Thursday, April 16, 2009
Painting the Town
A year or so ago a fire ripped through downtown Cambridge, destroying a couple of storefronts and damaging several businesses. Cambridge was shocked. The downtown was humble, but part of a large historic district. Imagine the shock when first seeing the destruction.
The buildings were propped up and individuals in the community came forward to beg that the facades of the damaged buildings be restored. The buildings were shaky, a million tons of water is hard on brick and mortar. The facades were propped up and the storefronts covered with chip board. We just had to make the best of it for the next few years until restoration efforts could be funded. In this economy! Quite a task indeed.
Luckily, one of the artists in the Wednesday Morning Artists saw a way to take the pain out of the event and carry the downtown into a new and better future. She mobilized the community and by the end of summer the chipboard used to keep people out of the damaged buildings had been turned into a block-long mosaic! Nearly all of the materials were donated, hundreds of people stopped by to stick one - or a hundred- pieces of glass, tile, or broken dishes on the mosaic. People spent eons grouting and polishing.
The result is both interesting and beautiful, and while the art project is still somewhat hidden by the props that keep the facades standing, you can walk under the arcade for nearly a block to see what a community can do when disaster strikes. Plans are afoot to place the mosaic once the materials are no longer necessary to protect the void in our downtown.
This summer we hope to do another mural on another wall so Cambridge can show our community pride again. If you get the opportunity, do visit. If not, keep on the sunny side! Terry