Artists Eyevan Richiez (left) and Roberto Chao (right) in front of the mural "Afro-Latin Music and Dance".
The City of Boston awarded a grant to artist Roberto Chao to create this mural as part of the third round of the Transformative Public Art Program. The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture allocated more than $1 million toward murals at 10 sites across nine neighborhoods as part of the program. The mural is located at Mozart Park in Jamaica Plain.
Roberto Chao created a mural in collaboration with youth on the east wall of the park in 2008. Since its creation, the wall has degraded and the mural could not be restored. Roberto has been collaborating with Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF) on this project. In November 2019, HSTF youth activists proposed the idea of a new mural with the theme of "Afro-Latin Music and Dance" while visiting Mozart Park. In the summer of 2021, more than 50 youth engaged in brainstorming elements of the design. The youth and community members celebrated Latinx Heritage Month this past summer by prepping and priming the wall. 15 participants including artists, youth, and volunteers, worked under the direction of Roberto Chao to design the mural. Dozens of residents attended a series of community engagement meetings to offer their input on the design.
The mural was painted on 8x4 foot PVC panels to make a 163-foot-long mural. The mural consists of 32 panels attached to wooden frames. The mural design includes depictions of Africa, the United States, and the Caribbean islands. It features imagery including:
- local and international icons such as Fela Kuti, Jamaica Plain's Fabiola Mendez, and Bob Marley
- ancestral musical instruments
- symbols of Afro-Latin history and culture
- dancers, and