Prince, Tupac Artistic Benches Painted by Egleston Teens Liven Up Waldren Road Park

Four brightly colored wooden benches designed and painted by Egleston Square YMCA teens under the direction of artist Sydmarie Arroyo were delivered to the Waldren Road sitting park during the Love Your Block Day on May 21.

Urban Edge and the Eglston Square YMCA received a $1,170 grant last January from the Love Your Block program administered through the Mayors Office of Neighborhood Services.

Residents from Wardman Apartments — owned by Urban Edge and managed under its contract with WinnResidential — helped write the grant and planned the improvements with Urban Edge community organizer Nicole Chandler in March and April.

Sydmarie Arroyo and the Eglston YMCA presented draft ideas to the Wardman residents on March 18, designed and painted the benches — each one featuring a black artist such as Tupac Shakur, Lauryn Hill and Prince — at the YMCA thoughout April and early May.

New bench delivered painted at the Egleston Square YMC by teen artists in April and May.

Richard Heath

A new bench was delivered at the Egleston Square YMCA by teen artists.

Rep Liz Malia and Martha Jefferson

Robert Torres

State Rep. Liz Malia, right, and Martha Jefferson.

A dilapidated fifth bench already on site was repaired by WinnResidential maintenance men on Saturday and a new undisclosed design begun that afternoon with neighborhood youngsters joining in with paint rollers.

Also part of the day was the planting of flowers in beds along the Waldren Road fence.

The day ended with pizza, free ice cream from JP Licks and a visit from state Rep. Liz Malia, D-Jamaica Plain.

On April 21 Egleston Square Main Streets and neighbors planted flower beds at the “stonehenge” sitting park at Atherton and Washington streets.  More improvements, such as painting the granite arcs and adding a lending library will be completed within the next month. This Love Your Block grant of $2,500 was also awarded in January.

Martha Jefferosn who lives in Urban Edge housing on at Walnut Park and UE community organizer Nicole Chandler

Richard Heath

Martha Jefferson and Nicole Chandler check out the new bench.

Elva Nesbitt of 71 Westminster Av inspects the new bench She was one of the grant writers.

Richard Heath

Elva Nesbitt of Westminster Avenue enjoys new bench. She was one of the grant writers for the project.

Sydmarie Arroyo and YMCA artist Kaseem Grant touch up the Prince bench

Richard Heath

Sydmarie Arroyo and YMCA artist Kaseem Grant touch up the Prince bench.

Americorps Vista volunteers Jarred Johnson and Emily March plant one of the flower bed s under the watchful eye of Ms Jefferson

Richard Heath

AmeriCorps Vista volunteers Jarred Johnson and Emily March plant one of the flower beds with help from Martha Jefferson.

Dinardo of Winn Residential brings water over to Ms Jefferson and Jarred


Prepping the 5th bench Sydmarie supervises YMCA teen Jorge and Lavon. who lives next door.

Richard Heath

Prepping the fifth bench, Sydmarie Arroyo supervises YMCA teens Jorge and Lavon.

Americorps Vista volunteers Jarred Johnson and  Emily March not only participated in all the planning of the Egleston projects, but got their hands dirty doing the work on both days.

Love Your Block is a resident-driven initiative of Cities of Service, a national nonprofit funded by Michael Bloomberg in 2009. Cities of Service works in partnership with the Corporation for National Community Service.

  • patbilly

    Great job on the benches!

  • Brian P Murray

    Beautiful. . . nice work.

  • malena

    Nice job. what a great idea!