The Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District (DSSD) kicked off Bridgeport Art Trail weekend by celebrating the success of its collaboration with property owner Fred Frassinelli and mural artist Alicia Cobb to produce a public mural commemorating the legacy of Bridgeport’s musical history.
Downtown Bridgeport is a commercial area that represents and serves a diverse tapestry of the wider Bridgeport community. The public parks and independently owned restaurants and shops that populate the street-level spaces in the neighborhood create connection points that foster the sense of community so special to the Downtown and the city. The mural unveiled on Thursday, November 11, 2021, “colored in” another corner of an emerging public art destination within Downtown Bridgeport.
The installation connects the Broad Street Steps with the ground mural at Peacock Alley, the mural honoring Mary & Eliza Freeman at 15 Elm Street, the Arrows Weave mural across the street, and the historic Works Progress Administration/New Deal era murals inside of the Bridgeport Post Office. The mural titled, “The Middle Street Music Mural,” will attract daily visitors to enjoy the improved physical setting of the street and educate them about the history and legacy of recorded music in the building.
The Middle Street Music mural finds its home at a building with a well-documented connection to American music history. The upper floors previously housed Paul Leka’s recording studio. As was noted in the book Only in Bridgeport, Paul Leka was a Bridgeport native, who wrote songs and recoded music for world-famous acts like REO Speedwagon, Harry Chapin, and Stevie Wonder. Leka made an indelible mark on music history with his well-known song, Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye. A favorite of baseball fans across the country.
Current tenant Edwin Ramos, founder of Platinum Room Recorders, advised on the design of the mural.“Learning about the chart topping music that was created at this site in our very historical city was the biggest inspiration behind the mural. It is exciting to be a part of honoring the history and current use of the space with this mural. It represents the history, diversity, and commitment to community in the beautiful city of Bridgeport.,” said Alicia Cobb, the artist who created the mural.“I am so pleased to see this project come together. I knew the building’s history and wanted to find a way to share it with the public. Alicia’s design just hit all the right notes, and connected the legacy of the site with what has been created here. I look forward to what our current and future tenants will bring to the space and what they will add to the revitalization of Downtown Bridgeport," said Fred Frassinelli, sponsor of the mural and owner of the building where it was installed.
“We are so excited to support this mural in Downtown Bridgeport. This commercial and residential community radiates with diversity, and this mural project will provide an opportunity to add vibrancy, spread color and joy through public art, and add to the neighborhood’s identity making our place one of value. Our Color It In public art program continues to activate different sites as a means to enhance the experience of residents, daytime workers, and visitors to the Downtown. We thank Fred for his vision and Alicia for her artistry. Together we are creating a destination that welcomes residents and visitors alike to explore,” said Lauren Coakley Vincent, President and CEO of the Bridgeport DSSD.The process to create the mural engaged neighborhood stakeholders to add to the growing network of murals in pedestrian plazas, creating a pathway connected by visual art through different elements of the neighborhood. The Bridgeport DSSD is complementing the installation with the launch of an online guide to the Downtown’s works of public art, inspiring a walking path or informal tour of the many sites.
Access the guide at colorfulbridgeport.com/color-it-in-mural and be on the lookout for sidewalk stickers next to the sites where the artworks are located. The QR codes on those sidewalk stickers take visitors to the guide on the website.