Meet the five “Wonder Women” decorating Malden’s bike path AND the women behind them

By Samantha Deras In the midst of bright colors and bold outlines, you can see five of Malden’s famous women looking back at you. A new Malden Arts mural by artist Amanda Hill highlighting five local “wonder women” was recently installed along the bike path this October (off Main St. between Charles and Madison St.). Malden Arts is a community organization that was founded in 2006 by former Maldonian Naomi Brave who is on its board of directors along with four other women: Candace Julyan, Robin Inman, Naomi Kahn, and Sharon Santillo. The group’s mission is to bring art to the Malden community and put the spotlight on local artists. “As much as we want to support local artists and all that they do, we felt that not everyone goes to galleries, not everyone goes to museums, but public art is truly for everyone involved in this very diverse community,” Malden Arts historian Sharon Santillo said. “And we wanted to put art out there that everybody could enjoy, just in their daily life or as […]


Frank Stella: An iconic artist returns home

By Anne D’Urso-Rose World-famous contemporary artist Frank Stella is a Malden native, but his work has never been part of the treasured art collection of the Malden Public Library. That is, until now. In an exemplary display of local generosity and a full-circle story of returning home, the library has now acquired three works by Stella. Those works were unveiled during a private reception on Sunday, Nov. 4, at the library. In attendance was Stella, who was visiting  his hometown  – and one of his favorite places of his childhood  – for the first time in many decades. One of his works had been purchased through the generosity of local patron John L. Giso and two were donated by the artist himself. “This is more than we could have hoped for,” said John Tramondozzi, President of the Library Board of Trustees and Chair of the Trustee’s Art Committee. “We have wanted to acquire a Frank Stella piece for years.” Stella is one of the foremost living artists in the world today. He is known for […]


Little Free Libraries “Revive” Malden’s Neighborhood Libraries

  By Sharon Santillo An international effort that encourages citizens to set up free neighborhood book exchanges has arrived in Malden. Moreover, these “little free libraries” are bringing back a miniature version of the neighborhood libraries that the city lost beginning in the 1980s. Sparked by the non-profit organization, Little Free Library, Malden residents are creating tiny spaces where anyone passing by can take a book to read or leave a book for someone else to find. The first little free library was created by Todd Bol in 2009 to honor his deceased mother who loved to read. He built a one-room schoolhouse model and put it on a post in the front yard of his Wisconsin home and filled it with books. He shared the idea and it spread globally. Now there are over 50,000 little free libraries across the United States and in over 70 countries. Soon you will see these small libraries around Malden. Malden Arts has received a grant from the  Malden Cultural Council to register 10 little free libraries in Malden […]


Who was Herbert L. Jackson?

Did you know that Malden’s city hall’s council chamber is named the Herbert L. Jackson Council Chambers? And did you know that a switchbox art project on Salem Street has been created to commemorate Herbert L. Jackson? Who was this favorite son of Malden? Herbert L. Jackson was the first African American ever elected to the Malden City Council. Councillor Jackson has the distinction of a 30 year career in public service. He was first elected as a councillor for Ward 7 from 1945 to 1947, and in Ward 5 from 1947 to 1951 and as a City Councillor-at-Large from 1965 to 1975.  He served as president of the Malden City Council four times during his political career. Furthermore, Jackson was the first African American elected as a State House Representative in the 20th century, serving from 1950 to 1954. The City of Malden achieved national prominence in the election of Herbert L. Jackson as a Massachusetts District Governor of Lions Club and again, he was the first African American elected to such a post in the […]


Frank Stella re-connects with hometown Malden

As a boy growing up in Malden, renowned artist Frank Stella remembers passing his time at the Malden Public Library and playing outside with friends along what is now the Northern Strand Bike Trail. Stella, who was born in 1936, left Malden for New York City in 1958 after graduating from Oberlin College and never returned, making his mark on the art world with his abstract paintings, sculpture, and geometric designs. His work has shown widely throughout the world, including the Guggenheim and Museum of Modern Art in New York City. On March 18, 2014, Stella returned to the area to accept an award from WalkBoston for the Walkability Initiative propelled by Malden resident Sharon Santillo in collaboration with Mayor Gary Christenson. Stella’s artwork is incorporated in the wayfaring signs that promote walking in Malden. WalkBoston, which awarded the trio (Santillo, Christenson, and Stella) with the organization’s “Golden Shoe” award, noted that Malden’s walking initiative was the first to combine walkability with art. Santillo, herself an artist, was inspired by the work of Stella and […]