Artist Selected To Paint Mural On New Gateway Arch To Cambridge’s Central Square


12/19/20236 months ago

Sophy Tuttle paints a mural.
Sophy Tuttle (photo: Sly Espinoza aka A Sly Films)

Artist Sophy Tuttle of Medford has been selected by the City of Cambridge to paint a mural upon the new gateway arch to Central Square. The large-scale, three-dimensional ribbon arch is expected to be installed in Central Square's Carl Barron Plaza in late 2025 as part of improvements and redesign of the public gathering space at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and River Street.

Tuttle was chosen by a 10-member selection committee, who praised the artist's beautiful brushwork and sense of color, her holistic imagery, her interesting abstract backgrounds, and her confidence with large scale sites. They thought Tuttle could create a serene oasis in the midst of busy Central Square.

The project is being overseen by Cambridge Arts as part of the City of Cambridge’s Percent-for-Art Program, under a city ordinance that requires 1 percent of the construction costs on municipal capital investment be designated for use in developing site-responsive public artworks. Tuttle is expected to begin work off-site in 2024, painting the metal surface of the ribbon arch that will wind horizontally and vertically through the plaza.

Sophy Tuttle stands on a lift painting a mural of a bird.

Tuttle is an English-born American muralist, painter, and installation artist. Her work “celebrates nature and asks the viewer to reconsider our position in the web of life.” Tuttle began painting murals after a residency in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2013, where she learned from local activists and artists. Her indoor and outdoor murals can now be seen from Massachusetts to Colombia, and she has participated in several mural festivals including PangeaSeed’s Sea Walls festival in East Boston (2020 and 2021), Beyond Walls in Lynn, and POW! WOW! Worcester / Worcester Walls.

Tuttle is expected to be paid a commission of about $50,000, which includes the artist’s design fee, insurance, transportation, collaboration with city staff, review meetings, painting of artwork, and community engagement. The city will cover paint, work space, and costs of painting supplies.

The selection committee included staff from Cambridge Arts and the City's Community Development Department and Department of Public Works; a project landscape architect; residents; members of the City's Public Art Commission; and a member of the Central Square Business Improvement District board.