The Mayor's Office of Arts + Culture for Boston. We foster the growth of the cultural community in Boston and promote participation in the arts.
By the early 1900s, the East Boston Immigration Center was created, making it the United States’ second busiest arrival port for immigrants. Home to Logan Airport and President John F. Kennedy's great-grandfather, it has a long history of diversity. The first wave of immigrants came from Canada and Ireland, followed by Russian Jews and Italians. More recently, the area has been populated by people from Southeast Asia and Central and South America. Today, more than half of its residents are Hispanic/Latino.
Often referred to as “Boston’s Ellis Island,” East Boston is a microcosm of American history and early immigration efforts. The strong immigrant influence in "Eastie" continues today, making it an ideal location for “To Immigrants With Love.”
Two prominent immigrants are represented in the East Boston mural: Carmello Scire and Veronica Robles. Scire immigrated from Siciliy in the early 1930s. Robles came from Mexico in 2000. The mural is located on the wall of Dr. Dental in East Boston.
Carmello Scire founded Carlo’s Carmelo catering company, serving the East Boston community for over 75 years. Carmello passed Carlo's Carmelo down to his son, Sammy Scire, and his wife, Carmela, who then passed it on to Carmello’s grandson, Steve Scire. Today the business is called Sammy Carlo’s Delicatessen and Catering, and it retains the original values of ingenuity, innovation, and dedication to community. The Scire family's belief in community service makes Carmello a fitting subject for the East Boston #ToImmigrantsWithLove project.
Since her arrival, Veronica Robles has served as a cultural ambassador, educator, and community activist in the City of Boston.She is founder and executive director of the Veronica Robles Cultural Center, supporting community action and economic growth in East Boston. The Center also offers Latin American arts and culture programs. Mayor Martin J. Walsh recently appointed her to the leadership board for the Boston Creates initiative, and she sits on the board of directors for the East Boston Chamber of Commerce.Her passion for community service has had a visible impact in East Boston. As a proud immigrant and member of the East Boston community, she is excited to be a subject for “To Immigrants With Love.”
Another East Boston mural celebrating the immigrant experience can be found on Sumner Street between Bremen and Orleans Streets. This 2010 piece by artist Raul Gonzalez is entitled "Conmocion" and measures an epic 24 feet in length. Resembling a dust-up from an old animated feature, Conmocion is an homage to many of the symbols and icons that begin to define the visual lexicon of the Latin American culture.
"Conmocion" tumbles and rolls across the wall, bombarding the viewer with a heavy-handed visual brawl that stimulates the eye while describing the physical and mental struggle undertaken by many immigrants as they grow into a new way of life. The mural illustrates the dual identities that many new American citizens live with and reminds the casual passerby that his or her fellow citizens each have a unique origin.
Cover photo by the the Boston Public Library via Flickr