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.