New mural adds the spice of life to local grocery
Hi-Lo Foods, 415 Centre St., has been in business
for 40 years.
The front of the Hi-Lo Foods supermarket in Jamaica Plain will
be getting a fresh coat of paint this summer.
this time, the paint won’t be gray.
city of Boston’s Mural Crew, in conjunction
with the Hyde/Jackson Square Main Streets, plans to give the
building a colorful facelift.
the heart of Jamaica Plain’s “Latin Quarter,” Hi-Lo
Foods caters to a Latin American and Caribbean clientele. Brightly
colored crepe paper and flags hang from the ceiling above 20-pound
bags of rice stacked over 6 feet tall. Five varieties of a starchy
tropical tuber known as malanga or yautia, especially popular in
Cuba and Puerto Rico, join the standard fare of peppers, lettuce
and carrots. Snippets of Latin music float from the back room.
“The mural would tie into that,” explained Bill Jordan,
the store’s owner. After 40 years in business, he says it’s
time to make the outside as colorful as the inside. “It’s
an old store. We want to upgrade.”
|The mural on the back of the building, originally painted
20 years ago by a Puerto Rican artist, was refinished last
year by the Boston Mural Crew.
year, the Mural Crew, an arm of the city’s Office of
Cultural Affairs, repaired a mural on the backside of the Hi-Lo
Foods building. That mural, one of Boston’s oldest, was painted
20 years ago by Rafael Rivera Garcia, a Puerto Rican artist flown
in to create the mural in honor of Dorado, Puerto Rico, Boston’s
sister city at the time. It depicts three gods of the indigenous
Tiano people of the Caribbean, explained Valerie Grabiel, director
of Hyde/Jackson Square Main Streets.
new Hi-Lo Foods mural will be the eighth in the three-quarter
mile stretch of Centre Street that makes up
the Hyde/Jackson Square
Main Streets district. In addition to reflecting the community’s
residents, the murals deter graffiti and help keep local businesses
clean and fresh, Grabiel said.
“Murals are an amazing promotional tool,” Grabiel
explained. “They mark in a passers-by mind that a business
city’s Mural Crew has painted more than 100 murals since
its inception in 1991. The city pays for the labor – crews
of high-school age kids from across the city – while the
business receiving the mural pays the cost of materials such as
paint, brushes and scaffolding. In addition to the Hi-Lo mural,
plans are in the works to adorn walls in Roxbury and Mission Hill
“[Murals] bring attention to places people might not have
known,” said Heidi Schork, director of the Mural Crew program. “Murals
give the impression that people care about what’s going on
in the neighborhood.”
made from data compiled by the Policy Development and Research
Division, City of Boston Dept. of Neighborhood Development;
Source: Census 2000 demographic data for block groups adjacent
to Hyde Sq./Jackson Sq. Courtesy of Hyde/Jackson Square Main