During the 22 years I lived in Somerville, Massachusetts, I discovered many grassroots environmental groups right outside my front door. We had a second-floor apartment in a triple-decker, not far from the Mystic River. I didn’t visit the river very often because there are busy highways next to it. For years, I’d drive on one of those highways, Mystic Avenue, to get to work, and I became quite fond of a beautiful mural adjacent to it. I began to take walks down to the river so that I could look at the art more carefully. I noticed that the mural grew each year as newly painted panels were added, and I often wondered who was painting them. My curiosity led me to discover the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), where I eventually found out more about the mural. But, first, I began to work with MyRWA as a graphic designer.
Earth Day Project
For MyRWA, I designed several newsletters, brochures, and postcards, and met many great people who were working tirelessly to clean up the watershed and promote environmental stewardship. One project involved creating a poster and T-shirts for the Tufts University’s Earth Day celebration. Meeting with the students and collaborating with them on this project was energizing and fun. Our theme was “We Are All Connected.” We decided to incorporate animals, birds, fish, and vegetation common to the watershed: green frog, blue heron, Alewife fish, and cattails. We also included a human being to show that we are all, indeed, connected. I completed two versions of the drawing: one in colored pencil for the poster, and one in black ink for the T-shirt.
Painting the Mural
Coincidentally, during a conversation one day, a staff member at MyRWA told me about the artist who facilitates the Mural Project on Mystic Avenue, David Fichter. David is a professional muralist and environmental educator who works with teens each summer to paint new panels for the mural. I wanted to meet the person who had helped to create this work of art in my own neighborhood, so I contacted David and asked if I could help in some way. He graciously invited me to paint with them, and I was honored to be included in this community experience. By the time I joined them, they had progressed at least midway. I didn’t know a thing about acrylic paints, but learned as we went along. The teens’ enthusiasm was infectious as we painted, chatted, and sang together. The portion of the mural that I painted is just a small area of leaves, but I can look at it now with pride and warm memories of that summer.
Somerville Arts Council — http://www.somervilleartscouncil.org/mysticmural
Mystic Mural Images — http://mysticriver.org/watershed-photos/mystic-mural-by-david-fichter/
Reproductions of We Are All Connected
The original drawing “We Are All Connected” was bought by a friend a few years ago. But, there are reproductions of the artwork available on several items:
- Notecards — purchase directly from me on my website shop .
- T-shirts, Sweatshirts, Aprons, Bags, Mugs, Journals, and even Yoga Mats! — purchase on my Cafepress shop .
Happy Earth Day!