The design for Boston artist Paul Goodnight and Larry Pierce’s temporary, printed mural “No Strings Detached” began with Goodnight’s row of animated musicians playing violin, stand-up bass and banjo.
“The universal appeal, obviously, was music, and I used string instruments to emphasize a certain kind of music,” Goodnight told Boston.com. “And the banjo itself was a cultural part. There were a couple of cultural parts, but the banjo itself, which is the centerpiece, came from Africa and of course it has been modified over the years.”
Painting separately in their own studios, Pierce came up with the hip-hop, classical and contemporary dancers haloed by circles. The images were combined digitally by technical designer Robert Murrell and printed as two large panels on fine mesh.
The project is mounted on a 13 by 60-foot wall on the side of Breeze’s Laundromat at 345 Blue Hill Avenue in Boston’s Grove Hall neighborhood through Sept. 10. It’s part of “Mentoring Murals,” a pilot project from Boston independent public art curators Now + There in collaboration with Greater Grove Hall Main Streets and support from Breeze’s Laundromat.
Now + There writes: “To amplify the Black mural movement’s past and present in Roxbury and Dorchester, the project builds on the importance of mentorship in maintaining a vibrant Black arts community by inviting artists to team up with a younger artist to create side-by-side works of art on a visible wall in the neighborhood.”
On Thursday, Aug. 19th, from 6 to 7 p.m., Now + There will host a live, in-person edition of “N+T Asks” outside Breezes Laundromat “to explore how art, business and social equity intersect.” The panel will include “No Strings Detached” artists Paul Goodnight, Larry Pierce, and Robert Murrell Jr., plus Karen Bunch of Greater Grove Hall Main Streets, local business owners and community members.
Greater Grove Hall Main Streets Executive Director Ed Gaskin recalls that when he came to Grove Hall the city’s public art listing recorded only one artwork in the neighborhood. “Learning of the relationship between public art and economic development, and the challenges artists of color have in getting the opportunity to display their work, we set out to change that,” he said in the press release. “Murals were one way to bring more public art to the community, but they are expensive, permanent, and limited to muralists.” This project, he says, means “art infrastructure will be in place for us to display the best established and emerging artists from a range of styles, at a much lower cost.”
Ekua Holmes of the Roxbury Sunflower Project and London Parker-McWhorter are designing the next printed mural, to be on view from Sept. 15 to Nov. 10. Sx artworks will be presented as part of the program through February 2022.
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