“For me, Genesis chapter 1, the Creation story, is one of the most hopeful pieces of scripture. It is so pure, and there is no mention of evil. Everything is right and good,” reflects muralist Alex Cook. Boston Project youth, neighbors, and volunteers painted our 6th building mural in the community this summer. Each mural is an artistic expression of a biblical theme connected to the idea of Shalom.

Alex continues, “I remember riding my bike through this location years ago on my way to Boston Project and thinking this is one of the most neglected streets I have ever seen.”

New England Ave was an old industrial street with vacant land, dilapidated buildings, limited businesses, and no housing. But over the past three years, a radical transformation has occurred on a section of the street with new affordable housing, streetscape gardens, traffic safety measures, and now a new mural on a building almost 90 feet long by 14 feet tall.

“My goal is to give people the gift of feeling deep spiritual concepts without having to do it intellectually. The mural represents harmonious human and animal relationships, the tree of life, and the crystal river. Woven into the scene are several little vignettes, mini-stories with the people and creatures. I was thinking a lot about rhythm and music; the trees, leaves, color fields, and figures each operate as rhythmic elements, notes in the music. Some are heavy and dominant, others light and accommodating, but all come together to create a swelling, undulating song of motion, story, and color.”

This summer, we engaged all of our middle school and high school teams in the painting process. Hundreds of neighbors drive by this location each day and have expressed appreciation for the colors, encouraging words, nature imagery, and more. Alex concludes, “What we are making are the things that everyone wants; peace, justice, and the pure hopes of people. My partnership with Boston Project is luxurious in that we have a shared appreciation for scripture and expressing those words artistically. I am right at home.”