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Welcome, Freshmen

Late last week, this striking new mural appeared at the corner of Preble Street and Cumberland Avenue, a block off of Monument Square.

The building is being renovated to become the Preble Street Resource Center's new Joe Kreisler Teen Shelter. But the mural is actually a collaboration between Wright-Ryan Construction and this year's freshman class at the Maine College of Art.

Wright-Ryan superintendent Rob Barrett explained that the building renovations required his crew to remove the first-floor facade and erect a temporary plywood shed. Instead of having a blank wall, it seemed like a perfect canvas for a community art project, so he contacted a couple of instructors at MECA. Members of the freshman class then teamed up in pairs to paint the mural's individual panels, each of which honors a different nationality from the diverse immigrant community at the nearby Portland High School.

"It was a way to get incoming freshmen introduced to Portland, and introduced to the Preble Street Resource Center, with a community-based arts project," explains Barrett.

And what do the letters represent? Barrett tells me it's a jumbled phrase that the students chose. I haven't figured it out yet, but I'll put one hint in the comments below.

Barrett also informed me that his job site will be open to the public with additional artworks from MECA during the November First Friday art walk. I'll post more details about that event here as it approaches.

The photo linked at right shows a higher-resolution view of the mural along with the students who painted it (click to enlarge):

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