Fresh Air is a project by artist Silvia López Chavez, in which she filmed, photographed and made paintings of Chelsea residents holding their breath to bring attention to air quality issues in Chelsea, MA.
Chelsea is the smallest city in Massachusetts in terms of land area, with a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.4 km2). It is the second most densely populated city in Massachusetts behind Somerville.
Chelsea has one the highest asthma rate incidence along with Revere and Everett. It has heavy diesel trucking corridors that cut through and surround the city servicing many companies and industries. Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) is significantly higher for corridor towns, which is linked to respiratory deceases, lung cancer and asthma incidence. Chelsea is the 3rd most environmentally overburdened community in Massachusetts. It has the highest rate of respiratory illnesses (child-senior), strokes, and cardiovascular disease in Massachusetts.
WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died - one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.
Changes are starting to happen thanks to the hard work of Chelsea community organizers, residents advocates and leaders who are invested to make Chelsea thrive. We can make this historic city who has welcomed so many immigrants for hundreds of years, a much healthier place to live, work and play for many more to come.
This video is part of a larger art project by artist Silvia López Chavez, a Chelsea resident. Her Fresh Air project explores the environmental and political aspects within air quality issues in Chelsea, MA, inviting the community to participate by sharing their story and serving as models for mixed media portraits. The one-year project is partly funded by a LCC, Massachusetts Cultural Council grant.
Special thanks to Julio Santillán, for his original music. juliosantillan.com/
You can learn more about the artist here: silvialopezchavez.com