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The Mass Media

My top favorite public artworks in Boston

The+Betances+Mural+in+Villa+Victoria%2C+South+Boston.
Maya Martinez
The Betances Mural in Villa Victoria, South Boston. Photo by Maya Martinez / Mass Media Staff

Boston has become like a second home to me. As soon as I moved here in 2018, I knew that I was going to love it. I mean, what is there not to love? It’s hard not to be impressed by the city’s integration of preserved history and modern day society, or the diverse food industry that is thriving along every single corner of our beloved Beantown.

As I ventured around the city for the first time, I came to realize the aptitude of talent that lives amongst this capital.

The talent of this city is what really sealed the deal for me.

From its street performers, to live concerts, to clubs, Boston can confidently brag about its arts community and culture.

With all that being said, what really took my breath away is the amazing physical art that I came across as I ventured around town for the first time.

I wanted to share my top favorite public artworks and installations to anyone it would interest. I would highly recommend taking a trip to these works to experience the talent of these artists firsthand.

To begin, the mural named “Nieli’ka” that was created by the mayor’s mural crew in 2013 is displayed perfectly on Purple Cactus at 674 Centre Street. This mural conveys traditional huichol art. Huichol is “an indigenous group from west central Mexico, from Jalisco, San Luis Potosi and Nayarit” (1). Something unique about this artwork is its depicted use of yarn.

The bold, bright colors of this mural make it hard to miss. From vivid pinks, yellows, purples, and green, this artwork is one to admire. I personally love the wildlife that is featured in the work such as the blue jay and monarch butterfly (1). The rest of the mural depicts Jamaica Pond and its scenery.

The next artwork I would like to highlight is the “Ars Et Scientia” that lies against the Meserve Hall of Northeastern university.

The mural seems to depict a goddess-like figure holding both a lightning bolt and a paintbrush (1). When asked what his intentions were of his work, artist El Mac explained that his father, who was studying engineering at Northeastern at the time, had bumped into a female artist on that same street. That female artist would become his own mother and the rest was history. The goddess is holding a lighting bolt to represent his father and a paintbrush to represent his mother.

To make the mural even more personal, it is El Mac’s own wife that the figure is modeled after.

This artwork is amazing to admire as it is all done by spray can. The way he was able to include so much detail and shading is a true tell of this artist’s talent.

Lastly, a must see in my personal opinion is the Betances mural created by artist Lilli Ann Killen Rosenberg. This 45 foot long ceramic mosaic radiates in its color and is displayed proudly at Villa Victoria on Aguadilla Street, off of Tremont Street (1).

This artwork is said to celebrate the Puerto Rican culture of many southend residents. Historically, this mosaic was created some years after this community was facing displacement that became an issue during the 60s (1).

Rosenberg created 300 plus tiles and pieces to depict residents of Villa Victoria, adults and children alike. There are also depictions of wildlife and instruments that can be viewed in its details.

Directly in the middle is Ramon E Betances, a Puerto Rican patriot who is a great figure for the community (1).

All three of these murals are truly amazing works of art that I highly recommend taking a trip to go see. You can make a day out of it and not only get to know Boston better, but get to admire the art culture and history that thrives in Boston to this very day.

1) https://www.wbur.org/news/2016/08/29/boston-best-public-art

About the Contributors
Mikayla MacKay, Arts & Lifestyle Editor
Maya Martinez, Photographer