Al Wilson is the Founder and Executive Director of Beyond Walls. He has extensive management, marketing, sales, and operation experience with technology and media entities. He has specific knowledge centered in facets of online, marketplace models, as well as digital, print, and broadcast media operations.
In 2016, Al and a robust volunteer committee launched a grass-roots effort to implement four inaugural large scale public art installations in downtown Lynn, a post-industrial city located just 10 miles north of Boston. Inspired by projects in Brooklyn, New York; Philadelphia, PA; Kings Cross, London; and Wynwood, Miami, Al recognized Lynn's rich history, distinctive architecture, and burgeoning arts and cultural district as the perfect landscape in which to test the creative economy. In response to community input, which highlighted the need for increased walkability and more public art, Beyond Walls facilitated a Mural Festival with internationally renowned artists, implemented dynamic LED Lighting under three dark underpasses, installed 12 vintage neon artworks on dimly lit street corners, and created a sculpture paying homage to the city’s industrial past. Inaugural projects attracted significant media attention. The 2017 Mural Festival alone garnered in excess of 75 positive news stories celebrating both Beyond Walls and the city, made 4.5 million impressions on social media, and boasted 5,000 visitors. A post festival study and survey found local business owners citing increased foot traffic in their establishments and residents returning to the downtown area, deeming it a safer environment to buy a coffee, go on a date, and generally work, shop, and play. Al now leads a team of four who have backgrounds in city planning, arts administration, and fundraising. Building on the Beyond Walls model, Al and his team will continue to better the public realm and increase safety and economic vitality through the implementation of major art installations and programming that reflect the interests and cultural make up of communities served.
Al is a North Shore resident.
A Lynn, MA native and resident, Pedro Soto earned his Master of Regional Planning at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His thesis project explored the development of alternative methodologies used to assess the health of rural food systems. Pedro also attended Salem State University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts, with a focus on Political Science. Pedro is passionate about engaging a diverse citizenry through participatory planning, building grassroot networks of creative professionals, and spearheading placemaking projects that strengthen the fabric of urban communities. Additionally, he is a Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Adjunct Fellow with MassDevelopment focused on supporting economic development initiatives in downtown Lynn.
In his spare time, he enjoys printmaking, photography and consults with a faith-based economic development non-profit in Amherst, MA and the Dominican Republic.
Julia graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, with a Bachelor's Degree majoring in english and creative writing and minoring in studio art. Her interest in the arts and passion for connecting with people brought her to fundraising and external relations for museums and cultural institutions. Before coming to Beyond Walls, she has gathered a plethora of experiences in marketing, communications, and development at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, MA, and the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA. Most recently she worked at the Museum of Science, Boston where she focused on strategic initiatives in individual giving and fundraising events.
She is also currently pursuing a Masters in Arts Administration from Boston University and resides on the North Shore.