Springfield’s latest mural debuts at 20/20 Laundromat

SPRINGFIELD — Justin Masse and Summer Zhou, owners of 20/20 Laundromat, and Fresh Paint Springfield launched the community’s latest mural with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.

William N. DeBerry Elementary School’s third-grade family, staff, and student artists, along with state and local officials gathered to admire the collaborative work of the class and lead artist Gabriela Sepulveda at 169 Hancock St

The vibrant and playful mural that faces King Street was inspired by “How Things Work” by Neil Richard Ardleya book that Masse said was part of his childhood and became part of Zhou’s family in China as it is sold in multiple languages.

“It’s an easy illustration book using cartoons to explain science,” Masse said. “I’ve always remembered and been inspired by this book. I was hoping this fresco would bring some of that.

The 36-by-18-foot exterior wall is covered with a landscape of whimsical laundry machines, contraptions, animals swimming, working and relaxing.

With the use of the poly-tab technique, the mural will last up to 25 to 30 years and the good thing is that when these children become adults, they can come back and visit their work, Masse said.

Catherine Kabochi, a third-grade teacher at DeBerry, said the children were excited to see the end of the project.

Aleyda Torres, also a third-grade teacher, said this project stems directly from a new curriculum, and students now have first-hand experience with small ideas turning into big ones changing the face of the community.

“We need more of that,” Torres said. “It was a moment of escape. …A real-life experience of what we were learning.

The new curriculum gave teachers the opportunity to step away from academics to create a hands-on learning experience, Kabochi said.

The two educators say that with COVID, hands-on learning and graded trips have been a great memory from a distant past that they are now trying to recreate for students post-pandemic.

According to Kabochi, this small idea sparked even greater interest among Savvas Learning Society who is providing the new curriculum, as the company reached out to interview the students and staff who worked on the mural project.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for DeBerry to connect with the lessons planned by their teachers. We are grateful for this event and for being able to strengthen the bonds of students and DeBerry with the community in which many of them live,” said director Elizabeth Fazio.

“The Reading Program culminating activity is new to the district and it gives teachers the opportunity to make changes to support and connect with their students,” Fazio said.

Fresh Paint founder Britt Ruhe said none of this would have been possible without the two collaborators reaching out to her.

“Companies have a relationship with the community, and a good relationship inspires people to give back and do more,” Masse said.

“We have been challenged over the past two years with the pandemic to take the lead and transform education every time. This time we have something cool to show the town. We had a great idea and it literally changed the face of the community. We want to see more changes in the future. Children deserve better because they are our future,” Torres said.

In a special presentation, the third-grade class created a poem and recited it before delivering their own statements of appreciation to everyone who worked with them to make this big idea possible, including State Senator Adam Gomez. D-Springfield, Ruhe, Sepulveda, Zhou and Massé.

“It wouldn’t have happened without Springfield. I came here and Springfield welcomed me and I love this spooky town,” Sepulveda said after thanking his team of assistant artists.

According to Sepulveda last year, she did an internship at Fresh Paint where she learned the poly-tab technique and how to work with the community.

“The pregnancy is over and I see the fruits of labor,” she said.

Senator Gomez said that when he was a city councilman, he was approached by Ruhe with a small idea to change the face of the community with art and culture.

Noting that other nearby major cities have murals throughout their community and this is where the Mural Festival was born.

Starting downtown, the hope is that the murals will spill out onto Hill-McKnight and the south and north ends of the city.

“Slowly but surely we will begin to see more beautiful masterpieces bloom in our community,” he said. “Common Wealth Murals brings people and community together. »

“Kids are going to grow up and bring their families here and say look at what I helped create. I’m part of the DNA of the neighborhood,” Gomez said.

Gomez presented a $50,000 check to Common Wealth Murals funded by the American Rescue Plan Act to continue spreading art and culture not just downtown but throughout the city.

“I am impressed with the murals across the community and want to see the continued good work,” State Rep. Orlando Ramos D-Springfield said.

“We have to believe in children. They can become anything. We just have to dig a little deeper,” Kabochi said.

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