New mural adds botanical flair to Adams Corner

A member of the Mayor's Mural Crew at work in Adams Corner.

Bright yellow-green flowers cut through a muted gray background on the wall of Lopez the Florist in Adams Village. The almost-fluorescent daffodils, reminiscent of the bouquets sold inside the building, crawl up the facade and brighten the otherwise concrete-and-brick corner. A single bee flies in lazy loops among the petals and leaves.

This is the work of the Mayor’s Mural Crew, which completed the artwork earlier this month as part of the Boston’s public art initiative. The team was launched in 1991 as an opportunity for high school students to engage with the community and exercise their artistic skills.

“We ramp up in the summertime, and we have about two dozen kids on two crews,” said Heidi Schork, director of the Mural Crew. “We’ll be working throughout the city this summer. We hope to do eight murals. The weather has not been kind to us, so we were lucky to get Lopez in first thing.”

The botanical mural is located on Lopez the Florist at the corner of Adams and Selden Streets. The shop is an Adams Village landmark, opened in 1920 by Donald Lopez’s grandfather, a Sicilian immigrant.

Donald’s sons are the fourth generation to work in the shop at 742 Adams St., according to Schork.

Mike Lopez, one of the owners of the family business, said all the feedback received from customers so far has been positive. He also commended for the painters for matching the colors of the recently remodeled storefront.

“It really stands out,” Lopez said. “It’s just a natural look. It’s better than the original gray wall. It just livens it up and brightens up the neighborhood.”

Schork called the mural a “partnership between a lot of different groups,” noting the Department of Neighborhood Development as well as designers Hannah Epstein and Elizabeth Moran of Lindsay Hill Design in Charlestown. The crew’s lead artists, 23-year-old Connor Woods of West Roxbury and 22-year-old Jerome Jones of Dorchester, painted the mural.

According to Woods, they started the project on Monday, May 15, and completed it after four days. He and Jones were consistently outside painting for around five hours a day, even when temperatures stretched above 90 degrees.

“Everyone there was so great to us. We were welcomed in,” Woods said. “The guys at Lopez the Florist are great. … They gave us water and made sure we were hydrated and stayed cool. The people who came by looked at the mural and gave great feedback.”

Woods became involved with the crew three summers ago, when Schork reached out to him through a mutual friend. He said the work has been “smooth sailing ever since.” Jones has worked with Schork even longer, for five years.

“I got involved with the Mayor’s Mural Crew through my art teacher when I was in high school at Charlestown High School,” Jones said. “Heidi [Schork] actually came to the school to do a mural with our art class. I got introduced to her and showed her my portfolio.”

The mural crew is celebrating its 26th year. According to Schork, many of the public artworks are very well-received and even become landmarks, like the scarecrow mural at the corner of St. Marks Road and Dorchester Avenue honoring the memory of late actor and Dorchester native Ray Bolger.

“These murals will stand the test of time,” Schork said. “And they do speak of the neighborhood and the people who work there, business owners and residents.”

The crew’s next task will be a street painting project at a June 4 community event in Roslindale. For Schork, her favorite part of the job is working with the city’s youth and watching them grow as artists and individuals.

“It’s so much fun to see the kids develop. By the end of the summer, they can do it and be a team,” Schork said. “That gives me enormous satisfaction. Just being able to do big work that makes a huge impact for the city is the best. Who could ask for more?”

Jones and Woods agreed that they were most looking forward to getting into full summer swing with the youth volunteers.

“We have a few kids that we’ve worked with in previous summers, so we’re trying to meet up with them, talk about schools, all that stuff,” Jones said. “And also the new kids who are just getting into the mural crew. We’ll be showing them what the mural crew is about, what it’s going to be, and just starting the summer right.”

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