One of the more promising graffiti artists in the City, who is also aligned with some of the best graffiti artists from the past, has been chosen to paint the next edition of the Peters Park Graffiti Wall, according to Mayor Martin Walsh.
Walsh announced Tuesday that artist Genaro ‘Gio’ Ortega has been selected to create a mural at Peters Park in the South End following an open call for artists through a Request for Proposal. Ortega will work with a selection of Boston youth to paint the mural in May 2017, a piece of the RFP that was critical to those selecting the artist.
The Peters Park Art Wall was proclaimed a legal graffiti wall in 1986 in an effort to decrease vandalism in the South End. The Boston Art Commission, in partnership with The African Latino Alliance (ALA) Collective, City Lights, Washington Gateway Main Street, Friends of Peters Park, and Old Dover Neighborhood Association will continue the tradition of curating and programming the Art Wall. This allows for the enrichment of the neighborhood as well as the preservation and celebration of the South End’s diverse cultural history.
“The Peters Park Art Wall is culturally significant to our city, particularly for our residents in the South End,” said Mayor Walsh. “We look forward to continuing the tradition of allowing Boston’s youth the opportunity for creative and cultural expression in Peters Park.”
Genaro Ortega is a Boston-based visual arts specialist who has taught painting and drawing for more than 20 years. Currently, Ortega is a painting mentor at South Boston’s Artists for Humanity as well as the Mural Curator for Madison Park High School. Ortega’s proposed mural pays homage to current equality movements. Ortega graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a Bachelors in Fine Arts in Art and Design with a focus in Illustration.
“The Peters Park Art Wall will once again bring the community together to celebrate and preserve a history of culturally relevant art,” said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. “Peters Park mural has been gracing the community with art for many years and we look forward to seeing what Genaro will create.”
“The South End neighborhood has long been defined by the creative energy of our community,” said Kristin Phelan, Board President, Washington Gateway Main Street. “The synergy that has formed around this project between the Mayor’s Office, South End organizations, artists from the original ALA Collective, residents, and creative enthusiasts is inspiring. Clearly, there is power in collaboration, and we look forward to this being the first of many projects to come.”
The Peters Park Graffiti Art Wall Project surfaces at a critical time when safe, creative spaces and programs for urban youth are fast-disappearing and being defunded. With one week left for their crowdfunding campaign, local graffiti artists , Marka27 (Victor Quinonez) and Problak (Robert Gibbs), along with South End community organizations seek more support to reach a $12,000 fundraising goal for materials, supplies, artist fees, and stipends for youth who will participate in re-painting the Peters Park Graffiti Art Wall with a new mural by Ortega.
“[This] is how we were talking to each other, how we communicated,” said Gibbs/Problak in a previous article. “That’s the most important thing. We weren’t holding rallies or having conferences… this wall was our stage and it gave everybody the ability to see what was going on in the minds of young people who lived in the area and how we were reflecting what we wanted to say.”
The Peters Park Graffiti Art Wall is the only wall in Boston that has served to be a voice for the voiceless– an outlet for social commentary in the form of imagery that unify, inspire, and uplift the community.
Donations can be made at: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/peters-park-art-wall-project/x/16017361.
The group will hold a fundraising event called ‘Get Tapped’ on Tuesday, March 28, at Banyan Bar + Refuge 553 Tremont St.
Learn more and find additional information about community involvement with the Peters Park Graffiti Mural at www.petersparkart.com.