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West Side's new mural swaps 'eyesore' for inspiration

West Side's new mural swaps 'eyesore' for inspiration

PITTSFIELD — The third artist brought it home.

A project to beautify a West Side corner with a mural — and to honor the people of this neighborhood — hit a snag early on, one of its proponents recalled Friday, as he and others celebrated the project.

“The first artist got pneumonia or COVID. The second broke his leg and wasn’t going to be able to do it,” said Dubois Thomas, neighborhood revitalization director for Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity.

But finally, the nonprofit found Hope Aguilera, a local artist and former art teacher at Pittsfield High School. She created a work called “I Wish ... for a Greener Future” that fills the side of a commercial building at the corner of Columbus and Robbins avenues.

“I love it,” Thomas said. “I was always optimistic that Hope was going to produce something beautiful and it got more and more beautiful every day.” He said more murals are to be expected in the future.

Aguilera’s mural shows a young boy who lives nearby, Quincy Jones, blowing on a dandelion in front of a backdrop of gardens and mountains. There is a car on the left corner, the requirement of the B&P Auto Body Supply Store, located in the building.

Dubois said Friday he believes the mural takes an important step toward the revitalization of the area. “It brightens up the neighborhood,” he said. “This wall has always been a little bit of an eyesore. And so now it flips it on its head and it’s almost a destination.”

Maria Menaca, a community navigator at Habitat who moved from Colombia, said the mural embodies what she likes most about living in Pittsfield. “It’s beautiful, it’s green.”

Allison Egan, of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, came to the mural’s official debut Friday and was in awe at the result.

“I think it’s beautiful. It embodies a vision for the West Side. It’s just stunning coming up the hill to Columbus,” she said, as her toddler, Margot, pointed at the mural’s depiction of butterflies.

“I honestly never even noticed this big wall before the mural was there. And now it’s kind of like a bright spot when you come up,” Egan said.

Aina de Lapparent Alvarez can be reached at aalvarez@berkshireeagle.com.

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