Gavin Newsom, who knows a fair amount about city life as a former mayor of San Francisco, California, once noted, “(T)he arts can play a vital role in revitalizing neighborhoods, using and improving vacant space, bringing new jobs and new sense of opportunity, and improving public safety by generating more foot traffic and more eyes on the street.”
I was thinking about all of that, if not actually about Gavin, Sunday morning when our daughter, Michelle, and I walked from our house near the Norwich Free Academy across town to have a look for ourselves at the Greeneville Mural Project that started a week today over near the Eighth Street Bridge.
The project is a cooperative effort of The Greeneville Neighborhood Revitalization Zone Committee and Murals by Faith to revitalize and refurbish (and dare I say reinvigorate? I most certainly can) an oft-traveled gateway into the historic mill village of Greeneville along the exterior walls of Quercia Auto Repair at 499 North Main Street, at the intersection of North Main and Eighth streets.
Faith Satterfield of Murals by Faith is getting to be a go-to person for municipal murals and large scale works of art around Norwich. We passed one of her earlier works on the side wall of Mak’s Food at 240 Boswell Avenue and it always makes me smile when I see it while waiting at the four-way stop. But she was well-practiced by the time her paint and brushes got there.
She made quite a splash, maybe not the ideal term in connection with paint, this time three years ago with a round-the-clock 840 square foot mural on the side of what was then the Spirit of Broadway Theatre downtown on Chestnut Street whose evolution from a blank and bare brick wall to an idyllic garden scene with a watering can and a blooming rose was shared in real-time and real-life via a live stream video feed by The Bulletin.
In Greeneville, community projects are a year-round event. It is after all the home of an annual fire hydrant painting contest, among other events and a quick review of the Strategic Plan for the Revitalization of Greeneville adopted by the Norwich City Council in February 2001 makes it clear “(t)here is much interest in improving the quality of life and ensuring the continued vitality of the neighborhood as a place to live and work.” In other words: Posers need not apply.
The mural will be painted every Thursday and Friday until it’s completed. And you can lend a brush by signing up at www.GreenevilleMural.com/volunteer. And while the mural is a labor of love which is free, paint, supplies and everything else costs money.
There’s already generous support from many local businesses, with some funding from “Norwich Creates,” an activity of the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition. And we can help out too, by visiting their Go Fund Me page at “Greenville Mural Project.” When else can you be a patron of the arts and a community supporter?