Published in The Day

By Sarah Gordon

Norwich ― Armed with brushes, paint cans, ladders and hats to protect them from the sun, four local artists got to work Wednesday painting a mural on a Norwich Public Utilities substation.

The group was led by Samson Tonton, who designed the mural marking the nation’s upcoming 250th anniversary in 2026.

“We all worked together to come up with something that we thought honored the past of the Greeneville section of Norwich and it’s rich history of immigrants,” said Tonton, an art teacher in the city’s school system.

The trolleys that once ran on the city’s streets and the mill buildings that still stand are featured on the mural, which is easily visible along North Main Street.

Area churches and children working in textile mills will also be depicted, as well George Washington, who visited the city on a number of occasions.

The mural will also include the portraits of four residents and the flags of four countries that immigrants came here from.

Tonton said he wanted the mural to be colorful and graphic.

“We really wanted to honor the immigrants and diverse, complicated past of Norwich,” he said, “as well as its future and what’s to come.”

NPU partnered with the Sankofa Education and Leadership/Public Art for Racial Justice Education, NAACP Robertsine Duncan Youth Council, Norwich Free Academy, Greeneville Neighborhood Revitalization, and the Norwich Historical Society on the project. It is funded in part by a grant from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, said Chris Riley, NPU’s communications and community outreach manager.

On Friday, there will be an event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in which community members can assist the artists.