Global street artists showcasing Holyoke history through Beyond Walls mural tour

Street artists from around the world are turning brick canvases into murals that capture Holyoke’s diverse communities and rich history.
Published: Jun. 24, 2023 at 6:17 PM EDT

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – For the second year, Beyond Walls is putting together a team of artists to paint more than 10 murals across Holyoke which showcase the history and culture of the community.

Street artists from around the world are turning brick canvases into murals that capture Holyoke’s diverse communities and rich history.

“The family, the vibe, the food, the culture – it’s just super dope,” artist GoFive told Western Mass News.

“I was actually really excited about Holyoke because it actually really reflects the neighborhood I grew up in, in the South end in lower Roxbury, very Puerto Rican heavy,” added artist Takeone. “I almost want to walk around and see whose backyard I can get into for a pig roast.”

The Paper City is the first of four stops on the Beyond Walls mural tour. Each artist is responsible for capturing the soul of the city with every spray of a can or stroke of a brush.

“The origins of Holyoke, what was here before, the creation of volleyball, the first trademark – everything that I can encompass, I’m going to put it in the form of a gorilla, in the form of freestyle,” said artist Ruben Uribe.

“It’s going to be impacting the certain individuals that are willing to look at it and to start interpreting what they see,” artist CASE Maclaim added.

The artists also got the chance to talk to locals and get their reactions to these impactful paintings.

“It’s also really exciting to be here,” said artist Betsy Casanas. “It’s summertime, so there’s not really any students, but the people that are coming out and interacting with the work are really excited by it, and I really appreciate that interaction with the work.”

With each interaction, the artists found an even greater meaning behind their murals.

“Beyond Walls’ mission is to activate spaces to strengthen communities,” Beyond Walls Executive Director and founder Al Wilson told us. “That always requires being informed by the public, so for us to do this work, we need residents, the business community, and elected officials and department heads to be at the table together.”

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