Opinion » Editorial

New artwork brightens Harrison Avenue

by . .
Friday Jun 12, 2015

Passersby on Harrison Avenue last week were surprised and fascinated by a work of art in progress painter and School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) alumnus Juan Travieso. Travieso, who is based in Miami and New York, was in Boston as the featured artist at the Museum of Fine Arts's Summer Party benefit on Saturday, June 6, and while in town, he created a mural on the side of Leon Electric at 471 Harrison Avenue.

Local friends and supporters Paul Miller, a real estate professional who lives in Bay Village, and his son, Zachary Graves-Miller, a Boston-based filmmaker whose work often showcases visual and performing artists, helped organize the mural and were on hand to aid the painters as well as document the process. The Millers contacted James Leon at Leon Electric to get permission for the mural, which occupies a space that had previously been used for advertising.

Travieso started the project on the evening of Tuesday, June 2 and finished
over the weekend. Travieso explained via e-mail, "The mural on Harrison Avenue was organized by Zach and Paul Miller. They invited me to come early to make it happen and it turned out great." Graves-Miller is planning a documentary film on the process that will be posted on-line when it is complete.

The mural, which features images of the Florida Key deer, reflects much of Travieso's work depicting threatened animal species and disappearing cultural images against abstract backdrops to illustrate the ephemeral and changing nature of our world.

"I decided to start painting endangered animals about 5 years ago. I always felt inclined to help those that can't defend or communicate themselves with our species. This mural does contain an endangered species," Travieso said in an e-mail.

Travieso's work joins another mural to its right, painted in 2014 by Brookline artist Tyson Andree, who works with the Adelson Galleries located across the street from Leon Electric. Adam Adelson, director of Adelson Galleries at 520 Harrison Avenue, was the catalyst behind Andree's initial mural. "When I moved into the gallery, I thought [Leon Electric] was a good place for a mural, so I went over and introduced myself to Arthur and asked if we could paint a mural there.

It was coming up toward one of Tyson's exhibitions, and we decided it would be good for him to do a public art piece."

The Cuban-born Travieso has maintained strong ties to Boston since receiving his Master's degree at the SMFA. "Boston and I have an incredible bond," Travieso wrote. "I love Boston not only for the great city that it is but also because The School of the Museum of Fine Arts has opened so many doors for my career. I have made incredible connections with faculty, students, and collectors that have encouraged me to continue pursuing my dreams as an artist."