Oliver Fisher

Ann Marie Catabia

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The piece I’d like to contribute to the Salem Arts Festival was inspired by both what you see when wandering around a community and what actually makes up a community. Growing up in historical New England I have grown oddly fond of how anthropology meets architecture in cities, and observing the factors that make communities, cities and areas seem unique and special. After a long westward road trip in 2022, I found myself back home one night wandering Washington Street looking for an open restaurant, in the then-foreign land of downtown Salem. The more I wandered around, the more my hunger subsided in favor of soaking in my surroundings. The seemingly infinite amount of pointy bricks, shifted staircases, tiny door frames and unique paint schemes of Salem’s old buildings and quirky storefronts sparked a newfound, unexplained wonder about the history and culture of the city in my brain. Since then, I’ve spent an increasing amount of time in Salem to become familiar with the unique, creative, engaged and welcoming community that inhabits said buildings. From the murals on Lafayette Street and displays/artists on Artists’ Row and the SAA to the well-versed metalheads at Residency Records and skateboarders at Gallows Hill, I’ve gotten to experience some of Salem’s many examples of community, and despite growing up in Wenham I’ve always felt very welcomed by the city’s residents. With that being said, this mural aims to capture the diversity and beauty of Salem as well as a peek into its many “windows of opportunity” for experiencing rich culture, amazing food, creative minds, expressive people and the other components that makes the city what it is today. I think my piece would be a good fit into the Arts Festival mural walk because of its communal elements and its easily approachable symbolism (who doesn’t love flowers?), and will hopefully match the warm and hazy energy of a North Shore summer with it’s lush oranges/yellows and array of flowers.