David Fichter has been creating murals and mosaics for 40 years in schools, libraries, health centers, universities, and other public spaces. The murals are colorful, figurative, and lively, often exploring themes of local history, multiculturalism, and natural environments. He is also a teaching artist who has worked in over 300 public schools as an artist in resident. Students of all ages have learned to design and paint permanent murals and glass mosaics that relate to their school culture. A highly visible example of the work with students is the Mystic River Mural Project in Somerville, MA, which was begun in 1996. This ongoing project combines art and science, as high school students explore the flora, fauna, and history of the watershed every summer and then bring it to life on the walls of their community. The mural has been added to every summer for 26 years and now measures 1500 ft. in length.
Some of the artist’s significant public art commissions include the following projects:
- Chelsea Resilient: Call and Response Through the Ages 15’X80’ acrylic paint on metal panels; Chelsea Resilient traces the rich history of this Massachusetts city from its beginnings as Winnisimmet, when Native American peoples fished and dug mussels on the banks of Chelsea Creek, to the urban, diverse city we know today. Across four centuries this community has repeatedly risen to overcome challenges and tragedies, responding with energy, heartfelt mutual concern, and an unquenchable drive to rebuild. The struggles and successes of each generation of Chelsea residents echo across history with a message of courage, determination, and optimism.
- Amherst Community History Mural, which is painted on a 150 ft. wall bordering the West Cemetery, where Emily Dickinson is buried. The Town of Amherst originally commissioned the mural in 2005.
- Sunday Afternoon on the Charles River: large-scale mural painted on the side of Trader Joes on Memorial Drive in Cambridge.
- The Potluck: a community portrait painted in Central Square, Cambridge in 1994.
- Native Waters: 300 ft. long mural on a concrete retaining wall, depicting the flora, fauna, and history of the watersheds of Georgia.
- The Larry Combest Health and Wellness Center Mosaics: commissioned by Texas Tech University Public Art Program on a neighborhood health clinic in Lubbock Texas. There are 4 mosaic murals (9ft. X 8ft. each) created in studio and then transported and installed on site. Collaboration of Fichter and Winer.
- The Story of Westfield: a mural in the reference room of the Westfield Athenaeum about the town of Westfield’s rich history (2010)
- The Wayne History Mural: 27’ X 150’ on an exterior wall of the Wayne State Theater in Wayne, Michigan. Designed and painted collaboratively with Joshua Winer. The mural was commissioned by the City of Wayne and depicts their history from the early 1800’s to the present, focusing on the theme of transportation.
- Water Power-The Water Science Mural: mural painted in the Water Science Department at the University of Wisconsin in 1992 and commissioned by the Wisconsin Arts Board.
- Lynn Mural Project: Stories of Lynn, which is a monumental mural/mosaic project in Central Square Lynn on the side of Lynn Arts. It depicts the vibrant history of Lynn on a monumental scale, and includes a large glass mosaic archway depicting present day Lynn from the perspective of youth. The mosaic was collaboratively made by students from 6 different Lynn Schools. David Fichter, Yetti Frenkel and Joshua Winer created the overall project. The project was funded by The New England Foundation For the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
David Fichter grew up on a farm outside Cincinnati, Ohio and his father worked as an architect, who trained under Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin. He graduated from the Putney High School in Vermont and from Harvard College with an AB in visual art and art history. He studied art history, painting, animation, film and theater design. He also designs sets and puppets primarily for the Central Square Theater in Cambridge. He has lived in Cambridge for 40.