"Mad As Hell!"

Published by Chris Wangler - June 28, 2020.

That was artist Donna Laswell’s reaction to vandalism on wall art that she and her son created to help beautify Moody Street.

Last June, before Riverfest, Donna and Shawn Laswell set out to improve the area around 200 Moody Street, a vacant building across from Cronin’s Landing.

They cleaned up a grungy, needle-strewn concrete walkway near the Moody Street Bridge and painted designs on two large walls on the north and south sides of the building.

They did all the art with their own materials, on their own time, with the blessing of the building owner.

Their wall designs were vandalized recently. The large wall closest to the river was tagged with a mysterious slogan.

On the other side of the building, facing Gustazo’s new outdoor patio, a vandal added a sexually graphic image to a watch design the Laswells created.

Upset, the Laswells covered over the vandalized parts, but want to get the word out.

“This is something the entire Moody Street business population might want to be aware of,” Donna said.

In this file photo, Donna Laswell stands beside one of four 8' x 4' panels she created reflecting Waltham's history. A smaller banner reproduction of this panel was stolen from the Moody Street Bridge in 2017.



A well-known public artist, Donna created a Waltham mural at Prospect Hill and four panels celebrating the city’s history. Her attempts at urban beautification have been spoiled before.

Back in 2017, a banner reproduction of one of her four panels depicting Waltham’s industrial past was stolen from the Moody Street Bridge less than 24 hours after it was hung.

At the time, Donna filed a report with Waltham Police about the theft, but she isn’t planning on telling police this time. She’s hoping surveillance cameras could catch the vandals in the future.


Meanwhile, she’s worried that three small paintings she created for signs at Chemistry Station Park at Pine and Newton Streets could be next.

Original images on the signs faded to white since the park was dedicated in 2009. Earlier this month, a vandal defaced one them with a three-letter tag in spray paint.

Donna created fade-resistant replacements, working with Mayor Jeannette McCarthy.

“The mayor had plexiglass installed over all three of them and I coated the images with an anti-graffiti substance, but they could still get hit,” Donna said. “I pray they won’t!”