Let It Shine! A Celebration of Public Art: Self-Guided Mural Tour
The Pittsfield Let It Shine! Public Art Partnership celebrates eight new murals in Pittsfield! These murals are intended to beautify downtown and the West Side of Pittsfield by reflecting and celebrating the communities, history, environment, or future of Pittsfield. Learn more about the mural artists involved below!
Direct link to virtual walking tour of over 2 dozen murals in Pittsfield: https://pocketsights.com/tours/tour/Pittsfield-1-Mural-Tour-of-Pittsfield-MA-8699
Muralist: Silvia Lopez Chavez
The Let It Shine! Public Art Partnership welcomed Silvia Lopez Chavez to Pittsfield to paint an original mural entitled “Sisterhood” on the south-facing side of the Shipton Building at 146-156 North Street. This mural was funded by a MassDevelopment Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Creative Catalyst Grant.
Silvia Lopez Chavez is a Dominican-American artist whose community-centered murals form connections across disciplines and cultural boundaries. She uses joy as an act of resistance and celebration through her vibrant murals, and her work transforms urban spaces by honoring the identity of a place and its people. Silvia is a Neighborhood Salon Luminary at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and was awarded the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) Leadership in Public Art award (2021). Commissions include the U.S. Chinese Embassy in Beijing, Google HQ in California, SeaWalls Boston, MIT, Harvard University, Twitter, and Northeastern University. Artist residencies include Vermont Studio Center, Haystack, and MASS MoCA. As her career continues to expand internationally, she remains true to her vision: to make art with others and create beauty that also tells a truth. She is a proud alumna of Altos de Chavon School of Art & Design in the Dominican Republic and Massachusetts College of Art & Design.
About the Pittsfield Mural: “Sisterhood”
The imagery in Silvia’s mural on the Shipton Building takes inspiration from the spirit of visionary women coming together with joy to imagine and create a bright future for Pittsfield. The focal points are two figures embracing, covered in luscious, colorful textiles juxtaposed with geometric shapes and patterns in the background. The women are anchored in a cloud of bunting fan flags of various colors and patterns to visually connect to the building’s and downtown’s historical tradition of bunting decoration for events in the city throughout the year. The idea of rich textiles and the element of the paper plane gives a nod to the city’s history of paper and textile mills, as well as plane engineering and manufacturing. Overall, the mural hopes to uplift viewers with a message of welcome and inclusion, celebrating the beautiful diversity of Pittsfield’s community today.
Muralist: Cara Petricca
The Let It Shine! Public Art Partnership is thrilled to welcome Cara Petricca to paint an original mural on the north-facing side of 348 North Street (the alleyway facing St. Joseph’s Church). The mural is funded by a MassDevelopment Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Creative Catalyst Grant.
Cara Petricca is an American artist born in Pittsfield, MA whose work ranges from mural painting to ceramic sculpture to statement jewelry. Cara combines her skills in art with her passion for rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife, agricultural, and domestic animals at her sanctuary and studio location, Bluebird Farm in Cheshire, MA. Cara’s reverence and love for her subjects are thoughtfully communicated through vibrant color and texture. Her work can be found in collections both nationally and internationally.
“My art is a love letter to nature and an invitation to nurture benevolence and healing,” says Cara. “The theme of interconnection and empathy carries through all my work, whether it is a piece of statement jewelry, a sculpture, or a mural. My style is detailed and full of layers of color and texture inviting the viewer to come closer and explore.”
About the Pittsfield Mural: “Making Wishes”
Per the request of the property owner, Paul Aronofsky, an agricultural theme celebrating Paul’s love of pigs and roosters will be depicted in this mural. As the Owner/Director of Bluebird Farm Sanctuary and Wildlife Rehab in Cheshire, MA for over 15 years, Cara knew this particular theme suited her artistic style perfectly.
“Having rescued many pigs and roosters over the years, I knew that my special connection and knowledge of these animals would aid me in providing the building owner and the community a glimpse into their intelligence and beauty.”
The intimate mural on the 348 North Street building will depict the inner life and tranquility of a pig and rooster enjoying a moment under the sky with dandelion seeds sending wishes off into the Universe. With depth of color, texture, and whimsy the viewer is invited to make their own wish.
Muralist: Trinity Rivard
The Let It Shine! Public Art Partnership welcomed Trinity Rivard to Pittsfield to paint an original mural entitled “Young Legends” on The Howard Building at 41 Federal Street. The mural was funded by a MassDevelopment Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Creative Catalyst Grant.
Trinity Rivard began drawing at age 5 and dreamed of being an artist, but it wasn’t until high school that his love of art began to take shape under the direction of his art teachers and support of his family. One teacher commissioned him to create a cartoon, and another purchased a clay pot he made in class. This not only inspired him, but in retrospect, what might seem like a small act of kindness was a turning point in Trinity’s artistic journey.
Painting throughout college, Trinity continued to create art in hopes that each piece would connect with people in some way. Trinity has participated in numerous group and solo art exhibitions around the Tampa Bay area and has sold hundreds of works of art. His art can be found in private collections locally, nationally, and internationally.
