"Patterned Behavior", a destination for Boston and a career booster

 There was a lot of dancing on the work site.

There was a lot of dancing on the work site.

A year ago Silvia López Chavez and I were dancing on the side of the Charles River as she and her team of all-female mural crew finished Patterned Behavior. Without exception, every hour that I visited her progress last summer, I would hear a “thank you” or “looks great” from bikers, joggers and passers-by who appreciated the facelift Silvia’s patterning and color were giving the dark, constricted pathway. It was an area of the city I never spent any time at, just whizzed by as a fast as possible on a bike.

Silvia, who’d I’d known for years as a talented large-format painter and graphic designer working out of Chelsea, MA, was the perfect artist to take on the challenge of transforming the side of an intrusive auto ramp that took away all but a two-lane path of the Esplanade into a vibrant expression of today’s Boston. (If you don’t know about the destructive history of the Bowker Overpass on the Emerald Necklace and Esplanade and what’s being done to mitigate it 40 years later, check out the Charlesgate Alliance)

 The main wall of the mural on the Bowker Overpass before work began. Photo by Dominic Chavez.

The main wall of the mural on the Bowker Overpass before work began. Photo by Dominic Chavez.

Silvia delivered! Patterned Behavior has become a destination on the Esplanade and we’re thrilled that it will be extended another year.

 The completed mural wall. Photo credit: Above Summit

The completed mural wall. Photo credit: Above Summit

This project encapsulates all that Now + There is doing to build a public art city. We’re curating artists like Silvia López Chavez, partnering with ambitious organizations like the Esplanade Association, and delivering vibrant public art in highly visible areas. Together, we’re building passion and demand for more public art, all of which is evident in the extension of this temporary mural.

What has been most surprising to me is the positive impact our collective work has had on Silvia’s career. Thanks in part to the visibility of Patterned Behavior, Silvia has been commissioned to create eight original murals since completing work on the Esplanade in September 2017, most recently at Northeastern University and at The Barr Foundation.

Building a public art city means investing in artists and engendering a positive cycle in which artistic risk-taking produces more art for all, and makes Boston a place where artists can thrive.

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Kate Gilbert, N+T’s Executive Director, is proud to watch Silvia’s career soar and equally self-congratulatory when she, a novice runner, trudges along the bike path and finally makes it to Patterned Behavior.