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Public Art Tour | Cambridge Arts Council
List View Map View

"Room of Maps"

Conley, Alston

Mid-Cambridge, Mural

359 Broadway

Cambridge, MA 02139

Location Description: Longfellow School, west wall of school library

Date: 1983

Materials: Fresco

Dimensions: 20'3" x 5'3" x 2'1"

The inspiration for Alston Conley's four-part mural is the "map room" found in many Renaissance-era Italian government buildings. In Conley's words, maps historically represented "influence, trade, knowledge, and power." This mural certainly encourages knowledge - it's located on the west wall of the school library and can be used as a teaching tool. It also celebrates the international character of the school. At the time of Conley's commission, Longfellow School's student body represented 43 different countries. Made with the Renaissance-era technique of fresco painting, this map, says Conley, "is intended to remind us of the changing world we all belong to."

 

Conley first encountered map rooms in the early 1980s, when he traveled to Italy on a Fulbright scholarship. Although he is one of the few artists still practicing the art of fresco painting, he now concentrates on the "more portable" medium of oil painting. Conley has exhibited in solo and group shows around the country and his work is in several museums and corporate collections. Educated at the Pratt Institute, the Boston Museum School, and Tufts University, he serves as an adjunct professor in Fine Arts at Boston College and is curator for Boston College's McMullen Museum of Art.