The street was closed and large second story windows of the building that houses the Hartford Public Library were taken out; now, two valuable murals have a new home.
The two murals, painted by famed Harlem Renaissance artist Romaire Bearden, hung at the XL Center (formally the Hartford Civic Center) since 1980 in relative obscurity. But they were moved to the public library on Friday so that the $4 million worth of art can be properly appreciated.
Matt Poland, the CEO of the Hartford Public Library, was part of the team to bring them to the open walls on the second floor of the building. "Now everybody can enjoy them," Poland said. The murals were taken down from the XL Center and restored in Bethel. Months of planning went into rigging and hoisting the works into the library. The largest mural is 10 feet by 16 feet, so getting it through the front door of the library wasn't an option. Instead, the second story windows were removed and the murals were hoisted inside.
The Bearden the first mural features a sports theme, showcasing a hockey and basketball player; the other mural shows a jazz music scene. The art is free to see at the Hartford Public Library.
"Everyone can enjoy the work of a muralist who was world renowned," Poland said.