Bill Mellett Photography

Using my own life's experiences as the canvas for my work.

Heaven in Hartford

Heaven is kind of an urban oasis for the youth of downtown Hartford. It’s a place where life is lived out loud. It’s part skatepark where young folks can get physical with a skateboard or bike and part artists’ canvas.  Only, it’s not exactly canvas. It is a lot of poured concrete and concrete block formed into a jumps and ramps and lots of large flat surfaces to spray paint on.

It is its own little world sitting in distinct contrast litereally in the shadows of tall corporate office buildings.  It is also part of the structure over the interstate highway I-84.  Heaven is probably not seen by the people glazing out of the corporate offices as an oasis to them.  They probably see the park as an eyesore.  Indeed, the park has been under threat of closing.

Step in Jet Blue Airlines. Jet Blue donated money to the city in order for them to be able to pay to keep the park open.  This is where the story gets interesting.  The artist community wanted to show their thanks to the company so, they created a huge mural in Jet Blue’s honor.  What is really interesting is that this mural itself as well as all of the art here has its own life as well.

The JB mural is really big.  It is on the single biggest wall and it is a drawing of a jet landing at dawn with the barb-wired toped fence, control tower and all.  What I hadn’t expected to learn is that the mural had been up for several months and nobody tried to deface the artwork.  In fact, to the naked eye all of the graffiti might look like vandalism but, it isn’t.  The artwork is meant to change over time as different artists put their mark on the surfaces.

I actually witnessed this in action. I visited heaven over two evenings. My photos below are in rough chronological order.  Compare the beginning photos of the control tower from the later ones.  You can see how the drawing changed.  It was improved.  I saw the four guys get out of a car with spray cans and tune up the mural.  

I will definitely visit here again.  I’m really interested to see how the park would have changed over a longer period of time.