If These Walls Could Talk

Do these books look familiar?

If you’re from around here, I’ll guess that you’ve seen them once or twice (or a million times), and over the years have witnessed what only the powerful sands of time can do to a beautiful mural:   Crumbling Destruction. 

The Harmony Lot Mural Project was headed up in 2007 by Karen Cribari and Brattleboro’s Youth Services, to convert a large blank canvas into a point of pride for Brattleboro, with many ARTistic helping hands working together to make it a reality.  The wall is 75 feet long, and as it is one of larges public ART pieces in town, it has become an iconic place where locals and visitors alike, can share in a brief moment of delight for such colorful ART.

The imagery is a bookshelf which was voted on by the town, featuring punny and funny plays on some old classics, each with a local twist and sensibility; “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Selectboard,” “Flatlander,” “Madame Bovine,” “How to Build Organs,” and more!  Local ARTist Scot Borofsky was also a big pART of the project, along with lending his signature pattern skills to adorn the mural, adding an even more spicy local flavor.  (Read the first installation of my interview series with Scot Here!)

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Memories of what it once was, and visions of what it soon will be!

But as people may expect some wrinkles, grey hair, and creaky joints in their older age, outdoor murals have a slew of fated maintenance issues that need to be tended to in order to lengthen the lifespan of some of our most favorite public ART.  This mural is like the wise old sage in any tribe of people, holding the memories and the secrets of its people and land safe for almost a decade.

Youth Services and Cribari started considering a face-lift for the Harmony Lot Mural about two years ago, but the imminent danger of the not-so-gradual landslide that was the Green Street retaining wall temporarily curtailed the project.  Now that construction has finished on Green Street (as you can see in these recent photos of the space), Youth Services is ready to move forward with rehabilitating the bookshelf mural, and they need YOUR help!

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An Empty Frame.

With some grant money coming in, and with the contribution of cement and paint secured, the re-envisioning is ready to happen, barring any unforeseen speed bumps along the way.  Taking a page from the same storybook, the updated mural will feature books, each adopted  by a local ARTist and painted in their own unique style, to represent the dynamic nature of the creative seeds that grow here in Brattleboro.

Cribari intends to resurface the Call to ARTists that was released last year in the Reformer, and hopefully get some coverage in other local news sources.  The public is welcome to spread the news about this exciting ARTprotunity to adopt a book and to make a real and lasting mark on Brattleboro.

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Contrast in Action- The new Green Street retaining wall towering above the crumbling Harmony Lot Mural.

For more information about how to get involved, you can get in touch with Youth Services at Info@youthservicesinc.org.

Don’t forget this is NOT only an opportunity for ARTists to make ART, but also a great way for everyone to get out and volunteer with a local project that connects you to your commUNITY.  Donors are also always welcome, and I’d suggest contacting Youth Services for a list of materials that they may still need in order to get the project moving.  This is a wonderful way to have a hand in creating the very spaces in which we live.

How freakin’ exciting is that?!

So keep your eyes peeled for some big changes to the mural in the Harmony Lot!  I’ll be sure to post updates about the project, with everything from dates, times, plans, process, and success!

Massive huge unbelievably large THANKS to Youth Services, Karen Cribari, Scot Borofsky, and every single other person who has been involved in this project!  You all inspire me!

Love, Angel

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