Arts & Culture Community

Public Art Mural Proposed for “The Flights” in “The Gassy”

Nathan Swain, famed North End artist, presented his plans for creating murals on the walls of “The Flights” in DeFilippo Playground (“The Gassy”) on Prince Street. The proposal was introduced at the January 10, 2013 meeting of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA).

NEWRA voted 28-1 to support the proposed murals. As shown below, the general concept is to replicate a stone wall similar to the granite on the other side of the park. The wall image will be slightly more “colorful” than the granite blocks with some vine or vegetation images added as well.

Swain is well-known in the neighborhood and throughout Boston for his large scale artistic presentations, including the windows on the Salem Street Powerhouse, the concrete walls in the St. Leonard’s Peace Garden and on the roll down doors of several businesses. More about Swain’s projects can be found at as well as his “Ugly Boston Made Beautiful” blog.

The “before” and proposed “after” images of the mural are shown in the images below. Click the images to enlarge them.

Watch the video above to hear the full presentation and discussion, including issues such as graffiti and potential beautification of the garage wall too.

5 Replies to “Public Art Mural Proposed for “The Flights” in “The Gassy”

  1. the brick wall in the Gassy should stay as it is. I do not think a mural would add anything to the playground, it may even encourage grafitti(sp). If there is money available for the DiFillipo playground, it can be put to better use. The Ruff group is looking for a spot that they can bring their dogs. there is a lot of space in this playground some of which can be fenced in for this purpose. The area in the front of the playground that was once grass and is now dirt and covered in dog pooh can be tared over or cemented making it easier to keep clean. Large cement planters can be used for flowers, These are just some suggestions if there is money to be spent on this park. I do not relish the thought of looking out my window and seeing a brick wall painted to look like a stone wall. Please leave the brick walls alone. If they need improvements I think pointing will do the trick.

  2. I think money would be better spent on routine maintenance and cleaning/pointing the brick. Brick walls are part of the vernacular of our north end neighborhood architecture and the city of Boston. The brick walls, especially with the new wall running up Snow Hill street are beautiful as is.

    It is true that art is HOPELESSLY subjective. The painted “rocks” contains a visual pun and like most puns, they seem old before it is even painted. Please do not approve this mural. The painted wall will look like a sandblasting project as soon as it is completed.

  3. I love the way people in the North End get all worked up over the smallest things. It’s a $4,000 piece of art that will look better than the current graffiti. I’ll take it.

    If you want to get worked up about something, down the block they are spending millions of dollars on a carousel for tourists. Imagine if that type of money went to the Gassy for the people that live here? Instead, we get half a wall and a few swings. Yippee.

  4. Aside from the visual content, the problem with Swain’s murals is that they are not painted – it is printed onto a fabric material and affixed to the wall. They fade quickly. It’s similar to printing an image onto a sheet, and hanging the sheet on the wall. It will get ripped down by the locally born and raised North End street urchin kids.

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