Worcester Magazine, “Worcesteria: Ash Street mural pays homage to Canal District history”

By Victor D. Infante, July 27, 2021

If you’ve wandered up Gold Street toward the Polar Park entrance – the one with the vaguely disturbing giant Bobble-head doll wearing the uniform of the great 19th century baseball team, the Worcester Worcesters – you might have noticed a blue mural taking shape on the park’s back wall. Day by day, the faces on the mural have become more distinct.

Lead artist Ryan Gardell, of Artifakt Studios, who was working on the mural alongside Ferdinand Nazario Monday, says that the point of the mural is to honor important figures in the history of the Canal District. “It’s supposed to be fun but relevant,” says Gardell. “A little bit of historical preservation.”

The lineup for the mural is truly an intriguing mix. The first face depicted is Tobias Boland, the Irishman who led the construction of the Blackstone Canal. It’s actually one of two tributes to Boland going up in the neighborhood, as a statue is being erected to him at Pickett Plaza on Green Street. By contrast, the next person depicted is anarchist political activist, writer and labor organizer Emma Goldman, shown holding an ice cream cone to represent he ice cream shop she owned on Winter Street, where the tapas restaurant Bocado is now.

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