Monday, 31 December 2012

The Neighborhood Strikes Back: Community Murals by Youth in Boston's Communities of Color

an article by Tim Sieber (University of Massachusetts Boston) and Graça Índias Cordeiro and Lígia Ferro (ISCTE-Lisbon University Institute, Portugal) published in City & Society Volume 24 Issue 3 (December 2012)


Community murals in US inner city neighbourhoods offer popular, grass-roots representations of local identities and their relation to urban space and community culture.

They are powerful tools in building neighbourhood solidarity across ethnic groups, generations, and defended gang territories. Designed primarily for local consumption, murals circulate dramatic, alternative representations of local identity, heritage and history, contesting attributions of stigma and danger promulgated in mainstream media.

In Boston’s Dudley Street corridor that crosscuts its Roxbury and Dorchester neighbourhoods, both low-income communities of colour, these themes are evident in the presence of a vibrant series of community murals lining the one-mile-long street.

Designed and painted by local youth under the sponsorship of grass-roots community-based organisations, the murals give voice to urban youth’s hopes, struggles, and aspirations for their individual and collective futures, from their positions in disadvantaged, multi-ethnic neighbourhoods in a city sharply divided by race and class.

No comments: