full of life around them. Eyevan believes that people embody that same power – the power to stand tall in the face of adversity and grow through it. The piece also serves as an ode to Graffiti Letters and features quotes from activists that have dedicated their lives to the struggle for Human Rights.

Gomez will paint a mural emblazoned with word, “Roxbury,” which intends to inspire positivity, uplift the community, and present a sense of joy to the overall public.

Talbot will paint a mural with the theme of “strength in the pack,” which will focus on the strength, pride, determination, courage, and diversity of the local community through the imagery of animals in packs and flora.

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