Local Artist Transforms Borum With Bright, Welcoming Murals

Fenway Health’s Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center has long been a second home for many area youth, offering safe, non-judgmental care for young people who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else. Now, thanks to a talented local artist, Borum patients will enter a care center that is more colorful, bright, and welcoming than ever before. Two new murals now adorn the waiting rooms of the Borum, both sending one powerful message: You belong here.

Bren Bataclan, a South End-based artist, has been creating art professionally since 2003. Born in the Philippines and raised in San Francisco, Bataclan’s work combines the bright color palate of Manila, the stylistic influences of Japanese anime, and the street art movement of San Francisco.

In addition to creating many murals for schools and hospitals, Bataclan is known for leaving his paintings – free for the taking – around cities all over the world. His goal? To give everyone the chance to own art, and to brighten the lives of strangers.

“I want to spread happiness and joy,” he explained. “I want to do what I can to make the world a happier place.”

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The cheerful style and playful colors of Bataclan’s work perfectly complement the Borum’s mission to be an affirming, diverse space where youth from a wide range of backgrounds and needs – whether LGBT-identified, homeless, street-involved, HIV-positive, or struggling with substance abuse – can find compassionate care. As the murals show, all are welcome at the Borum!

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Fenway Health holds a special place in Bataclan’s heart. “A lot of my friends either go to Fenway or work there, and both my husband and I have been patients,” he said. “Fenway is part of our history.”

Bataclan’s favorite part of the mural project was getting to know the staff and patients that make the Borum such a special place. “The folks who go to the Borum see it as their home and their community,” he said. “I feel like all the words that I painted there – especially the ‘welcome’ mural – are really true to the Borum.”

(L-R) Coco Alinsug, Fenway Health Senior Manager, Outreach & Insurance; Ralph Vetters, MD, Medical Director of the Borum; artist Bren Bataclan

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