Patterned Behavior was intended to enliven a concrete-heavy portion of the park and reduce graffiti vandalism.
The vibrant and playful design is enjoyed by the thousands of people who utilize this section of the Esplanade every day, including commuters on Storrow Drive, bicyclists, boaters, rowers, runners, and pedestrians. The mural debuted to critical acclaim, both for its cheerful appearance and for the majority female crew responsible for its creation.
“Bright aquas, yellows and oranges make a strong contrast to the solemn grays and subdued browns… And they bring a fresh look to this dark section of the bike path, often riddled with graffiti,” wrote Alexa Vasquez in WBUR’s the ARTery.
As part of a larger series-Now + There’s Year of the Woman campaign-Patterned Behavior was named to Best of 2017: Our Top 20 Exhibitions Across the United States by popular art forum Hyperallergic.
“We are delighted that this vibrant piece of contemporary art can remain on the Esplanade for another year,” said Michael Nichols, executive director of the Esplanade Association. “Patterned Behavior is a highly visible representation of the Esplanade Association’s commitment to introduce new audiences to the Charles River Esplanade through engaging public art and musical performances throughout the three-mile stretch of riverside green space.”
Although the response to the mural from neighbors and park visitors has been overwhelmingly positive, the permit for the piece was set to expire in summer 2018. Had a permit not been granted by MassDOT, the area of Bowker Overpass which connects the Charlesgate area to Storrow Drive would be been reverted back to a gray, graffiti-ridden wall. Now, Patterned Behavior will be on view until July 18, 2019.
Patterned Behavior ties into the Esplanade Association’s broader efforts to increase arts and cultural programming in the park. In 2018, with funding from The Boston Foundation, the Esplanade Association launched GroundBeat: the Esplanade’s Free Riverfront Music Series to showcase art- and music- producing organizations throughout the region in a variety of thoughtful, flexible venues along the Esplanade. Next up in the series, Celebrity Series of Boston will produce Jazz Along the Charles: A Walkable Concert on Sunday, Sept. 23, from 2 to 4 p.m., featuring 25 jazz ensembles in 25 locations throughout a two-mile loop of the Esplanade.
For more information on the Esplanade Association’s arts and culture offerings, including more about Patterned Behavior, visit esplanadeassociation.org.