Over the summer of 2012, nine Vernon Street Studio artists designed and painted panels to replace the old and weatherbeaten ones (see history of the original panels below). The artists—Heather Balchunas, Michelle Carter, Nicole Duennebier, David Fallon, Andrew Fish, Jen Fuchel, Tova Speter, Gee Wong, and Dorothy Zarren— were selected to showcase the great diversity and high quality of work produced within the building and to help identify the building as an "art space" to passersby who may not be aware of what takes place inside our walls. We hope the new panels will brighten and inspire the community for many years to come.
This project was funded with support from Rogers Foam Corporation, and the Somerville Arts Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
We will be having a formal Mural Dedication Event on Sunday, December 2 at 11:30am to publicly celebrate the new artwork. All are invited to attend.
History of the Building : A whimsical visual combination of a desk, factory building, and Nerf balls.
Brackish Landscape in Red and Blue : Exaggerated study of the invasive species Botrylloides violaceus. Now common in coastal waters of North America and other waters around the world, likely being spread by shipping industries. nicoleduennebier.com
Plight of the Painter : This piece is whimsical. It depicts the state of an artist, biding their time, making art and engaged in the process of creativity. Hovering above their easel is a vulture... waiting. But the artist paints a majestic eagle soaring, as if the model present is such a bird.
Attempt at Reconciling a Dialectic : An image depicting the lost and longing of childhood in the context of an aging world.
HONK! : Whether it's listening to jazz in the studio or painting legendary jazz and blues musicians, music is a common theme throughout Heather's work. This panel features images from HONKfest. The festival is so vibrant and lively, encompassing the feel of Somerville. Now HONK's spirit and music has a companion piece for an art-loving community to enjoy for years to come.
Look Up : A young boy looks up at the artist building... I like the idea of the viewer’s eyes being drawn up to the building and the artist studios within it.
Untitled : I selected this image from a recent series of colored pencil drawings on graph paper, in which colors are carefully chosen and arranged to create optical mixtures and pulsing effects. I want elements of this piece to relate to the building itself, hence the geometric framework and the inclusion of brick-like shapes and colors.
I Love Tuna Fish : Approaching humor with issues of the environment and sea life. davidefallon.com
Hidden Vibrancy : This panel is inspired by the natural beauty inherent in wood grain that is often hidden or overlooked. Likewise, the talents and beauty of Vernon Street artists may not be readily apparent from the outer façade of this building, The range of blues act as a vibrant contrast to the brick surroundings just as Vernon Street artists energize the building by filling it with their creative spirit. tovaspeter.com
Click an image to start the slideshow
The dedication ceremony on December 2, 2012
There are a few seconds missing at 1min05sec due to the camera turning itself off; sorry about that.
History of the original art panels
Artist Karen Audette coordinated the original art panel project on the building in the early 1990s as a way to encourage neighborhood kids to make and display art. She worked with fellow artist Stephen Coren as part of ther evitalization of Hoyt Sullivan Park and started doing art in the park with neighborhood kids as a way to engage them with the park and their community.
Though they are no longer on display due to weather effects over time, the previous panels gave a group of kids an opportunity to tap into their creative stream, and to promote a sense of accomplishment and pride in their community. The original images are pictured here to preserve their visual history.