Chilean cities like Valparaíso, and Santiago barrios like Bellavista, are famous for their colorful and often jaw-dropping murals and street art.
Now, Chilean artist Francisco “Dasic” Fernández has been commissioned by the government of Newburgh, to bring some of that South American flavor to revitalize the small U.S. city, just a stone’s throw from the cultural mecca of New York City.
Fernández is the “artist-in-charge” of a the Newburgh Mural Project : Life in Colors, which was kicked off at the end of April.
The project is modelled on Philadelphia’s acclaimed Mural Arts Project, which not only transformed abandoned spaces and blighted neighborhoods into public art works, but has also become a significant tourist attraction, helping to rebrand the city and engage local residents.
“Building upon this example, The Newburgh Mural Project: Life in Colors seeks to inspire the community by transforming public spaces into public works of art that celebrate the City of Newburgh’s spirit and vibrancy,” the website reads.
Originally from the small town of La Compañía, near the city of Rancagua, Fernández has cemented his place among the world’s graffiti artists and street art elite since relocating to New York. He has painted murals on the streets of Brooklyn, Bronx, Detroit, Texas, Chicago and Toronto, among others, and won a competition that brought the best six muralists to New Jersey. Fernández was named the most innovative artist in the hemisphere by Americas Quarterly in 2010.
In addition to his artistic talent, Fernández has made a name for himself for the role that he has played in revitalizing blighted urban spaces and lower socioeconomic neighborhoods, passionately engaging with local communities and reflecting their stories and values in his artwork.
At the launch party for the Newburgh project, young artists local artists were invited to meet Fernández, learn about his work, and come up with ideas for the project’s murals, and the Chilean artist will work closely with the community as painting begins.