International Journal of Art & Design Education

Ecological Mural as Community Reconnection

Volume 30.2   2011



Murals are particularly visually captivating forms of public art due to their size and accessibility. Mural images also capture public attention and provoke viewers to explore layers of meaning and find hidden stories. They are often in places that people come to visit, study, play, congregate and discuss matters that may relate to the content of the mural. To this end, murals can be effective tools for helping communities think about their environmental issues. This article discusses the Mystic River mural project in Somerville, Massachusetts, USA. It addresses how the local art councils, mural artists, local students, community members and non-profit organisations collaborated to carry out this ongoing mural project. The purpose of this research is to examine how Mystic River eco-murals were created, what challenges and benefits the eco-murals provided, how local social concerns were represented through the eco-murals, how eco-murals can continue to promote environmental awareness and inspire youth about their community and the local environment, and how the mural can continue to reflect or affect the meaning of the place. This process can serve as an example for other communities that seek to address their environmental concerns through public art.