The Boston Art Commission (BAC) on April 14 approved local artists GoFive and TakeOne as a joint team to lead the mural painting at English High School proposed by the Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts.
Alison Croney Moses, Associate Director at the Eliot School, told the BAC that the ask was to approve the two artists as part of the Artist in Residence program, which “works hand in hand with the TeenBridge program,” she said.
The TeenBridge program is comprised of students in grades eight through twelve who work on Saturdays during the school year and weekdays during the summer on collaborating with each other and teaching artists to engage in discussion and art creation.
Each year, a Boston-based artist is selected “that engages across Eliot School’s programs,” Croney Moses said.
After explaining a little more about the process by which these artists get chosen, Croney Moses spoke about the 2022 Artists in Residence, GoFive and TakeOne, who will be tasked with working with the teens and the greater English High School and Jamaica Plain community to create a mural at English High School. The teens will gather feedback before deciding along with the artists what the mural should be.
The mural project is titled “Spaces of Belonging,” and the prospective site is the “brick wall right by the track,” she said, which can be viewed by the general public as the track is open for public use. “This is the site GoFive and TakeOne will work with the teams to install a mural on,” she said, adding that one of the existing alcoves is the specific location where the painting will be.
Though that is the primary location, there is another potential site for a mural at the entrance to the school.
L’Merchie Frazier, who was a previous Artist in Residence with the TeenBridge program, spoke about her support for these artists and this project.
“…I am very confident that the Eliot School can engage the students at English High as well as the larger community around the school in having their artists that they support do this project,” Frazier said. “…They have been artists who have been very responsive to communities where artists are being displaced and they work in tandem with the students in ways that are really remarkable.”
English High School principal Caitlin Murphy also expressed her support, saying that the school has a “fabulous partnership with the Eliot School.”
She added, “our building is in need of some beautification. Any opportunities for our students to engage in public art and seeing art as both something that’s a personal creative expression but also can be a way to advocate…really aligns well with our school goals.”
Not many comments were made by the BAC on this, though Chair Mark Pasnik said that the team should “be careful about painting over concrete,” as it “can cause long-term damage to paint it.” He suggested a non-concrete site, though the area in question might already be painted over anyway.
In the end, the BAC approved the selection of GoFive and TakeOne as the artists for this mural project, and will continue to be in touch with the Eliot School as this project progresses.