Murals For All: The People’s MFA

By Rory Lambert-Wright

February 24, 2021


One thing I miss about mingling in indoor public spaces without serious risk of contracting a severe respiratory illness is browsing art museums. If you enjoy visual art or learning about its history, the concentration of so many creative endeavors in a single space makes for a wonderful visiting experience. The quality and value of art is far from objective, however. The most prominent museums are very wealthy institutions run by people with highly influential or specialized backgrounds. As a consequence, the art displayed is necessarily limited by its proximity to these influential institutions and people.


I offer a solution to those who want to see some artwork that is A) created by people perhaps closer to you in social sphere and location and B) viewable without running the risk of contracting Covid-19! A two-in-one deal here, folks, and it is absolutely free: view some of the spectacular street art and outdoor art pieces right here in Boston. The following projects, from murals to some smaller pieces are concentrated in the Roxbury-Dorchester area.


1. “Home”, by Rixy (insta: @Rixyfz OR rxyfz.com)


photo credit: @asperitas_photography

Rixy’s Home is a large-scale mural right off of Field’s corner. It is a bright and fluorescent piece meant to represent the diverse community that shares Dorchester- and many of those community members were encouraged to sign their names on the piece alongside the artist, reinforcing the message.


2. Mattapan community fridge design, by Tori DelValle (insta: @thirteen.vic)


photo credit: @asperitas_photography

Community fridges are not a new phenomenon, but they have been flourishing since the beginning of the pandemic. These fridges are maintained and supplied by volunteers for anyone who wants or needs food free of charge. Some volunteers contribute with their artistic abilities as well. Tori DelValle contributed in this way to the Mattapan community fridge off at 1290 Blue Hill Avenue. It is a lovely piece aesthetically, and part of a greater mission too. Most if not all of the Boston community fridges incorporate art as well, so be sure to visit them too!


3. Unnamed, by YN_Prop (insta: @artbyprop)



This small piece is a shoulder-high wall at the corner of Cobden and Washington street Dorchester, decked out in art on both sides (food for thought: do walls call their artistic paint jobs “drip”?). It mixes several elements of graffiti with a soft landscape. It is pleasing to the eye as jazz is pleasing to the ear.


4. “El Barrio commision”, by Mar (Insta: @mardeuno OR Aoasupply.com)


This piece commissioned by the “El Barrio Mexican Grill on Dorchester Avenue which emulates the intricate structure of the Mayan calendar. The first rendition was removed for renovation, but the current mural, which is nearing completion, is one of several pieces Mar has done in the area, including the relatively recent “Black Lives Matter” installation which dominates Washington Street at Nubian Square. He collaborated on the El Barrio piece with another local artist, Super Sobak.

5. “Breathe Life”, by Rob Gibbs (insta: @problak OR problak.com)


photo credit: @asperitas_photography

A personal favorite of mine, this impressive mural can be found in the courtyard of the Roxbury Technical Vocational school off of Malcom X Boulevard- visit outside school hours, if you please. Gibbs is a founder of the Artists for Humanity Nonprofit, and is a member of the MFA’s Community Mural initiative. Raised in Boston during an era when graffiti and street art were often mischaracterized as vandalism, Gibb’s Breathe Life serves to dignify an often scorned medium, and more importantly, serve as a product of the people of Roxbury.

—Rory Lambert-Wright

asperitasphotography.com