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Local Artists Creating Additional Public Art in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square

RiseUp is partnering with Blue Back Square to bring more public art to West Hartford.

By Ronni Newton

The owners of Blue Back Square are looking to bring more color and creativity to the property, and are collaborating with RiseUp for Arts to highlight the works of local artists who will be creating murals, painting windows of storefronts, and designing unique features ideal for “Instagrammable” moments.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with RiseUP on this new art initiative,” said Robyn Rifkin, property manager at Blue Back Square. “With the summer months upon us and more visitors strolling through our property, we felt it was a great time to show off all the talents of our local art community in a fun, family-friendly way.”

RiseUp for Arts is a Connecticut-based nonprofit whose mission is to “empower communities to imagine new possibilities through public art and education.” They partner artists with municipalities, real estate developers, other businesses, nonprofits, and community organizations to “make mural and placemaking projects come to life,” beautifying spaces through public art.

RiseUp partnered with multiple West Hartford organizations for the town’s MLK39 racial equity mural – part of a statewide effort to create murals in 39 towns for each year of Martin Luther King Jr’s life. That mural, created by local artist Corey Pane, encompasses two walls of the West Hartford Public Library’s Noah Webster Branch along the western entrance to Blue Back Square and was unveiled as part of the town’s Juneteenth celebration in 2021.

West Hartford’s MLK39 Racial Equity Mural spans the entire side and a portion of the front of the Noah Webster Library in the Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

The first piece of the latest collaboration is already in place – a colorful and eye-catching “Welcome to Blue Back Square” mural painted by Connecticut artist Jillian Goeler of JAG Ink Studio on the wall of Spaces, facing Raymond Road.

Jillian Goeler painted this mural in Blue Back Square, facing Raymond Road. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

“Blue Back Square is giving local artists paid opportunities to shine,” said Matt Conway, executive director of RiseUp for Arts, who expressed his enthusiasm for the positive impact of this project. “With the theme of the murals being ‘Instgrammable,’ they will be shared widely giving the artists and local businesses great exposure as well. Site specific public art is critical in developing a sense of place in any community gathering area.”

Additional murals will be added to the property throughout the summer, some on a rotating basis, with organizers hoping to inspire – and capture through social media posts – fun moments in Blue Back Square and engagement with the artwork.

More information about RiseUp for the Arts can be found on their website, and on Instagram (@ctmurals).

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