Five artists chosen for public projects in Grove Hall, and on Quincy Street

Above, “Afro Futurism/Breathe Life” mural and artist Robert ‘Problak’ Gibbs in front of his work at 324 Blue Hill Ave. Photo courtesy of Chris Gaines. Below, Victor ‘Marka27’ Quinonez’s “Sacred Health” mural rendering.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh selected five artists last week to complete a series of public art projects and murals in the Quincy Street Corridor and Grove Hall Business District of Dorchester. The announcement is tied to a city-led initiative to improve the streetscape with art that celebrates the beauty of the neighborhood as well as local heroes and citizens.

“We are working hard to improve the overall experience of the streets of Boston for everyone,” said Mayor Walsh. “Public art helps advance these goals by creating a strong sense of place while embracing the identity of the neighborhood.”

The five selected artists include Chanel Thervil, who has created an “Affirmation Station,” an interactive installation at the corner of Quincy and Blue Hill Ave.; Robert “Problak” Gibbs, who has created a mural entitled “Afro Futurism/Breathe Life” at the UCERM Empowerment Center at 324 Blue Hill Ave.; Laurence Pierce, whose mural “On the Shoulders of Giants” at the Grove Hall branch of the Boston Public Library pays tribute to local leaders who paved the way for today’s children; David “Rimx” Sepulveda, who created a mural at 41 Geneva Ave inspired by the legacy of Nelson Mandela, and Victor “Marka27” Quiñonez, whose mural “Sacred Health” will encourage self-love and awareness of mind, body, and spirit.

The artists were selected by a committee comprising representatives from Department of Neighborhood Development, Boston Art Commission, Grove Hall Main Streets, and other community representatives.

One of the artists, Robert Gibbs, talked about the power of “positive messaging” that can be conveyed through community art.

“Being Boston-raised, I wanted to pay respect and homage to areas that made me the artist I am today,” said Gibbs. “I graduated from the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School that is literally down the street from the wall that I painted. I wanted to ‘Breathe Life’ back into the neighborhood that helped me launch my gift into the universe. I developed an understanding of the need for positive messaging in our communities and my responsibility to produce artwork that could resonate with so many people, have visual impact, reflect the people of the area, and celebrate our history.”

The project is being funded by a Choice Neighborhood Initiative (CNI) Implementation Grant that is meant to support improvements for public housing, provide services and case management for local residents, and enhance businesses and improve local playgrounds in the Quincy Street Corridor and the Grove Hall Business District.