Today, Trinity continues to work larger and larger, creating public and private murals. This allows him to step out of his studio space and into new, and sometimes challenging environments where he uses the unique surroundings as inspiration when creating.
About the Pittsfield Mural: “Young Legends”
“I have relatives all over New England (i.e. Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts) and visited my cousins in Massachusetts when I was much younger. When I found the call for art online, I was excited to have the opportunity to visit again and leave a mural behind. The “Young Legends” mural that I will be installing is a collaboration between myself, the Let It Shine! Partners, and Tony Jackson; our discussions provided me guidance and inspiration. We wanted to make a mural that reflects the city and its Westside – specifically focusing on the successes of the people within the entire community who represent Pittsfield. I will use my style of vivid color, thoughtful composition, and bold images to bring a unique work of art to North Street that the city can enjoy and take pride in for years to come.” ~Trinity Rivard
My creative process requires me to allow the idea to take me over. Therefore, I am not trying to control the art or idea, but instead let the art control me. People, places, and/or things inspire me, and I will begin creating a concept and refine that concept until it feels complete. A successful concept allows for creative flexibility; I always want to be present in the moment and allow the energy of my surroundings to contribute to the final product. Creating in public allows me to incorporate the vibes of the local community and visually communicate with large, diverse groups. I always want to make something that connects with people but also makes people question, wonder, or see something different each time.
The Let It Shine! Public Art Partnership welcomed qwynto to paint an original 50-foot by 18-foot mural on Carr Hardware at 547 North Street. The mural was funded by a MassDevelopment Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Creative Catalyst Grant.
qwynto is a professional illustrator and muralist with a love for telling stories through quirky color palettes and engaging characters. His clients have included names such as National Geographic, Meta, Discover Card, and Devolver Digital. His work can be seen on one-hundred-foot murals as well as in animations for the Discovery Channel. Having lived all over the United States and England, a lot of his inspiration comes from his travels.
qwynto is the professional name for artist Zach Kremer; a name he derived from “Quinton,” his middle name, and the desire to separate his personal identity from his art. qwynto was born in Massachusetts and attended the Massachusetts College of Art. His sister moved to the Berkshires six years ago and he has spent many summers here. He draws much of his inspiration from outdoor recreational activities, the beautiful scenery of the Berkshires, and people of all shapes, colors, and sizes.
“I’m a visual storyteller,” says qwynto. “Through my artistic style, I will tell the story of the area and its people through a silent comic format. Using my unique color palettes, I will display the broad range of people that populate Pittsfield.”
The Pittsfield Mural
Muralist: Ramiro Davaro-Comas
The Let It Shine! Public Art Partnership is thrilled to welcome Argentine/American artist, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, to paint an original mural entitled “Let the Autumn Shine” on the back of 26 Dunham Mall (facing City Hall). The mural is funded by the MassDevelopment Transformative Development Initiative (TDI)’s Cohort Project and the property owner, Scarafoni Associates.
Ramiro Davaro-Comas is an Argentine/American artist with a background in public art and artist residency management. His passions for painting, storytelling, and community work have pushed him to travel throughout his career, collaborating with artists around the world. Davaro-Comas studied Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, which was followed by a year of service in Holyoke for Americorps, all while continuing his pursuit of illustration and painting. In 2012 Ramiro was invited to participate in a collection of international and U.S. artist residency programs, bringing him to Berlin, Amsterdam, and Barcelona for 6 months, then back to the states for another 6 months in Upstate New York and Providence, RI. This pivotal year shifted his focus from the non-profit world to working full-time as an artist.
After moving to Brooklyn in 2013, he had two sold-out solo exhibitions at the Cotton Candy Machine Gallery, which set the groundwork for his career as an artist straddling the line between fine-art and illustration. He began producing limited edition art books in tandem with his exhibitions, always considering the multiple avenues for art collection. Throughout the past decade, Ramiro’s work as an illustrator has centered on a passion that precedes his love of art, collaborating primarily with independent skateboard companies for board and merchandise graphics. His work as a muralist has brought him to small towns and giant cities, aways with a desire to tell whimsical character-based stories that invite multiple interpretations.
In 2016, he launched Dripped on the Road, the only traveling artist residency program for muralists in the US. From 2016-2022, the program worked with over 30 artists, painting over 150 murals throughout the East Coast of the United States.
About the Pittsfield Mural: “Let the Autumn Shine”
The mural “Let the Autumn Shine” is part of a series of plant murals that Ramiro has been painting on a variety of different walls since October 2022. The plant design is bold, colorful, and meant to bring a vibrant touch of nature to the urban landscape.
Ramiro’s goal is to paint plants with surrealistic colors on locations and walls that might otherwise not see flora, with some large postcard-like words that reflect positive community projects, quotes, or ideas. Ramiro’s hope is that these murals add to the pride of the community and activate forgotten or underutilized spaces, while at the same time bringing the importance of plants and nature into the subconscious of the viewer.
