Focusing on enhancing innovation in Boston’s neighborhoods including Allston Village Main Streets, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and the Boston Main Streets Foundation announced the seven awardees for the second funding round of the agency’s Innovation and Impact grants.
Boston Main Streets, a program created in 1995 under the Department of Neighborhood Development, strives to bring citywide innovation and improvement to Boston’s 20 Main Street districts.
Awarded to Greater Grove Hall, Hyde Park Main Streets, Mattapan Square Main Streets, Roslindale Village Main Streets, Upham’s Corner Main Street and West Roxbury Main Streets, the grants provide funding for programming, services and partnership opportunities that will lead to innovation in the city’s main street districts, a Thursday press release said.
“We’re funding a range of innovative projects through this initiative with the Boston Main Streets Foundation,” Walsh said in the release. “This is a public-private partnership that really works; our Main Streets districts can enhance what makes them unique and support their business owners.”
Allston Village Main Streets, the grant recipient closest to Boston University’s campus, will be receiving $5,000 for their gateway mural project, which will place a mural on the third and fourth floor exterior walls of a building on Commonwealth Avenue and Harvard Avenue, said Alana Olsen, executive director of Allston Village Main Streets.
“Part of the work that we do here at Main Streets is to help enrich our street and create a sense of community through that,” she said. “One of our big focuses right now is bringing public art to our streets, and we do that by funding murals.”
After the final round of funding is secured, the production of the mural project is expected to take four to six months. Allston Village Main Streets is looking to collaborate with the mayor, the city council and the various arts organizations in the neighborhood to see the project through, Olsen said.
“This will be an iconic image that welcomes people to Allston,” she said. “Because of the unique opportunity of the mural, in terms of the location, it’s going to be a larger scale project than anything we’ve taken on in a very long time, so that’s very exciting.”
Several residents said grants will lead to important innovation in the city of Boston, and the mural will be a valuable addition to Allston.
Adam Kwok, 23, of Brighton, said the gateway mural project would create a nicer neighborhood for residents to live and work.
“It brightens up the neighborhood,” he said. “If you ride on the bus everyday, you see the same old neighborhood, and it’s kind of crummy sometimes. If you have a mural, it makes the neighborhood a little bit better.”
Christina Rowley, 24, of Allston, said the innovation grant could be put to better use by improving the roads and keeping the neighborhood clean.
“I definitely think the money should be put somewhere else,” she said. “Even though it would be a nice gateway into Allston, the reason why Allston has a bad reputation is because it’s not the cleanest part of the city. The roads and the sidewalks could use a little bit of work. Even though a mural would be a nice entryway into that part of the city, it’d be nice if it looked a little bit better. We could definitely use the money differently.”
Nicole Jozwiak, 24, of Brighton, said the mural could be an improvement to Allston’s atmosphere, but the money could be used for other important improvements as well.
“It depends on what the mural is,” she said. “If it’s a really pretty mural, it will make Allston more classy. I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but if there’s something else that the money could be spent on that actually makes a difference in people’s lives, that [would be a better idea], but I don’t think it’s money badly spent.”