Photography by: 13 Photography

Comforting Sounds

Evoca1’s mural was inspired directly by youth responses to 2020. “After going through the artist package for Truth Be Told, I noticed the kids were concerned for the current state of the world and how things felt almost broken — with coronavirus, social injustice, and the fact that they couldn’t hug their loved ones and friends because of the social distancing.” This mural provides hope in 2020, reminding us of our resilience and power to persevere.

Jorge Adrian Guerrero-Paz, a 12 year old boy from Lynn, reads the accompanying poem for this mural.  

Listen to the poem

“Although these broken
things might seem never-
ending,
We are here still, with our
dreams intact.

Although these broken
things,
the birds keep singing
and we listen still.
We carry this tune, until
our dreams are fulfilled,

Because, although these
broken things might seem
never ending,
These comforting sounds
will keep playing still.”
—Evoca1

Evoca1, Comforting Sounds, 2020. Acrylic and latex on brick, 60 x 24 ft. Public art. ©Evoca1. All rights reserved.

This mural is located above a building. In order to paint the mural, a 135 ft articulating boom lift with four joints was used to get access to the mural wall.

Mural painters are at the mercy of nature, and Evoka1 painted through rainstorms.

This mural was created in the Fall of 2020 as part of the Beyond Walls Truth Be Told! collaborative project. The project focused on providing a space for youth to voice their thoughts, feelings, and observations about COVID-19 and racial injustice. Watch Beyond Walls discuss Truth Be Told!.

Upon seeing the finished mural, some of the youth responded not only in words, but with movement and dance.

While children are thought to be at lower risk of developing severe COVID-19 pneumonia compared to adults, this pandemic has taken a toll on our younger generation in numerous ways. School closures in particular have had detrimental effects on children’s mental health. The CDC (read more) reports that between April and October 2020, there was an increase in mental health-related emergency department visits for children ages 5-11 and 12-17 years by 24% and 31% percent respectively. While Black and Latinx youth are disproportionately affected by school closures and face higher rates of mental illness secondary to the pandemic, they are less likely to receive medical care for behavioral health needs (read more; read more).

Additionally, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to increased food insecurity (read more), housing insecurity, and unstable learning environments for children, particularly in communities of color (read more). The past year has highlighted longstanding health inequities faced by these communities.

Evoca1

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The Heart + Soul installation is a retrospective of some of the many murals and pieces of art created by artists in collaboration with Beyond Walls. In the fall of 2020, Beyond Walls presented the street art festival Truth Be Told in Lynn, Massachusetts. The artwork featured in the Truth Be Told festival was born of the COVID-19 pandemic and explores the idiosyncrasies of the times. Heart + Soul is a collection of photographs and digital art examining the interplay between community and art. The subjects and symbols within the works reflect the resilience of the diverse people where they reside. As the photographs celebrate the community, Heart + Soul aims to create space that not only reflects the vibrant diversity of the staff and patient community, but celebrates them.

This collection is the result of generous donations from Mass General Imaging and the MGH Office of Equity and Community Health.

Other work from Heart + Soul