Esplanade Association Brings Contemporary Art to the Charles River Esplanade

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Silvia López Chavez creates first commissioned mural for Boston’s historic Park

The Esplanade Association is delighted to be working with Now + There. Bringing creative, relevant public art to the park will offer new ways for people to connect with Boston’s iconic riverside green space, said Alexi Conine the nonprofit's Board Chair.

Boston artist Silvia López Chavez will soon begin work on “Patterned Behavior,” the Esplanade’s newest contemporary artwork. It is expected to take approximately three weeks to complete. Chavez’ colorful mural will reflect the daily cacophony of fast paced bicyclists, skaters, joggers, boat traffic, and the rhythm of traffic that pass daily along the Charles River Esplanade.

The Esplanade Association, an independent non-profit that works to revitalize and enhance the state park, commissioned the non-profit Now + There to curate and produce a mural for the Esplanade in an area located just west of the Massachusetts Avenue bridge. The mural will be visible from the path along the river as well as from Storrow Drive and Memorial Drive. The project will be privately funded through money raised by the Esplanade Association.

The concept for “Patterned Behavior” takes inspiration from The Esplanade’s immediate environment and the many ways this space is enjoyed day-to-day. Elements of the mural unfold as the viewer approaches the work from the east, starting with swaths of color on the pillars and growing in detail and vibrancy into a crescendo on the 120’x13’ wall facing the Charles River. Graphic elements such as a bike, arrows, paper airplanes and boats pack a visual punch and blend with playful designs to mimic the patterns created by our interaction with the space. 

Now + There Executive Director Kate Gilbert chose award winning Chavez for her sophisticated use of bright color harmonies and patterns, and her dedication to mentoring young women through collaborative public art works. “Patterned Behavior” is the second commission in Now + There’s Year of the Woman programming and is the first initiative in the Esplanade Association’s newly expanded arts program.

“The Esplanade Association is delighted to be working with Now + There. Our two groups share a vision for building community,” said Alexi Conine, Board Chair of the Esplanade Association. “Bringing creative, relevant public art to the park will offer new ways for people to connect with Boston’s iconic riverside green space. We are confident ‘Patterned Behavior’ will bring great enjoyment and beauty to the thousands who travel along the historic Charles River Esplanade.”

“The Esplanade Association presented Now + There with an exciting opportunity to transform an uninviting section of the park into a destination,” said Kate Gilbert. “We are proud to provide a local artist the creative freedom to reimagine a utilitarian concrete environment into one that will spark new connections.”

This project, which was approved by Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, community organizations and neighbors, will help transform the area of Bowker Overpass which connects the Charlesgate area to Storrow Drive. Over 100,000 commuters on Storrow Drive; thousands of bicyclists; hundreds of boaters and rowers, as well as many people on the Cambridge side of the River see this section of the Esplanade every day. In addition to enhancing the park experience, the Esplanade Association hopes this mural will help reduce graffiti.

“The Charles River Esplanade is a place where you can find beauty within an ordinary urban landscape,” said Silvia López Chavez. “It is my favorite part of the city where many people and activities intersect and connect in meaningful ways. That really speaks to me, since I am always striving to create art that builds connections. This mural is certainly a reflection of that.”

Esplanade Association is a privately funded nonprofit organization that works to revitalize and enhance the Charles River Esplanade, sustain the natural green space, and build community by providing educational, cultural, and recreational programs for everyone. Working in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Esplanade Association is dedicated to enhancing the experiences of the millions of visitors who enjoy Boston’s iconic riverside green space. (http://www.esplanadeassociation.org)

Now + There is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating temporary, site specific and impactful public art projects in Greater Boston. Its mission is to deliver thought-provoking, public art projects that advance new definitions of public art, acculturate Boston to the cultural, social and economic benefits of art, and help define Boston's essential public art identity (http://www.NowandThere.org)

Silvia López Chavez
With roots in the Dominican Republic, interdisciplinary artist Silvia López Chavez has based her studio and social art practice in the Boston area for over fifteen years. Chavez’ work is informed by her personal experiences as an immigrant, a woman of color, an educator, artist and designer. Her work investigates the basic human need to connect with one another on multiple levels: socially, politically and culturally. She explores the intellectual and emotional narratives of joy, struggle, acceptance, and assimilation that affect one’s daily life. Chavez is motivated by the power of the creative process as an agent for positive change. Her collaborative works with community partners include mural commissions, site-specific installations and pop-up interactions within Boston, Cambridge, Newton, Chelsea, Lynn, Salem, Beverly, Danvers, and Marblehead. Chavez has supported the artistic development of high-school female artists through her work with them on public art projects, and believes mentorship can help shape young women's lives. In addition to her fine art practice, she is an award-winning design professional, working with corporate and non-profit clients such as Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Boston Children’s Hospital; World Health Organization; World Bank; and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
(http://www.silvialopezchavez.com)

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