These three murals within three blocks of each other build on local history and also have histories of their own, revealed as I lately took time to look at them and look online about them. A great resource was Lisa Houck’s documenting of the processes and people involved in restoring her mural on her blog and website. I hope now that the other murals noted here can get similar support to regain clarity, color, and impact.
Lisa Houck’s “The Bluefish is Good Tonight,” restored in 2015
“Commissioned by the Cambridge Arts Council in 1987, artist “Lisa Houck painted the outdoor mural The Bluefish is Good Tonight and it was installed at 237 Hampshire Street in Cambridge. Bluefish was a celebration of Inman Square: jazz music, seafood restaurants, and creativity from nearby artists’ studios. Although the best paint available was used at the time, the colors severely faded after two decades. With the Cambridge Arts Public Art Conservation Program, and in collaboration with the Cambridge Health Alliance, Lisa Houck and assistants repainted the mural to its original vibrant colors.”(quoted from Cambridge Government Arts Calendar listing June 2015)
Josh Winer’s S&S Restaurant Mural, created 1991
“On the large side wall of the restaurant, Winer has created a grand arch shape modeled after the entrance to the Inman Square Theater, which once stood next door. In the painted window, the artist has depicted three generations of proprietors and waitresses…” ( quote from listing in Cambridge Public Art Tour)
Ellery Eddy’s Engine Company No. 5, created 1976
“In 1976 a young artist named Ellery Eddy responded to a Call to Artists put out by the Cambridge Arts Council for a competition involving local artists in the cultural enrichment of their communities. Eddy was awarded the commission to execute a large mural on the exposed west wall of the Inman Square Firehouse. The result is a three times life-size portrait of all members of Engine Company No. 5 in firefighting gear, along with the company dalmatian, posed around one of their pump trucks. Also included in the scene are two volunteer firemen straight out of history. Benjamin Franklin, who founded the first volunteer fire department in the country, stands on the running board in a pair of red sneakers. George Washington, who resided in Cambridge during the Siege of Boston, is holding a couple of pails.. .” ( quote from listing in Cambridge Public Art Tour Map)
Links to Key Resources
Cambridge Public Art Tour Map, Mid Cambridge
Lisa Houck artist website, murals
Lisa Houck WordPress blog: Art as it Happens: Going Swimmingly
Joshua Winer website, architectural murals
And just in case you don’t know why the S & S has that name, as I did not, see The Cambridge Historical Society: Culinary Culture
Wouldn’t murals painted all over Boston City Hall liven up the building!