Viva Fall River is bringing new life to blank walls. Three new murals are in progress.

Dan Medeiros

The Herald News

FALL RIVER — The city is getting a lot more colorful, and Viva Fall River couldn’t be happier.

The nonprofit community organization is sponsoring the painting of three large murals in and around downtown Fall River, and on Friday invited the community to a “View and Chew” — a chance to see local and international artists do their work and grab a treat from some food trucks.

On Pocasset Street, the former Herald News building was being splashed at street level with vibrant colors and patterns by local artist Greg Pennisten. Three stories up, where the newspaper’s logo once greeted visitors coming from Somerset across the Braga Bridge, Portuguese artist Diogo Machado, aka Add Fuel, had covered it up; he stood in a boom lift, painting that wall with a pattern resembling Portuguese tiles.

Viva Fall River Executive Director Patti Rego said the muralists are creating art that broadcasts the city’s culture. “They do it in a way that preserves the tradition in the neighborhood but it tries to bring some life to the neighborhood and involve the community,” she said.

A mural on the rear of the Doran Community School facing Broadway Extension depicts a student, on July 22, 2022. It is being created by Kevin Ledo of Montreal.

Viva Fall River is working with the Fall River Arts and Culture Coalition and nonprofit organization Beyond Walls to install the murals. FRACC is a collaborative, member-based organization dedicated to advancing arts and culture in the city to create a vibrant, inclusive and sustainable creative economy.

Beyond Walls Vice President Philip Fagan said the muralists work on tight schedules and tighter budgets — the artists will have two weeks to complete their works.

“Our mission is to activate space to strengthen communities,” Fagan said.

Artist Greg Penniston is lifted in a skyjack to work on his mural outside the Potter's Printing building on Pocasset Street in Fall River, on July 22, 2022.
Artist Greg Penniston is lifted in a skyjack to work on his mural outside the Potter’s Printing building on Pocasset Street in Fall River, on July 22, 2022.

 

‘Keeping with the character of the city’

The old Herald News building is now owned and occupied by Potter’s Printing, a family-owned custom print shop that puts designs on everything from socks to shot glasses. Their building itself is now being decorated in lively fashion.

Penniston, originally from Swansea, stood in a scissor lift painting the exterior of a building that once held the paper’s printing press. From his spray cans emerged polka dots, flowers, swirls of color.

Artist Greg Pennison works on his mural outside the Potter's Printing building on Pocasset Street in Fall River, on July 22, 2022.

What’s in a name?:We’re not the only Fall River out there. Let’s take a trip to 5 others

“Visually it’s based off of old blockprint patterns from fabric produced in a mill that used to be right down the street,” Penniston said, referencing the American Printing Co., which flourished in the 19th and early 20th centuries just south on Anawan Street. “Blockprint patterns from the early 1900s — just kind of taking those and recycling them, making them much larger, in keeping with the character of the city and things that were produced here.”

“It’s really beautiful. It lifts an area that really is kind of blah and makes it a little different,” said state Rep. Alan Silvia, on hand to watch the masters at work. “The tile one is Portuguese tiles, which is popular everywhere — in the hallways and houses of Portugal, those tiles are everywhere. But now it sort of brings the culture here.”

A mural of a Doran Community School student takes shape on the rear of the building, on July 22, 2022. It is being created by artist Kevin Ledo of Montreal.
A mural of a Doran Community School student takes shape on the rear of the building, on July 22, 2022. It is being created by artist Kevin Ledo of Montreal.

Cultural exchange with Colombia

A short distance away, on the rear side of the Doran Community School, facing Broadway Extension, artist Kevin Ledo of Montreal and a crew was painting another mural, with patches of striking, vibrant color and the image of a young girl’s face smiling, overlooking the area.

Fagan said the girl pictured is a Doran student, and the mural is part of project involving the nonprofit groups the One Blue Sky Project and aptART.

“That’s a cultural exchange between the kids there and the kids in Tierra Bomba, Colombia, which is next to Cartagena,” Rego said.

Where the Herald News logo once lived on the side of this building on Pocasset Street in Fall River, Portuguese artist Diogo Machado, aka Add Fuel, is creating a mural of Portuguese tiles, on July 22, 2022.
Where the Herald News logo once lived on the side of this building on Pocasset Street in Fall River, Portuguese artist Diogo Machado, aka Add Fuel, is creating a mural of Portuguese tiles, on July 22, 2022.

“They’ll actually have interactions over Zoom where they’ll talk about their culture, their history, sports they like to play, food they like to eat,” Fagan said, “and then the artist there creates a mural based on those interactions.”

The murals are being funded through grants and donations to an ongoing crowdfunding campaign — in return, Rego said, the city is getting more vibrant spaces, with beautiful public artwork that claims those spaces. View and Chew was a way to bring people up close to the art as it’s being made.

“These events are for the community, and we want them to celebrate and to see how cool this is and see it being done,” Rego said.

A mural of a Doran Community School student takes shape on the rear of the building, on July 22, 2022. It is being created by artist Kevin Ledo of Montreal.
A mural of a Doran Community School student takes shape on the rear of the building, on July 22, 2022. It is being created by artist Kevin Ledo of Montreal.

U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss was one of those community members who turned out for the event. “Public art is one of the highest-impact public investments that you can make for place-making,” he said. “Doing it in places of public accommodation like rail stations, but also in areas that you’re trying to make more walkable … and also helping local artists and makers.”

