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History at Large

A bank decorates its interior with large-scale murals.

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According to muralart.com, a Website that celebrates mural artists and their work, "Murals can awaken our conscience and stir our hearts." Whether they’re painted on a city’s street wall or digitally produced for a prestigious bank’s interior, murals are hip forms of artistic expression.

In 2000, the Boston Federal Reserve Bank commissioned Marshfield Hills, MA-based artist and consultant Dorothy Simpson Krause to create a series of art pieces depicting the company’s history. Working primarily from historical documents and photos from the bank’s archives, Dorothy initially created five visuals, each measuring 32 x 48 in.

In addition, she was asked to create a 178 x 751/4-in. mural comprising five, 341/4x 73-in. panels, as well as a 2341/2 x 751/2-in. mural comprising seven, 321/4 x 73-in. panels. Dorothy designed the murals — which, like the original visuals, depict historical themes — to complement the bank’s fourth-floor conference center’s two, 31/2 in.-deep, curved wall niches.

According to Dorothy, "Unlike billboards, which are designed to make immediate impressions, large-scale artwork is typically displayed in public spaces and intended for longer viewing periods."

For the project, Dorothy carefully considered how the pieces were going to be viewed. Because they were intended for close viewing, she ensured the scenes were detailed and would carry for a distance, and not bore viewers.

She explained, "The goal was for people to move past the artwork, view the scenes sequentially and not soon forget them."

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Because the project area was being renovated, the bank’s architect and designer could share their visions with Dorothy. To coincide with the newly remodeled area’s architecture, Dorothy primarily incorporated gold, deep-red and brown color combinations into both the small and large mural sections. In addition, she implemented traces of pink, magenta and turquoise into the large pieces.

"Throughout all the murals," she noted, "gold and brown are pretty prominent — these colors complement the surrounding architecture."

To design the bank’s mural pieces, Dorothy used Adobe Photoshop

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