The Punto Urban Art Museum http://puntourbanartmuseum.org/ brings art to the streets of Salem. MA so folks can enjoy it as they live their daily lives and I am thrilled to be a part of it! Kate Fox of Destination Salem says, “The Punto Urban Art Museum brings something totally different to downtown Salem. The experience of walking through the open air ‘gallery’ to experience the large scale installations is a fun, unique, and colorful addition to the rich fabric of Salem.” The Museum is a project of the North Shore Community Coalition Info@northshorecdc.org and is located in the El Punto neighborhood and features over 75 large scale murals by 30 world renowned and 25 local artists within a 3 block radius. The website says the art aims to create neighborhood pride and increase economic opportunity for local businesses. VIEWThe ArtMEETThe Artists
I was honored to be chosen to be part of the very first Punto Urban Art Museum back in 2017 as one of the local artists creating 8′ x 8′ murals on Peabody Street. And I was thrilled to be picked to do it again this year! We have a couple of weeks in which to finish the work, and half the fun is chatting with the other artists painting nearby, being amazed at the gigantic bridling-sized murals done by muralists from all over the world as they work from power lifts, and interacting with the many residents as they walk down the street.
This year the theme is “The American Dream” and each mural shows a different artist’s take on the idea. As a retired public school teacher, I was inspired to use our free public education system as my starting point. My mural shows multi-hued books (in all the colors of the flags of our families’ old countries) flying from the darkness of ignorance to the light of freedom and knowledge. In the lower corner two books labeled Truth and Facts sleep. I was referring to the habit of some Americans lately to accept lies and unfounded nonsense as fact without ever researching for themselves. Perched on top of the pile, and beginning to wake up, is a book labeled Curiosity. That book is looking with fascination at the soaring books: Math, Languages, Culture, Geography, Literature, Science, Art, Music and History as they fly to the light of freedom, encircled by the words, The American Dream. In the lower corner is the phrase, “Education Gives Us Wings”.
I hope that my mural inspires kids to take full advantage of the good public education being offered to them. Adults can be reminded that they need to constantly feed their curiosity as life long learners, and keep track of the difference between Truth and Lies. Please visit my website www.SheilaBillings to see more of my work.
The enormous building-sized murals can be seen all over The Point neighborhood in downtown Salem, MA. And the smaller 8’x8′ murals by local artists are lined up all along Peabody Street. I hope you will treat yourself to a walk through our museum!