Mural Sparks History to Life
While it might be considered dangerous to get into a discussion concerning the quality and relative merits of a particular piece of art, when it comes to the new mural taking shape at the former Skyplex building off Stearns Square in downtown Springfield, we’ll make an exception.
This is an intriguing and masterful work (and it’s not even done yet) that celebrates the city, its history, its personalities, its landmarks … all of that.
But it does more than that. It activates a space, and it gets people talking. Overall, it takes a nondescript wall on an underutilized building and turns it into a conversation piece and part of a larger effort to bring more vibrancy to that part, and other parts, of Springfield.
It’s a small piece, but an important piece nonetheless.
If there’s anything to complain about with the mural, it’s that there’s too much going on. The entire wall is covered, and with many, if not most, of the ‘characters,’ one needs to ask, ‘who’s that?’ and ‘why is that person on this wall?’
That’s true of Abraham Lincoln and Muhammed Ali (you know who they are), but also Ted Shawn, the dancer and choreographer who created Jacob’s Pillow in Becket (and lived in Springfield for a time), and also June Foray, a Springfield native who became the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, among other notable characters. You might not know who they are.
That’s the beauty of this mural. People get to take in something creative and learn about a city and its history at the same time.
It takes quite some time to take in the entirety of this mural, and another one like it just around the corner on Worthington Street, one that recreates advertising images put on the wall of a former camera store more than 50 years ago. But it’s worth taking the time, because these works tell a story, and they really do link the past, present, and future.
And at the same time, they bring new life to buildings, and an area, that needed a spark.
It is said that art can be captivating, powerful, and, yes, inspirational. This mural is a good example of how it can be all that and more.