Fresh Paint Springfield Weekend Events Include Block Party, Mural Ribbon Cuttings, Bus Tours
SPRINGFIELD — The Fresh Paint Springfield mural festival has been transforming 10 large exterior walls into art in Mason Square and downtown throughout the week, culminating in weekend events to celebrate the new art in the city. A block party will be held on Saturday, June 12 from 3 to 7 p.m. outside Mason Square Library, 765 State St., with food, music, and a paint party, along with mural bus tours at 3:30 and 5 p.m.
During the Saturday block party, ribbon cuttings will take place for two Mason Square murals: at 4 p.m. at the Heritage mural, 727 State St. — originally the oldest mural in Springfield, painted in 1967 by local artists Don and Paul Blanton — which has been repainted during Fresh Paint 2021; and at 4:45 p.m. at the Wall of Fame mural, 827 State St., which features portraits of 13 pioneering men and women, past and present, from Mason Square in Springfield, painted by several Western Mass. portrait artists.
State Rep. Bud Williams, Springfield Cultural Council President Andrew Cade, and a member of the Springfield City Council will attend and offer remarks at the ribbon cuttings, along with Nelson Stevens, who was a lead artist and organizer of 37 murals that were painted in Springfield in the 1970s and an early member of AfriCOBRA, an African-American artists’ collective formed in Chicago in the 1960s.
On Saturday, there will also be mural bus tours on a double-decker Peter Pan bus, leaving from the Mason Square Library, 765 State St., at 3:30 and 5 p.m. The tour will visit all the new murals that were painted during Fresh Paint 2021, along with the murals that were painted during Fresh Paint 2019. Tours will also be held on Sunday, June 13 at noon and 1:30 p.m.
This year’s festival involved members of the community in the design and painting of all 10 murals, which has resulted in opportunities for more than 1,000 Springfield residents to actively participate in the beautification of the city. Also new to the festival this year is the community mural apprentice program, which paired 10 local artists with established muralists to learn how to independently engage with the community in designing and painting large, professional murals.