Over the last few years, buildings, streets, and sidewalks in Springfield have been transformed into public art displays with murals and messages created by street artists. 

This summer, the Springfield Cultural Partnership and the Community Music School teamed up for the Trust Transfer Project. The program partners with artists to bring messages about public health to the city’s South End and Metro neighborhoods. 

Connecting Point‘s Ross Lippman spent the day with artists participating in Trust Transfer Project’s first endeavor — Chalk for Change — and shares the messages they are bringing to the city. 

Read the full transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Over the last few years, many of the buildings, streets, and sidewalks in Springfield have been transformed with murals and messages created by street artists.

This summer, the Springfield Cultural Partnership and the Community Music School partnered to form the Trust Transfer Project, a program that will see artists bring messages surrounding public health to the city’s South End and Metro neighborhoods.

Their first project is called Chalk for Change and Connecting Point’s Ross Lippman spent the day with participating artists and shows us the messages they’re bringing to the city

Ross Lippman, Connecting Point: On one of the hottest days of the summer at Springfield South End Community Center, street artist Ramiro Dovaro-Comas has a challenge ahead of him.

Ramiro Dovaro-Comas, Street Artist: I’m glad you’re here.

Ross Lippman: With temperatures reaching the 90s by nine a.m., the Dovaro-Comas is starting his first of three chalk art pieces.

Dovaro-Comas, along with seven other artists, are racing against the clock, creating new messages throughout the city for the Trust Transfer Project.

Vanessa Ford, Trust Transfer Project: The Trust Transfer Project is an incredible initiative that allows for artists to be, from the beginning, part of messaging — health messages for the community.

And so we’re hoping that, one artist at a time, one message at a time, we can fill our city with hope, inspiration, and encouragement to come back out as we enter into this new life after COVID-19 has impacted the community so, so greatly.

Ross Lippman: Each artist has been commissioned to design temporary chalk art installations, from Dovaro-Comas’ “I’m Glad You’re Here” in the South End to Marc Austin’s “Message of Love “outside the Community Music School.

Marc Austin, Street Artist: Well, when they said that they were going to allow artists to kind of use their art to kinda convey how they feel with the coronavirus and everything going on, I jump right on. I felt like it was great.

Colors are really vibrant. I hope it brings a lot of life.

Eileen McCaffery, Springfield Community Music School: About two years ago, the Mass Cultural Council asked the Community Music School to be a design partner for something called Culture RX Initiative. It’s basically this big idea that artists — centering artists’ voices is critical to improving public health outcomes in communities.

Karen Finn, Springfield Cultural Partnership: You may hear a song or see an image, or you’re — a piece of poetry, and you think, “I’m not alone,” which is so important right now because we’ve all felt so alone and you can identify with art.

So, I think putting artists at the forefront of public health messaging — or any messaging for that matter — is incredibly important.

Nero, Street Artist: Speed is the name of the game today.

Ross Lippman: Timed projects aren’t new —

Nero: Rain is coming.

Ross Lippman: — to street artists like Nero. As the heat wave peaks in the morning, thunderstorms are on the way for the afternoon.

Nero: I got two more to do. Yeah.

Ross Lippman: Commonwealth Mural’s partnered with the Trust Transfer Project to find artists. You’ve likely seen their work across Springfield. It’s a city filled with larger than life murals.

Mural Artist: You could kind of start filling that in.

Ross Lippman: In total, 20 installations were completed in just a few hours, each a reflection of the artist’s experience during the pandemic.

Mural Artist: That’s going to be more graffiti-esque.

Ross Lippman: Trust Transfer organizers hope by giving artists the freedom to create their own designs, it’ll allow Springfield residents to better connect with each message.

Eileen McCaffery: That’s very different than having somebody tell you you should do something, right?

It’s your own internalizing of it, your own artistic expression of it, and then being able to share it on a platform that allows people to really see the power of the arts to transform.

Vanessa Ford: If you kind of take a step forward and do this for your neighbor, do this for your family member, we can look at tomorrow as a brighter day. We can come out of this and in a more hopeful way.

And so, we believe that if you can use positive messages to spread health information, that it has a different impact because people kind of are motivated by joy.