No, it’s another form of a haunt. One that echoes the laughter and the cries of those who walked through the halls of the building before it was forgotten. A building that is held by the secrets of the people who inhabited its walls and made a wall of bricks look alive.
New Haven, Connecticut, doesn’t fall short of abandoned buildings. But over one weekend, one particular abandoned building got a facelift and was brought back to life with a cacophony of colors. Not only that but it also brought many people from New Haven to work together on this special project.
The building was once a school. Sitting abandoned for over five years, the building had accumulated dirt and was dismissed as a forgotten site. With the help of Mexican artist Emilio Herrera Corichi, however, the building is now a colorful display of different cultures.
This is not the first time that Emilio has worked on a community project. The painter “has a history of working together with community groups to collaboratively produce art like this.” For this project, Emilio listened to what the residents had to say before coming up with the design of the murals.
Emilio listened to what the residents had to say. The result is a reflection of all the cultures that make up New Haven. “There was agreement that the mural will have references to the Quinnipiac Indians, as well as the many different ethnic groups and immigrants who have lived in Fair Haven over the last century, including the current wave.”
Emilio was hired to give color to 11 panels found on the outside of the building. The result is an arresting view of colors and designs that have given new meaning to this once forgotten building. But the murals have done more than that.
People in the neighborhood appreciate Emilio’s work. More than that, they have been inspired and they have voiced their opinion about future plans for this building. They’re also coming up with objections.
In fact, people in New Haven are hoping that the building will be turned into a performing arts center. Those who have organized this mural project have said that there is a message behind all these colors. What they don’t want to see is the building being turned into a housing estate.
Plans for the building of apartments have already been proposed. In 2016, Ted Lazarus submitted a proposal to “convert the three-story, 1915 Jacobethan Revival building to apartments.” The committee still has to decide whether or not to give Lazarus the go-ahead.
The painter himself was impressed by the residents. The latter came together for this project and gave their input. Emilio said, “What I'm most proud of is that somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred people came from all over New Haven but mainly from our neighborhood...to make this mural possible.”
A decision is yet to be made about whether the building will be turned into modern apartments. It would be a shame to tear it down though. Especially now, with those murals representing so much culture and color.