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Artists for Humanity creates mural on Boston Community Pediatrics building

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Artists for Humanity creates mural on Boston Community Pediatrics building
The AFH teen artists pose with their mural, “Facing the Future” on Albany Street. PHOTO: COURTESY OF ARTIST FOR HUMANITY

A new mural has bloomed on the walls of 527 Albany Street, thanks to a collaboration between Artists for Humanity and Boston Community Pediatrics. The teen artists at AFH painted a series of bright, bold, masked portraits called “Facing the Future” to represent the pandemic experience and the importance of masking and social distancing to keep the community safe.

“Facing the Future” was created in partnership with National Grid, the City of Boston Department of Youth Engagement & Employment SuccessLink’s Peer 2 Peer Youth Campaign and AFH’s Community Arts Initiative. Photographs of AFH teens and staff members were used as references for the portraits, making the piece particularly personal to its creators.

“We wanted to create something that gave positive vibes during dark times, showing that we are adaptable and resilient,” says Jameel Radcliffe, artist and painting mentor. “Though this may be a strange time in history, there’s no reason why we can’t be happy. Colors are still bright during a pandemic.”

The mural-painting process operated a little differently than usual for AFH artists, due to COVID-19 safety standards. Every artist was given a specific task to work on to maintain organization and social distancing. The process began with blocking the design in large areas on the wall, then the figures were outlined, and finally the details of each face came to life in paint.

These safety precautions further underscored why the mural was needed, noted teen artist Gloria Fadel El Said.

Boston Community Pediatrics is the state’s first nonprofit pediatric private practice. Supporting the local community is at the core of its mission. “From its inception, Boston Community Pediatrics has recognized the importance of representation and ensuring that our patients see themselves reflected in every aspect of our practice, including our art,” says Dr. Robyn Riseberg, founder of Boston Community Pediatrics.

“Our partnership with AFH has given us the opportunity to have our walls (inside and out!) decorated with beautiful art, created by teens from the surrounding community, many of whom come from a similar background as our patients,” she added. Because of the health organization’s focus on children and young adults, a partnership with AFH was a natural fit. The very population that’s being served gets to design the artwork adorning the building.