The Butterfly Mural Migration: A Community-Led Journey in Art and Ecology

Aug 30, 2023Arts & Culture, Feature Story, Grantee

Sponsored by the Essex County Community Foundation’s Creative County Initiative

“I’ve been working as an artist for a couple of decades and trying to figure out how to tell people about the environmental crisis that we’re a part of, not to scare them but to offer a solution. This project has allowed me to see changes right in my backyard.” — Jenn Houle, Project Coordinator.

The Art of Ecology

In the heart of Massachusetts, artist Jenn Houle and the communities of Amesbury, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence, Merrimac, Newbury, and West Newbury have embarked on an artistic journey. They are using public art to highlight the significance of native plants to pollinators and the ecosystem’s overall health. The project, dubbed ‘Plant Paint Cross-Pollinate,’ has engaged residents through community art events since the beginning of this year.

Plant and Paint: The Genesis

In January and February 2023, 15 large-scale butterfly murals came to life during the ‘Plant and Paint’ events. Participants planted native seeds to take home, hand-collected by local garden and environmental groups and Jenn Houle herself. This initiative was more than just an art project; it was an educational experience to inspire eco-friendly land care.

The Migration Takes Flight

Come May, the ‘Butterfly Mural Migration’ will take to the streets, gracing public conservation lands, libraries, and schools through October 2023. Throughout this period, Jenn Houle will add five more murals to the collection, each showcasing one of the five families of butterflies native to Massachusetts. These new murals will focus on the local plants essential for the various stages of a butterfly’s life. Each new mural will join the migration from June to October on the first day of every month.

A Community Effort

This community-centric project gained momentum from local sponsors whose names will appear on the signs, amplifying awareness about native plants and eco-friendly practices. Camp Kent at the pollinator gardens, one of the Amesbury butterfly mural migration sites, has been an enthusiastic participant. The site offers a connecting trail to another gem, Batis Farm, a popular location for community gardens and walking trails.

Making a Lasting Impact

Jenn Houle, the project coordinator, sums it up beautifully. She is not just an artist but also a mother, keen on making a difference for future generations. This project is a testament to what can be achieved when a community comes together with a shared vision for a more sustainable and beautiful world.

This project was made possible thanks to the support of the Essex County Community Foundation’s Creative County Initiative.

For more information on how you can participate or support this initiative, please visit our official website or contact us directly.