Our Local Farms Mural. Art for All designed the Local Farms mural on Beharrell St. and involved 127 people in painting it. Courtesy photo.
Our Local Farms Mural. Art for All designed the Local Farms mural on Beharrell St. and involved 127 people in painting it. Courtesy photo.

Art for All fosters West Concord community

By Chris Randall - Correspondent
November 15, 2022

Art for All’s Director Margot Kimball is easy to spot around West Concord.

It might be painting the latest public mural in an alleyway, leading a plein-air workshop behind Nashoba Brook Bakery, or setting up a scavenger hunt for the village shops. And she’s often dressed in clothes she’s painted herself.

She’s also usually in the company of other like-minded people. You’ll find fellow artists, neighborhood volunteers, and adults with cognitive differences in the mix. It all fits with the mission of her organization, Art for All, a nonprofit that builds community by bringing people together to tell stories through art.

“Community needs to be built and nurtured,” Kimball explained. “We bring people of all ages, abilities, and circumstances together to work collaboratively on creative projects such as outdoor murals, community scavenger hunts, and studio-art clubs and classes. Connecting people and telling stories through art is at the center of all we do.”

Art for All has worked with the West Concord Junction Cultural District Committee and other organizations to create five public murals around West Concord. Hundreds of people participated in the painting, assembling, and installation of these works, which celebrate local people, events, and history. One describes the role of agriculture past and present. Another, the Pandemic Memorial Heart displayed at Emerson Hospital, is made up of thousands of hand-painted hearts—one for each victim of COVID in Massachusetts.

Making Scavenger Hunt Flowers. Art for All runs art workshops for people with special needs where they develop skills and contribute to community artworks. Courtesy photo.

The organization also runs inclusive weekly painting classes. Its Arts & Crafts Club is free to teens and young adults in CCHS’s Pathways and Launch programs as well as to adults who receive services through Minute Man Arc.

Launch Program Director Radka Grein approves. “My students are able to explore different art forms. They are also encouraged by the process to have fun, explore their creativity, gain confidence, and build self-esteem and independence.”

“Art for All has been an amazing, meaningful resource for the Fowler Library, expanding our ability to connect with the West Concord community through shared creation, creativity, and joy,” said Fowler Head Librarian Dorrie Karlin.

This past summer, the collaboration led to the creation of the Garden of Verses mural, which involved over 100 community members of all ages, abilities, and artistic confidence.

 In the coming year, Art for All will be collaborating with Sam Williams, Director of Concord Prison Outreach, to develop art classes for the men incarcerated at MCI Concord and at the Northeast Correctional Institution. Other plans include creating a mural map of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, commencing a “local rivers” mural, hosting a critique group, and offering make-and-take gatherings.

 Want to join the fun? Art for All welcomes volunteers and is currently looking for help with administration, marketing, development, and program offerings. Concord Flower Shop owner Helen Halloran summed it up nicely. “Art for All is an integral part of our community. Through its outreach and collaborations with businesses and non-profits, it enriches many lives. I can’t imagine the neighborhood without Margot and her many helpers.”

 To learn about Art for All’s programs, exhibits, community art projects, volunteer opportunities, and membership, visit ArtForAllConcord.com or write to hello@villageartroom.com.