Updated: Jan 27
Over the next three years, East Hartford, Connecticut, will invest $175,000 into public art projects. RiseUP for Arts, Connecticut’s sole non-profit public art organization, will raise funds to match the creative mural initiatives.
“We’ve got dynamite things happening,” Mayor Mike Walsh stated. “If we can create a sense of community through artwork, it will be easier to get volunteers and do the things the community needs to move forward. We’re going to put a little more shine back on East Hartford.”
East Hartford Murals, a subset of RiseUP for Arts and partner to the town of East Hartford, has already produced four vibrant art displays. The initial murals were funded thanks to generous corporate donations from Goodwin University, Nassau Financial Group, Pratt & Whitney, and 100 private donations from East Hartford residents. The works predominantly support racial equity while mirroring the town’s inclusive identity.
On Main Street, the “Dream Like a King” mural — a stunning tribute to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King — was designed by Michael Rice and East Hartford natives Joshua Morgan and Tiyah Thompson.
Under the Founder’s Bridge — a 2,000-square-foot mural featuring inspirational East Hartford women: Odessa Terry, who supported emergency medical services in town; social justice leader Amisha Patel; former mayor Melody Currey; Puerto Rican native and 40-year resident Rosa Cruz; and Mary Johnson, the town’s first Black elected official.
On Forbes Street, a mural painted on an active bus stop by artists Joey Batts and East Hartford resident, Andrea Sanchez, portrays a four-member household alongside the phrase “Family is Everything.”
“It was important for me to depict an actual East Hartford family,” Sanchez specified. “I painted my brother, his wife, and their two children — all East Hartford residents who live only half a mile down the road from the mural.”
Most recently, at McAuliffe Park, East Hartford native and mural artist, Michaela Levesque, painted a pause-worthy piece with a floral focus.
A press conference for this mural and East Hartford Murals’ up-and-coming creations will be held at Drennan Pool at McAuliffe Park, 30 Remington Road, East Hartford, CT 06108, on Monday, October 17, at 10:30 AM.
Coming soon: A mural honoring East Hartford Police Department’s award-winning K-9 unit and, adding a splash of creativity to the community, two more pool house murals painted by East Hartford artists.
After the paint dries, the public art is intended to promote inclusion and drive progress in the community.
“East Hartford is a small town with a ton of different cultures and immigration stories. For me, I had every type of friend here, and diversity is something to be cherished,” Michaela Levesque detailed.
Since its incorporation in 1783, East Hartford has been ever-evolving. From famous dill pickles to Pratt and Whitney, East Hartford has frequently moved forward. From selling baby chicks on Burnside to sold-out stadiums at Rentschler, East Hartford has persistently pressed on.
Today, a combination of creative planners and collaborative partnerships promote the significant street art projects that inspire and instill a sense of pride.
“The murals encourage this feeling that East Hartford is on the map again,” Connor Martin, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, added. “East Hartford is destined for better, and we’re going to get there.”
“The murals are an opportunity to honor and uplift the town,” Harry Amadasun Jr., East Hartford native and Town Councilmember, concluded. “We want the art to brighten our residents' day, be beacons of hope, and light the way for better days ahead.”
With the power of paint and public canvases, the meaningful murals create community, reflect its people, and remind residents why they should be proud to call East Hartford “home.”
Are you interested in supporting public art projects in East Hartford?
Visit EH Murals today to learn more! Something New in The Neighborhood: East Hartford Murals with Meaning