Letter: Include public murals in downtown project

Include public murals in downtown project

To the editor:

I was surprised after reading the front page article May 15 in The Berkshire Eagle that there was no mention of downtown Pittsfield's public mural program. ("Nonprofit releases 5-year plan for city.")

During the years that I was Pittsfield's commissioner of cultural affairs, I oversaw the creation of 10 public murals painted by world-class master muralist, Daniel Galvez, from Oakland, Calif., who came to Pittsfield and together with scores of local artists changed our community into the envy of communities all over the Northeast. Since 2005 these many murals have fallen into disrepair because of the lack of municipal upkeep. But now they can be fully restored using improved techniques if the community can be convinced to do so. They should then be fully protected from the harmful rays of the sun by coating each of them with ultraviolet sealants.

After the murals are fully restored and protected, new public murals depicting everyday life and the history of our community can be created on additional walls throughout the city, like the huge wall under Victory Hill and in neighborhoods throughout the West Side or on walls in downtown alleyways such as those between the Beacon Cinema and the Central Block or in the Elm Street and Tyler Street business districts.

Communities all across America such as Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Thousand Palms, Dublin and Oakland have all created public murals that have increased their visual quality of life while eliminating signs of graffiti and cutting down the element of crime in their communities.

Anyone who lived here knows that public murals changed Pittsfield between 1985 and 2005 and public murals should be included as a part of the new plan to make Pittsfield more attractive and safer in the many years to come.

Daniel M. O'Connell, Pittsfield The writer was the city of Pittsfield's commissioner of cultural affairs, 1984-2005.


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