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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Common Wealth Murals will hold a ribbon cutting for its most recently completed mural, a collaboration with the Live Well Springfield Climate Justice Coalition, today, July 12, at 5:30 p.m. at 470 Chestnut St., Springfield.

The mural was painted by Betsy Casañas, a visual and public artist, educator, community activist, and organizer. Live Well Springfield has worked with Common Wealth Murals on this climate-justice mural that brings together activism and art. Communications funding from Trinity Health Of New England and Blues to Green supported the development and creation of this mural.

Casañas held several meetings with stakeholders and members of the community for the design of the mural, and was impacted by Springfield having the highest cases of asthma in the country. The mural is a reflection of Puerto Rican culture and depicts purifying the air and “empowering folks with small, attainable goals that can transform the environment for generations to come,” she explained.

Live Well Springfield comprises more than 30 community partners convened by the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts. The coalition’s primary initiatives are Climate Change Health and Equity, the Transforming Communities Initiative, Age and Dementia Friendly Cities, and the built environment.

Bomba de Aqui, a local dance group, will give a short performance at the start of the ribbon-cutting event. Bomba de Aqui is directed by Brendalíz Cepeda, also the lead dancer. Cepeda is the granddaughter of bomba performer Rafael Cepeda and learned the art and its history in her family.

Since 2019, Common Wealth Murals (CWM) has facilitated the creation of 39 murals in Springfield and six in other Massachusetts towns. Of the 45 murals already created, 25 were done using a community-engaged process that involved several thousand people in the design and painting of the murals. CWM has also produced Springfield’s graffiti jams; window, bike-kiosk, and sidewalk-chalk installations; and other temporary public art installations.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Cultural Partnership, Springfield Pride Parade, and Common Wealth Murals are teaming up to install Pride crosswalks in downtown Springfield on Sunday, July 9, with a rain date of Sunday, Aug. 6.

The crosswalk will be installed at the four-way intersection at Main Street, Court Square, and Bruce Landon Way by the entrance to the MassMutual Center and the William C. Sullivan Regional Visitors Center. Roadways being painted will be closed to vehicular traffic that day. Road closures include Main Street between Pynchon Street and State Street and Court Street between Market Street and City Hall Place.

“I truly believe the city has this really new energy, and the city of Springfield is actually becoming very innovative,” said Taurean Bethea, founder and CEO of Springfield PRIDE Parade. “It’s just going to make the city look good, and it’s going to make people of the LGBTQ+ community just feel supported and feel as if they are seen. And that is one of our greatest missions as an organization.”

The final rendering was created by designer and illustrator Chris Seabrooks with input from the partner organizations, and will be professionally installed by Common Wealth Murals muralists, Springfield Pride Parade members, and the Springfield Cultural Partnership (SCP). The Springfield Business Improvement District has supported both the crosswalk design and logistical aspects of preparing for the installation. SCP is the project’s planning partner and sponsor.

“We are grateful to the Springfield City Council for their unanimous decision made on June 13, 2022 to approve our plans to install permanent Pride crosswalks on Main Street,” said Karen Finn, SCP executive director. “Springfield Cultural Partnership partners, city leadership, and civic-minded organizations are working together with incredibly talented and enthusiastic local creatives and culture bearers, allowing for more community-centered art to make its way into this great city.”