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Allston has more to offer than meets the eye for those seeking an accessible art community. Though many Harvard students associate Allston only with the Science and Engineering Complex or the Harvard Business School, the extension of Harvard’s campus deeper into Allston also brought the Zone 3 initiative, which since 2015 has spread across Western Ave. with the intention of creating a space for Harvard and its surrounding communities to engage with creativity in many forms. One of these ways is through Zone 3’s “Art in Print” program, which invites and pays artists to share their work in the form of 25 cent posters.
Over the course of a few years, over 120 artists have contributed their work to the “Art in Print” collections.
Emily J. Auchincloss is a museum employee and an artist who shifts between paint and textile in her work, making “the structure that the image is” by mixing mediums, in her words. Her poster, though two-dimensional, jumps out with texture. Auchincloss enthusiastically engaged with the poster project, citing the universal experience of engaging with visual art by hanging up posters, especially “when we are young.”
“I love the idea of the poster because it is so democratizing,” Auchincloss said. “We can take an image and put it on our wall and feel a sense of ownership.”
Graphic designer Alex J. Barber, whose poster features his lovable character Calvin, has been working in freelance design since 2016 and was previously involved with Zone 3’s “Aeronaut Allston” project in 2020.
“Zone 3 is taking local artists that are probably working freelance gigs for large companies … and giving them an outlet to do what they like to do,” Barber said.
For Barber, this is bringing people joy.
“I really enjoy just making people either laugh or smile with the stuff that I make.”
Barber also stressed the importance of making art accessible through public art projects or working with museums.
“I’m not one of those punk rock artists that is like ‘don’t sell out’... as long as people are supporting artists I really love that,” he concluded.
Like Barber, artist Julia E. Emiliani has worked with Zone 3 before and said they share a “mutual respect for each other’s work.” The illustrator and designer hopes that viewers see the joy in her poster — a depiction of pancakes dripping with butter.
“The piece also captures a pancake breakfast I made for friends while they were staying with me, so it was really nice to reflect on a sweet memory, and I hope others can form their own sweet memories around this too.”
Emiliani also praised Zone 3 for highlighting local talent.
“It allows a wide range of people to access original artwork and helps inform the general public of just how many artists live in Boston,” Emiliani said.
Sarah C. Egan, an illustrator with a specialization in watercolor and digital, said she had not heard of Zone 3 before this project but quickly grew fond of the initiative. Her piece features a couple of animals in a rowboat, fishing in tranquil waters.
“I created ‘A Day in the Life’ as an exploration of mindfulness and friendship, and my hope is that some of the peace and whimsy I felt when creating it is translated to its viewers,” Egan said. “No matter where they end up, I hope that my posters bring people joy.”
She then commented on “Art in Print” as a whole, neatly summarizing the benefits of Zone 3’s latest project to the area.
“Public art initiatives like these foster a sense of belonging among communities, humanize and beautify our environments, encourage mindfulness, and inspire change and action.”
You can find out more about the project and where you can find posters here: https://www.zone3westernave.com/artinprint-13/.
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