Rego noted that the with Viva Fall River mural just east of Government Center and the new Portuguese tile mural west of it, drivers passing through on Interstate 195 will get a colorful glimpse of Fall River’s public art on their way through, coming or going. And she said there are plans in the works for more murals next year.

“We’re never known for our artwork in Fall River, but now they’re bringing that in,” Silvia said. “It changes what some people would think of Fall River. … It changes that perception and makes a big difference.”

To donate to the crowdfunding campaign, visit https://www.mightycause.com/story/Vivamurals.

Dan Medeiros can be reached at dmedeiros@heraldnews.com. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.

By Beyond Walls
July 25th, 2022

Related Blog

Eye on Art: Street Art Tour 2022 in Lowell on next leg of journey

Eye on Art: Street Art Tour 2022 in Lowell on next leg of journey

By NANCYE TUTTLE | PUBLISHED: August 10, 2022 at 3:53 p.m. | UPDATED: August 10, 2022 at 3:53 p.m. Lowell is the latest Massachusetts city to showcase the Beyond Walls’ Street Art Tour 2022. The venture, which includes the creation of more than 20 large-scale murals over a four-month period, will arrive in Lowell on Sunday, Aug. 14, followed by […]

Read
Beyond Walls expands work to tree additional Mass. cities

Beyond Walls expands work to tree additional Mass. cities

Erika Tarantal    Anchor/Reporter WATCH VIDEO FALL RIVER, Mass. — The entire side of the buildings in Fall River has been used as painting canvases. Several new murals were recently put up meant to catch the eye, start conversations, and draw visitors. One of the mural artists responsible is Greg Pennisten who grew up on the […]

Read
‘View and Chew’ food truck events to ring in Fall River’s new murals

‘View and Chew’ food truck events to ring in Fall River’s new murals

Herald News staff FALL RIVER — It’ll be a colorful and fun-filled July in Fall River. The Fall River Arts and Culture Coalition and Viva Fall River invite the community to participate in free events celebrating Viva Murals. This effort will see the completion of three new murals in the city by the end of […]

Read
Free Community Events in July Celebrate Creation of 3 New Murals in Fall River

Free Community Events in July Celebrate Creation of 3 New Murals in Fall River

July 7, 2022 By mikesilvia   Get ready for a colorful and fun-filled July in Fall River! The Fall River Arts & Culture Coalition (FRACC) and Viva Fall River invite the community to participate in 4 free events celebrating Viva Murals. This effort will see the completion of 3 new murals in the City by […]

Read
Three of twenty large scale Massachusetts murals coming to Fall River in the coming days

Three of twenty large scale Massachusetts murals coming to Fall River in the coming days

July 6, 2022 By Ken Paiva   Beyond Walls mural in Holyoke (Photo courtesy of Beyond Walls) LYNN, MA—Beyond Walls, a non-profit that uses civic engagement and education through public art, today announced a partnership connecting its Street Art Tour 2022 and Fall River-based organizations. This venture, which includes the creation of 20 large-scale murals […]

Read

Several new artworks coming to Holyoke streets

HAMPDEN COUNTY by: Alanna Flood Posted: Jun 29, 2022 / 04:51 PM EDT Updated: Jun 29, 2022 / 06:49 PM EDT HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Colorful art installations are popping up all throughout Holyoke. If you have not been to downtown Holyoke in a while, these art installations are a great reason to get out and explore. The […]

Read
Beyond Walls 2022 Street Art Tour Launches in Holyoke in Partnership With Nueva Esperanza, Inc.

Beyond Walls 2022 Street Art Tour Launches in Holyoke in Partnership With Nueva Esperanza, Inc.

 Beginning June 18, Six Large-Scale Installations Created by Renowned Artists Will Celebrate the City’s Rich History, Diversity, & Culture  WHAT: Beyond Walls, one of the leading proponents of civic engagement and education through public art, in partnership with Nueva Esperanza, Inc. a community development and social services agency and pioneer in locally based programming, will […]

Read
Beyond Walls Launches Street Art Tour 2022 in June with 20 Murals Across Four Massachusetts Cities

Beyond Walls Launches Street Art Tour 2022 in June with 20 Murals Across Four Massachusetts Cities

Large-Scale Public Art Will Celebrate Rich Histories, Diversity & Vibrant Cultures in Holyoke, Fall River, Lowell & Lynn LYNN, MA—Beyond Walls, one of the leading proponents of civic engagement and education through public art, today announced the launch of Street Art Tour 2022 with “stops” in four of the Commonwealth’s gateway communities. This venture, which […]

Read
Finding Hope on Lynn Walls

Finding Hope on Lynn Walls

PHOTO CREDIT: Artist Evoca1 descends from the roof of a building on Union Street in Lynn after working on his mural for “Truth be Told…” Photo by Spenser R. Hasak BY GUTHRIE SCRIMGEOUR| October 21, 2020 “Truth be Told…” a new public art installation from Beyond Walls, aims to capture the experiences of Lynn children […]

Read
Beyond Walls: Payette Lights Up Lynn with Pro Bono Display

Beyond Walls: Payette Lights Up Lynn with Pro Bono Display

Photo Credit: Beyond Walls image by Warren Jagger Photography BY ERIC BALDWIN | January 01, 2020 Architecture and design studio Payette designed an underpass lighting project for Lynn, Massachusetts. Lynn is one of 26 Gateway Cities in Massachusetts, urban centers that anchor regional economies and are facing social and economic challenges. The project brightens and activates with dynamic, […]

Read