Boston Government Center Reopens With New Public Art
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Politics and Activism

Boston Government Center Reopens With New Public Art

After two years of construction the station is in use again

Boston Government Center Reopens With New Public Art

After almost two years of anticipation, the Government Center MBTA station re-opened the other week. The station services the Blue and Green lines, and is about a five minute walk from the Financial District. The new Government Center mural is located on the outside of the renovated subway station was created by the Boston Mayor's selected Mural Crew (MMC). The MMC is headed by Heidi Schork and she operates with the idea, "when you do art in public it changes the space, it kind of changes everybody's attitude about a place, and that is significant to me, particularly in City Hall Plaza. The mural is painted entirely from acrylic paint.

There was a lot of thought put into what the actual design of the new mural would be. After much deliberation, it was decided that Rock Doves, also known as pidgeons, would appear on the piece because pidgeons are a very frequent sighting for most around the city. According to Heidi Schork, who was in charge of the Mayor's Mural Crew, "pidgeons are the natural inhabitants of the city environment, and a part of the city-nature of things we need to take care of."

The MBTA began tearing down Government Center station in the summer of 2014. Officials tried to return the old murals that were originally a part of the station to the artist. These murals were a part of the station since the 1970's and consisted of 19 different panels all painted by Mary Beams. It proved difficult to find Beams, because some time ago she retired from the art world, but after a social media campaign she was located. Beams refused to take back her artwork, stating to the New York Times, "These murals are so Boston."

So instead it was decided to hold a public auction in the fall of 2015, in order to keep the murals as close to Boston as possible. This has also helped create more publicity for the new mural, because it is becoming a part of a historic landmark in a way. Each of the old murals that were auctioned off went to places that aren't too far from Boston. These locations include: the South Shore, Hull, Cambridge, New Hampshire and Dartmouth College.

Mary Beams came up with the idea for the murals during the summer of 1977 when she rode the Green Line almost every day while working as a guest lecturer at Harvard University. Beams initially stenciled the designs onto each individual panel and then used Benjamin Moore paint to fill them in. The art piece was originally supposed to be temporary, but lasted for almost forty years. The project was funded by the city of Boston.

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