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BEST OF THE ARTS 2020

Map: A dozen murals that brightened life in 2020

Victor “Marka27″ Quiñonez and Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs created "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" as a tribute to Nina Simone and her 1960s activism.
Victor “Marka27″ Quiñonez and Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs created "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" as a tribute to Nina Simone and her 1960s activism.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

If there was one upside in the Boston art scene in 2020, it was the arrival of so many gorgeous public murals.

As museums, theaters, and galleries shuttered in March to stop the spread of COVID-19, these wall-covering works started to appear at an increasing clip. For artists, they provided a medium for expression through the year’s personal devastation and political upheaval. For onlookers, they provided pick-me-ups and prompts for much-needed reflection.

As the pandemic wears on, walking around and looking at murals remains one of the safest ways to experience art. Here are 12 of our favorite places in and around Boston to admire these new works. Click on the paintbrush icon to see a photo of each piece.

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1. “Interconnected” by Sophy Tuttle. A 2,000-square-foot mural on the theme of nature, flooded with flora and fauna. 135 Western Ave., Allston

2. “Rules of Engagement” by Ricardo “Deme5″ Gomez. A different sort of Black Lives Matter mural declares “Respect Life.” 2565 Washington St., Boston

3. “Black Lives Matter in Color” by Jorge Morfin. Colorful portraits of victims of police brutality are plastered over the former Gallagher Insurance office. 50 Freeman St., Dorchester

4. “Breathe Life 2″ by Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs. One of three towering tributes to Black joy by one of Boston’s busiest and best-known muralists. 75 Malcolm X Blvd., Boston

5. “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Victor “Marka27″ Quiñonez and Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs. A celebration of 1960s civil rights activism by singer Nina Simone, found around I-93 in the South End. 90 Traveler St., Boston

6. Seawalls by various artists. Seven brand-new murals in East Boston, each completed by a local artist and dedicated to ocean conservation. 256 Marginal St., Boston

7. Sobek at the Fields Corner MBTA Station. Dorchester Art Project funded this colorful depiction of a Red Line MBTA train. 50 Freeman St., Dorchester

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8. “F U Shine, the cause of her grief” by Destiny Palmer. A swirl of purples, oranges, and blues meant “to reclaim space for the enslaved women of Noddle’s Island,” according to Palmer’s Instagram. 256 Marginal St. #16C, East Boston

9. “Dino City 1″ by Curtis “Curtistic” Williams. This apocalyptic black-and-white scene comes complete with a T-rex. 75 Malcolm X Blvd., Boston

10. Pearl Street Mural by Adelaide Bruce. A painting of a giant octopus atop a mixture of geometrical patterns, located outside Sarma Restaurant. 249 Pearl St., Somerville

11. “Black Lives Matter” by Paul “Mar” Chapman and Lee Beard. A 500-foot street mural with a Pan-African flag that reclaims “Nubian Square as one of the country’s most Black historical sites.” Washington Street between Eustis Street and Palmer Street

12. “Reflecting Inward” by Destiny Palmer. An abstract mural that evokes textiles, created via an art competition for a mixed-use development. 28 Austin St., Newtonville

Diti Kohli can be reached at diti.kohli@globe.com. Grace Griffin can be reached at grace.griffin@globe.com.