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  Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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Young Painters Needed for Young At Arts "Lighthouses on Broadway"

     This summer the streets of South Boston will be awash with lighthouses … representing beacons of light to warn and guide local youth of the perils of today’s life.

           

     Well … not actual lighthouses … but paintings and other visual images by local youth on boards shaped like lighthouses. The boards will be 8 feet high and 2 feet wide and will be designed and executed by teen teams. Local youths will be matched with student members of the Artists for Humanities and the paintings will be made at their Epi-Center studios at A and Second streets under overall supervision of artists from the area.

     The project called “Young at Arts” began last year as a cooperative effort between Dan McCole and artists from the South Boston Arts Association and Mayra Rodriguez Howard of the South Boston Community Health Center. Artists from the South Boston Arts Association monitored and mentored participating youth of South Boston in writing, painting, photography and performance workshops during the spring and summer of 2005. The effort culminated in a very successful “Community Day” at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in November. The poetry writing workshops continue to meet bi-weekly at the South Boston Community Health Center along with the upcoming photography and painting workshops that will help to create the Lighthouses at Artists for Humanity Epicenter.

     The Lighthouse mural presentation is influenced by a project in LaGrange, Illinois as well as the current painted “Cows” program in Boston. The Illinois project used totem poles for their subject. The finished murals are now hanging on the walls of a walkway between two major commercial streets in LaGrange. 

     Funded initially by a grant to combat substance abuse, the “Lighthouses on Broadway” project will challenge the teens to create exciting visual displays to brighten up the sidewalks of South Boston for the summer. The goal is to have 60 painted lighthouses ready to be bracketed to light poles along West and East Broadway and Dorchester Street for exposition during July and August.

     The program has been greeted with great enthusiasm by many civic, social and business groups in South Boston as well as city, state and federal agencies.

     Susan Rodgerson, director of Artists for Humanities, signed on immediately and volunteered their EpiCenter studio space and student members to pair up with other youth from the community. She has inserted the program into their regular curricular.

     The Carpenters Union, Local 33, volunteered their apprentice program to cut the marine grade 3/4 “ plywood panels then sand, prime, drill hole for the brackets and deliver the panels to the EpiCenter, ready for South Boston youth to paint!

     The Ironworkers Union Local 7, will have their apprentice program design the brackets and strap them to the lightposts.

     Other groups who have embraced the project are: The South Boston Association of Non-Profits, South Boston Neighborhood House, South Boston Boys and Girls Club, the South Boston Chamber of Commerce, Fourth Presbyterian Church and many South Boston schools/ youth agencies.

     The project has been encouraged by the positive reception at meetings with: Congressman Stephen Lynch, State Senator Jack Hart, Representative Brian Wallace and representatives of Mayor Thomas Menino, City Council President Michael Flaherty and Councilman Jim Kelly.

     The exposition will begin with panels on West Broadway from Broadway Station to C Street. After two weeks the panels will be relocated to C to F streets. Then to Perkins Square and out Dorchester Street to Andrew Square. The relocations will finish up on East Broadway from I to L streets in time for the Chamber of Commerce’s East Broadway Sidewalk Festival.

     After the Sidewalk Festival the panels will be on display for a month at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center then will be placed on walls throughout South Boston as permanent murals.

     The City of Boston Public Works Department has offered advice for the placement of the panels and has promised continued cooperation through out the entire street art project.

Supplies and materials for the project are being funded by the grant. The organizers are seeking sponsorships to fund suitable prizes for the best panels and to set up a youth scholarship foundation for the arts.   

     For more information about the Young at Arts Lighthouses on Broadway street art project contact Mayra Rodriguez Howard @ 617-464-7423 or Linda Doran/Roberta Rogers @ 617-464-7463 or Dan McCole – South Boston Arts Association



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