The Viva Murals, created in collaboration with Express Yourself and partially funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, are currently on view at the Beverly Public Library for the month of February.

The Viva Mural Project is a rotating Mural Installation. Led by Artist Margot Rogers, the Viva Murals depicts the theme of “Viva” translates from many romance languages to “Life” in English. The series of modular murals will strengthen the cultural life of Beverly, act as a magnet for community collaboration, and inspire creativity in schools and the workplace.

Viva Murals at Library

This project has a dual goal of serving the students who create the piece and to produce a public art piece that will serve the Beverly Community. Public art is a catalyst that can help cities like Beverly in manifold ways. As stated by AFTA (Americans for the Arts) “Most of all, public art creates a sense of civic vitality in the cities, towns and communities we inhabit and visit.”

The target audience for the project was twofold; initially it worked to serve At-Risk Youth from Express Yourself and secondly the installation will benefit the larger Community.

The mural’s design incorporates historical and cultural elements, as well as promoting community involvement by partnering with businesses and non-profits to rotate the installation throughout the city. This will be the first of many projects to beautify Beverly through partnership of Beverly organizations and individuals. As an art piece celebrating “Life,” this collaborative work will make a real long term investment in the neighborhoods both for citizens and visitors.

Murals at LibraryThe Viva Murals depict youth in costume playing drums. The colorful and imaginative design of these figures elicits the sense of play and hope from the viewer. The costumes represent the ability of the youth (and the young at heart) to make themselves into whatever they choose. The costumes are intentionally designed to look more animal than human, but they are just concealing the humans within, blurring the lines between the costumes we create and the people we become. The youth depicted are shown happy and playing drums, paying homage to the partner organization, Express Yourself, whose calling card, often used in their performances at the Wang Theatre and at their Beverly location, could be said to be the djembe.

The cultural component and artistic design of this project was led by Margot Rogers, Co-Owner of Wallpusher and Marketing and Membership Director at CIVA. Onsite at Express Yourself were leaders Paula Conrad, Co-Executive Director, and Barbara Keiter, Visual Arts Director. Margot  has experience as Project Manager for Wallpusher, Art Director at the YMCA, Americorps Fellow at Esperanza Academy, and leader of many art projects at non-profits such as The Safe Studio and The Hive. Margot is a professional Muralist and Illustrator, her most recent public art collaboration were the Advent Project presented at Ipswich High School in partnership with First Presbyterian Church in 2013, and the Revitalization Mural installation on Cabot Street in 2012.

After being shown at the library and other locations, the murals will debut at the Wang Theatre in May 2014.

lion at library

More information about our partners for this project, Express Yourself:

• Express Yourself celebrates the power of creative arts, working with underserved youth in the community and in Department of Mental Health (DMH) residential and inpatient treatment facilities. We celebrate cultural diversity and collaboration with these isolated youth, who come together to form their own large community. Through our programs, we immerse young people into the creative world of music, dance, and visual arts and empower these youth with life changing results.

• Since 1988, over 5,000 young people have worked with Express Yourself artists, celebrities such as Blue Man Group, STOMP, Keith Lockhart, Broadway dancers, and a host of guest artists in a culminating,
grand performance.

• Each fall, visual artists at Express Yourself develop concepts for a set design that will serve as the backdrop to the annual performance. Then everyone at Express Yourself – from the executive directors to the volunteers, from the teen mentors to individuals from partner organizations – work with Express Yourself youth to create every piece of artwork that will appear on stage.

• Many of the young people we serve come to the Express Yourself studio in Beverly each week to explore the arts. They find creative expression in music and dance as well as the visual arts. Equally important are contributions of young people at inpatient facilities. The staff and artists of Express Yourself bring their program to these facilities, where young people participate in visual and performing arts activities.

• The pieces of art produced by the young people we serve—at our studio or at other sites—become integral parts of the set and the performance at the Citi Performing Arts Center–Wang Theatre.

The year-end performance is nothing short of electric. Nearly 2,500 family members and friends gather at the Citi Performing Arts Center –Wang Theatre to watch Express Yourself youth dance, drum, sing, and shine. The positive effect on our young people is immeasurable. Children who are not used to succeeding — and parents who are not used to seeing their children succeed — witness a special kind of joy made possible when young people find a way to EXPRESS THEMSELVES though the arts.

This year, we will celebrate our 20th performance at the Citi–Wang Theatre, and the public is welcome:

Express Yourself 20
Citi-Wang Theater, Boston
Thursday, May 22, 2014
7:00 pm
Free Admission
For more information about Express Yourself: ~


Many thanks also to our sponsors, Massachusetts Cultural Council, who partially funded this project with their Grant Award.