Muralist: Pops Peterson
The Pittsfield Let It Shine! Public Art Partnership and the Westside Legends welcomed Pops Peterson back to Pittsfield to create 2 new murals for the Riverside Sitting Park at the corner of Columbus and Dewey Avenues. These new murals add to Pops’ monument-sized, “Walk with Her,” which has been a beloved landmark on College Way since it was mounted in 2021.
Pops Peterson is an artist and public speaker from the Berkshires who gained national recognition for his “Reinventing Rockwell” collection. This collection reimagines the iconic works of Norman Rockwell as if they were painted in modern times, with characters reflecting the diversity of today’s America. Peterson’s work envisions social change and expresses his desire for a positive, inclusive, and just world. His celebrated collection became the longest-running solo exhibition in the history of the Norman Rockwell Museum and is currently on view in the Massachusetts State House. Peterson’s first mural, “Walk with Her,” has become a treasured Pittsfield landmark on College Way, featuring the monumental character, “Rainbow Ruby” who inspires people to walk undeterred through adversity.
As a public speaker on arts and civil rights, Peterson has been featured in various events and institutions, including the Norman Rockwell Museum, The Munson Arts Museum, The New School, and numerous public schools. His multimedia lecture, “Portraits of Freedom,” explores the contributions of artists to civil rights advancement, and “The Making of a Protest Artist” surveys international protest art through history.
Peterson’s work has been featured in multiple publications, including The New York Times and The Boston Globe, and he has been featured in textbooks, on television, and in museums across America. He is eternally grateful to the City of Pittsfield for their love and support.
About the Pittsfield Murals: “Wings” & “Two Colors of Water”
This year, Pops is offering two new inspirational images to the Pittsfield landscape. “Wings” is an emotional declaration that wounds, when they heal, build strength of character. His vision of legs running through the clouds depicts the actual scars Peterson has carried since the age of 10, when he suffered 3rd degree burns playing with fire. The second, larger mural, “Two Colors of Water”, is inspired by Gordon Parks’ documentary photos of the Jim Crow South. It features two young boys at segregated water fountains, the white child helping his black friend reach the waterspout. Peterson intends to show that people are stronger together and hopes it will promote brotherly love in the community.
Muralist: Jasmine Sade
The Pittsfield Let It Shine! Public Art Partnership and the Westside Legends welcomed Jasmine Sade to paint a 5-foot by 5-foot panel mural entitled “Memory Lane” for the Riverside Sitting Park at the corner of Columbus and Dewey Avenues.
Working predominantly with paint on canvas, and also with fabric for clothing, Jamaican-American artist and clothing designer Jasmine Sade has been able to contribute her take on themes regarding nature, spirituality, Black culture and community through her on-going practice. Jasmine, a Springfield, Massachusetts native, draws inspiration from artists such as Henry Taylor, Chuck Close, and Dorothea Tanning applying it to her portraiture. She is most known for her expressive use of color and celebration of the human form. Jasmine is a Holyoke Community College and Fashion Institute of Technology alumna, obtaining degrees in both Fine Arts and Fashion Design. She completed mural training at Mural Arts in Philadelphia.
Jasmine uses traditional materials, acrylic on canvas, color, and light to capture the beauty and the story of nature, of everyday life moments, of her culture, and of the things that connect us to each other.
About the Pittsfield Mural: Memory Lane
“As a Western Massachusetts native, I wanted to capture the colors of what I consider to be our most beautiful season: Fall, with its crisp Autumn breeze, leaf-covered paths, and colorful trees.” ~Jasmine Sade
“Memory Lane” is a mural that offers a nostalgic dive into the intersection of happy moments shared by people who grew up on the West Side of Pittsfield, MA.
Muralist: Huckleberry Elling
Huckleberry (Huck) Elling is a multidisciplinary artist working in textiles, painting, and public art. Huck has spent her entire life observing patterns, and since childhood has been compelled to explore colors, shapes, and textures through artmaking. Because she was never classically trained, Huck considers herself a folk artist and appreciates using readily available materials and processes, tapping into a shared human experience.
For the first phase of her artistic career, Huck crocheted large, fantastical, wearable masks. (You may have seen them at MASS MoCA’s Kidspace or gift shop.) Today, Huckleberry continues to crochet and also paints on canvas. Regardless of the medium, she approaches most projects as a textile artist, layering rows of colors, as a meditation, always a little unsure what the project will look like until it is done.
About the Pittsfield Mural: Seven Stars for Renne Ave.
The City of Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development in partnership with Artscape and the owners of The Cooper Center commissioned Huckleberry (Huck) Elling to create a mural entitled Seven Stars for Renne Ave. on the east side (facing Renne Avenue) of The Cooper Center at 1 Fenn Street in Pittsfield. The mural was sponsored in part by Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.
Huck describes her mural, Seven Stars for Renne Ave., as a “brick quilt”, and the mural features seven stars in reds, oranges, and browns. “I am interested in folk traditions and patterns and their place in modern life,” says Huck. “This mural is inspired by the language and lineage of quilt patterns and ceramic tiles. The design and colors developed through conversations with the building owner, with particular interest in making a mural that felt integrated with the building and the block. This mural was a total joy to paint and I hope that joy radiates on Renne Ave.”