Perhaps no building was as radically transformed by POW! WOW! murals as the brick behemoth of Elm Park Community School. In 2017, Eleven large scale murals were painted on the once drab brick exterior, transforming the building into the most vibrant structure for blocks. The elementary school pulses now with color. More murals are planned for the school as part of the 2018 POW! WOW! Worcester festival.
The larger Elm Park neighborhood became the focus of urban redevelopment in the late 1960s. The Worcester Housing Authority used federal funds to plan the 220-acre renewal project bounded by Pleasant Street, Park Avenue, Institute Road, and the West Side Artery. Part of the plan eventually evolved to call for the demolition of three existing school buildings – one on Sever Street and the other two on Dix Street – and the creation of what would become the Elm Park Community School on North Ashland Street. The stark brick walls of the school and its limited glass area have long inspired rumors that the building was modeled after a prison. Nothing is further from the truth, for the forces behind the new school wanted to create new concept open-space classrooms and break down the walls between the school and the community.
There are more than 11 murals on the school and they are organized here by the buildings faces. For more on the neighborhood, the school, and its history view the images and captions here.
For the murals on the school's East Facade along N. Ashland Street click here.
For the murals on the school's West Facade along West St. click here.
For the murals on the school's North Facade along Ormond St. click Here.
For the murals on the school's South Facade along John St. click here.