Michelle Sayles and Jen Berger
Based on interviews, surveys, and community conversations with residents in Decker Towers, Wharf Lane, and Bobbin Mill Apartments, and in other low-income housing in the South End, artists Michelle Sayles and Jen Berger synthesized the ideas that came out in the conversations and translated them into visual imagery. The images on the mural highlight the four main areas that came up in conversations:
- Preserving existing green space/creating outdoor community space by the waterfront and in the southern part of the Pine St. area, which is depicted in the panel to the left in the mural.
- Creating opportunities to further enjoy the lakefront and view, including rooftop garden and gathering areas. Utilizing existing paved spaces for additional parking needs/Park & Ride. These two parts of the conversation are shown in the panel depicting multi-tiered buildings (on the far right).
- The need for a community gathering was expressed overwhelmingly in all of the conversations. This space would offer opportunities for activities and gatherings in the resident’s neighborhood, rather than needing to travel to other areas in the city. The community center encourages a more-walkable community and offers a multi-generational meeting space. The imagery in the middle panel shares some of the details from these conversations.
- Transportation and safety; creating safe sidewalks, bike lanes, and accessible walking/wheelchair transportation.
This mural is both a visionary piece, based on the hopes and dreams of residents of the South End, as well as a creative art making opportunity that address concerns and issues raised by the same residents. This mural also serves as an opportunity to include the voices of low-income residents in the planning process of the neighborhood they live in, and seek to build a future in.