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'Youth Lead the Change: Rise Up from Your Roots' by Mel Mandel

We commissioned artist Mel Mandel to create an exterior mural at Franklin Field in Dorchester.

The mural was installed in June 2022.

Project Details

Project Context

The City of Boston commissioned Mel Mandel 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 total budget for this project was $50,000. The mural is located at Franklin Field (158 Stratton Street) in Dorchester. On this project, Mel collaborated with the:

Transformative Public Art Program

The Site

Franklin Field is a Boston Housing Authority (BHA) community. It offers a variety of living arrangements for low- and moderate-income individuals and families. Built in 1954, Franklin Field has 345 units ranging from one- to five-bedroom units. 

Franklin Field is located just off of Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester. The complex is near a park, a teen center, the Lee Elementary School, and the Franklin Park Zoo. The Sportsmens Tennis Club and Robert George White Youth Center are adjacent to the site. 

The Artwork

Mel worked with the BHA community and youth leaders from Youth Lead the Change throughout the mural design process. The youth and community asked for a celebratory, hopeful, inspiring, colorful, and beautiful mural that represents their diverse community. The mural features a colorful Baobab tree, a native African tree commonly known as "the tree of life". That tree is surrounded by a community of trees that feature words selected by the youth and the Franklin Field community. These words are the words that came to mind for the youth when thinking about diversity and what a good community is and could be when functioning at its greatest. The Baobab tree is covered in a blanket of flags that represent:

  • the diversity of the community, and
  • its makeup as a large immigrant population from various countries around the world.

The flags are woven together with their colors combining and flowing down the trunk and its roots. This further illustrates the coming together in the formation of a beautiful community. The roots are surrounded by intricate layers of grass that tie the mural into the grassy lawn leading up to the mural wall. 

Mel Mandel mural
"Rise Up From Your Roots: Youth Lead the Change" mural by Mel Mandel
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