Choice of artists for Canal District Kendall work paints a subtle connection with Central Square
In a city of villages that can feel very distinct from each other, BioMed Realty made a choice in Kendall Square that offers a sense of connection: selecting Cedric Douglas and Julia Roth, artists also known as Vise and Julz, to paint a vent shaft in its Canal District Kendall.
The life science and technology real estate company announced the $15,000 commission in August, calling for artists to highlight Kendall Square’s culture, creativity and entrepreneurial energy and answer how diversity enriches Cambridge. In choosing Douglas and Roth, BioMed followed the Central Square Business Improvement District’s selection of the artists last year for a showpiece work on the Green Street Garage. In that 400-foot piece in Central, geometric shapes are a background for a set of wide-open, curious eyes; the Kendall piece showcases two faces overlaid with brightly colored geometric patterns.
The pieces provide a gentle rhyme that unite two very different squares. “If you have a community that has a lot of murals and art, it makes for a better experience for everyone,” Douglas said. “It’s important to have these murals here to make your community more vibrant and connected.”
Boston-based Douglas and Roth, who have worked together since 2014, have even more ties to Cambridge: Douglas has worked with the Cambridge Community Center for the Arts to create public art, and Roth lived in Cambridge for five years after graduating from Lesley University with a master’s degree in expressive art therapy.
“The mural Cedric and Julia created is a great representation of the diversity in Cambridge and is a testament to the artistic talent we have in the area,” said Sal Zinno, vice president of development at BioMed. “Supporting local art and providing a platform for artists to showcase their work is incredibly important. Murals like this bring communities together.”
BioMed Realty sponsored a shaft mural outside of Kendall’s Evoo Restaurant by artist Adam O’Day in 2019. The company’s bid for a large lab redevelopment of the district – centered around a long-empty lot once set aside for a performance hall, now to host theaters and other public areas at the base – arrives Monday before the City Council.