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Upham's Corner is a commercial center in Dorchester, the largest and most historic neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The intersection of Dudley Street/Stoughton Street and Columbia Road is the heart of Upham's Corner, and one of Dorchester's main business districts. It is served by the recently expanded MBTA's Fairmount Indigo Line Commuter Rail (Upham's Corner stop)  and several bus lines.
The district has several historical sites, including the Strand Theatre, the Columbia Square Masonic Hall Building (1895), and Dorchester North Burying Ground (1634), one of the nation’s oldest and one of seven seventeenth-century burying grounds in Boston. In addition to the Jones Hill neighborhood, the Upham's Corner business district is surrounded by other pleasant tree-lined residential neighborhoods - Virginia-Monadnock/Upham's Corner Westside, Nonquit Street, Eastman/Elder, and Annapolis Street area - that are home to a diverse mix of people, including Caucasians of European descent, Cape Verdeans, Hispanics, African Americans and West Indians. Recently, there has been a major influx of young professionals, gays, and working artists to the neighborhood, adding to its diversity. Dining options in the area include southern soul food cuisine as well as several ethnic restaurants including Cape Verdean, Caribbean, Chinese, Greek, and Italian.
In 2005, the city of Boston made a $6 million, four-year capital investment to rejuvenate the historic Strand Theatre in Upham's Corner. On January 9, 2007, Mayor Thomas Menino gave his State of the City Address from the stage of the Strand Theatre to help bring attention to restoration efforts and help revive the venue's historic prominence in the city of Boston.
Upham's Corner is named for Amos Upham (1788-1879), who opened a dry goods store in 1804 on the site of the present Columbia Square building. This store was run by three generations of the Upham family, into the mid 1890s.
The Edward Everett Elementary School, Boston Collegiate Charter Middle and High Schools, the William E. Russell Elementary School, the Roger Clap Innovation School, the John W. McCormack School, and the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot School are located near Upham's Corner.
In 2014, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a major municipal investment in the Upham’s Corner Main Street area's infrastructure. The $3.1 million investment was put in place to help finance a number of neighborhood initiatives, including revamping local storefronts, adding street and sidewalk lights and improving the Strand Theatre. The monetary move also had positive implications in the realm of public art.
Mayor Walsh's transition focused on fostering public art and injecting culture into each of Boston's various neighborhoods, along with bringing Boston to the forefront of global innovation and technology. One of the recommendations relayed by his Arts & Culture Transition Team included committing "dedicated funding to the arts and increase that funding until Boston ranks among the top five cities in the nation as measured by per capita support for its diverse arts and culture activity."
As per Mayor Walsh's announcement, new arts and culture programs through the Upham’s Corner ArtPlace initiative will help to boost the commercial district's aesthetics, including a $500,000 public art commission from the Boston Foundation and Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative.
The DSNI has since commissioned Cedric Douglas to head the project, which was put on permanent display in the neighborhood. The new funding allowed for more dexterity in crowdsourcing ideas for what Douglas's work of art shaped up to be.
"The first phase of the commission is a three-month process during which Cedric and his UP Truck team will hold artistic interventions, games, community meetings, etc. to engage residents to see what type of art should be created and where in Upham’s," continued Rosselló-Cornier. "Unlike many other public art commissions, there’s no preconceived notion of what artist's piece is, in what medium will it be created and, or, where it will be installed."
The UP Truck is almost exactly what you think it is: a food truck-like vehicle that travels around Boston promoting urban art. In fact, it bills itself as "a mobile creative arts lab for community engagement using unconditional ways to engage people in the arts. UP inspires spontaneous discovery, creativity, and fun."
Using the UP Truck, Douglas is able to effectively traverse the area to get the best possible idea of what residents want to see displayed as a work of art that embodies the neighborhood's core values.