Nov 21, 2022 - News

Mozart Park mural pays tribute to Afro-Latino artists

Jorge Arce takes a small paintbrush to paint details on a woman in a traditional-style white dress for la bamba dance.

Jorge Arce, a local musician who is friends with lead artist Roberto Chao, is painting his daughter’s face near a portrait of him. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

When people now enter Mozart Park, they will see the faces of Cuban singer Celia Cruz, Dominican musician Juan Luis Guerra and other pioneers of Latin music across the left wall.

  • The portraits are part of a 160-foot-long mural the Hyde Square Task Force unveiled this past weekend.

What's happening: A group of three-dozen people, led by painter and Jamaica Plain resident Roberto Chao, created a mural in the Jamaica Plain park paying tribute to Afro-Latino artists.

  • The mural, which was finalized last week, is a community-based art project, meaning both professional artists and locals with little to no art experience contributed.

Why it matters: The mural showcases the power of music across the African diaspora, from Afropop and jazz to salsa and merengue — and Boston's role in hosting legendary musicians.

  • Some of the featured artists like Cruz and James Brown performed in Boston, while others like Guerra and Puerto Rican cuatro player Fabiola Mendez attended Berklee College of Music.
  • Local musician and historian Jorge Arce is also featured.

What they're saying: "This mural is inclusive, not exclusive, and better yet, Afro," Chao told Axios in a recent Spanish-language interview.

This large panel of an AfroLatino music mural shows a silhouette of Africa with the design of a computer motherboard. It also features South African singer Miriam Makeba and other artists.
The panel begins with an homage to African music, from which Latin music stems, featuring South African singer Miriam Makeba on the left and others. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios
The mural includes Latin American artists, including Juan Luis Guerra.
The last mural features reggae icon Bob Marley, cuatro player Fabiola Mendez and Dominican singer and composer Juan Luis Guerra, who is wearing a Red Sox hat. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Boston stories


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more