Bigger and better in 2023
In 2022, Beyond Walls joined forces with Holyoke City Hall, El Corazón de Holyoke, and Nueva Esperanza Inc. for an inspiring collaboration that resulted in nine breathtaking murals across the city of Holyoke. These murals were brought to life by some of the world’s most celebrated artists, infusing the urban landscape with color, creativity, and powerful storytelling. In June 2023, Beyond Walls returned to Holyoke to continue its mission of activating space to strengthen communities through large-scale public art.
The new series of artwork pays homage to the vibrant cultural diversity that defines the City of Holyoke. It is a celebration of its rich history as a post-industrial gateway city that has evolved into a thriving hub of global culture. The artwork serves as a source of pride for the local residents, a testament to their shared history, and a representation of the city’s vibrant present and promising future. In this endeavor, Beyond Walls is collaborating closely with El Corazón de Holyoke, a cultural placekeeping initiative that stands as a symbol of the city’s heart and soul. Together, we aim to showcase and celebrate the heritage and modern identities that shape the lively City of Holyoke.
We want to here from you!!
—Support our Mission—
Our vision to install powerful large-scale murals needs your support! Every part of these funds will go towards the artist fees, paint/materials, aerial lifts, insurance and more to make this dream possible. Whether it is $25 or $25,000, your donation will be instrumental. For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
All funds donated here are tax deductible and will be restricted for the installations of murals in Holyoke, MA. Beyond Walls is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity. Our tax ID number is 83-0573018.
—2022 murals: before + aFTER—
What's going on in 2023:
Public art can add a powerful value in driving the economic vitality of a community through community engagement, and increasement of tourism and support of local businesses. By continuing the establishment of Holyoke’s artistic and cultural identity through Puerto Rican and Latinx mural installations, our proposed project will support emerging businesses from artists, to storefronts, to developers as they all play a major role in the public art design, installation and community vitality. One of the main goals of El Corazón/Heart of Holyoke project is to encourage economic opportunities and generate positive momentum through specific streetscape and neighborhood improvements. Through our years of experience in organizing public art at Beyond Walls, we know installing large-scale representative murals will spur new conversations about community, generate excitement and drive an influx of new visitors to local businesses.
The goal of the mural installations is to assist the City of Holyoke and the community in a revitalization effort that celebrates the cultural and social identities that define the city. This work will build upon past work done in partnership with El Corazón /Heart of Holyoke, a cultural placekeeping project celebrating the Puerto Rican Cultural District of Holyoke. In prior years, that work was focused on commissioning public art works, including banners, large-scale art works, dynamic lighting, murals, food trucks, and art festivals on Main Street, to reflect the vital culture of the area. Although the project has achieved notable achievements in their efforts to make Holyoke a vibrant art center, they had not yet installed public murals of large-scale – until June 2022. The installation of large scale murals in conjunction with the Noche de San Juan festival drives participation in the festival, supporting the local economy and adding to the initiative’s overall success.
Beyond Walls has found that murals can have a ripple effect on a community, continuing to positively affect economic development years after the installation. Large-scale murals will drive foot traffic to the area, making the downtown area more vibrant and improving the perception of Holyoke. As noted above, we plan to leverage Beyond Walls experience in public relations and social media, generating extensive positive media coverage regionally.
Beyond Walls Holyoke began as a collaboration between Beyond Walls and Nueva Esperanza, Inc. Nueva Esperanza, Inc. was originally founded in 1982 by the residents of many landlord-neglected apartment buildings in South Holyoke, one of four neighborhoods in what was once the industrial heart of the city. The founders mobilized residents, collaboratively assisted by three other social organizations, and on their behalf secured the needed financing to rehabilitate the properties in order to provide safe and affordable housing. With great success, the organization incorporated as a community development corporation (CDC) and expanded its mission to include social and community services for all the neighborhood residents. Today, Nueva Esperanza, Inc. is regarded as a pioneer for community-based programs in Holyoke that celebrate and highlight the Puerto Rican/Afro Caribbean Culture. Our local coalition of community partners includes members of the Office of Economic Development, local building and business owners, Holyoke residents and regional artists, who have united to help share the street art installations this summer.