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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dedication ceremony planned for West Pearl Street Mural Project in Nashua

NASHUA – If you take a stroll south on Main Street starting at the Hunt Memorial Building, you will see Art with a Splash, Riverside Barbecue, Studio Mark Emile and Darrell’s Music Hall.

Continuing down Main, Twill Yarn and Fabric is across from Dick Avard’s Haberdashery, Cardin Jewelry, Verde Salon and Scontsas Home Decor. ...

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NASHUA – If you take a stroll south on Main Street starting at the Hunt Memorial Building, you will see Art with a Splash, Riverside Barbecue, Studio Mark Emile and Darrell’s Music Hall.

Continuing down Main, Twill Yarn and Fabric is across from Dick Avard’s Haberdashery, Cardin Jewelry, Verde Salon and Scontsas Home Decor.

Walking farther along Main, you pass Wine Not Boutique, Fresh of Nashua, Jaja Belle’s Cafe, Myoptic, Ikebana Flower, Martha’s and TD Bank. Alec’s Shoes is across from the bank on West Pearl, with Fortin-Gage around the corner.

Before reaching City Hall, you see MT’s Local, Beckonings and Persian Rug Gallery.

What do all of these establishments have in common besides their downtown locations? They all helped make a dream come true.

Every one of these establishments was among the 110 individuals, organizations and businesses large and small that donated to “Vivian’s Dream,” the West Pearl Street Mural Project managed by City Arts Nashua.

“We are very pleased with the community involvement in this historic public art project,” said Kathy Hersh, president of City Arts Nashua. “It took us only a little over a year to raise over $30,000 in cash, in-kind donations and proceeds from fundraising events.”

Mural artist Barbara Andrews is spending her days high on a lift, finishing the painting of the 35- by 40-foot historic mural depicting West Pearl Street in 1909. The mural is on the wall next to the parking lot of the TD Bank branch on the corner of Main and West Pearl streets.

“It represents what this very site looked like in 1909,” Andrews said from her perch on the lift. “The large building in the foreground is the historic Tremont House hotel, which stood on the corner and covered the area all the way down to this parking lot. The hotel used to be attached to this wall.”

The building is owned by the Walker family, the major donor to the project.

“This project is very important to my family and to the vitality of West Pearl Street,” Phil Walker said.

His mother, Vivian Walker, was a downtown shopping icon and owner of Vivian’s dress shop in another building farther up the street.

“She always thought this wall would be a good site for a mural, and now that dream is becoming a reality,” Phil Walker said.

The Walker family donated cash as well as the extensive prep work on the wall, installing a drip edge on the roof, bumpers at the base of the wall to protect it from cars in the parking lot and a lighting system that will make the mural visible after dark.

“West Pearl was the economic center of Nashua in 1909,” Walker said. “It is still a wonderful area with shops, great in-town apartments and the City Room restaurant. With two additional restaurants about to locate on the street, and this massive public art project becoming a major attraction, more and more people will see West Pearl as the place to be once again.”

“City Arts Nashua believes that arts and culture are the heart and soul of a city,” Hersh said. “When a city has a rich and vibrant arts scene, people see it as a place they want to live, work and visit.

“Public art draws attention, attracts visitors and enhances the quality of life. It is good for community development and economic prosperity.”

Other major donors include Meri and Charles Goyette and TD Bank.

“This mural will be a showcase in downtown Nashua providing both an art experience for all to enjoy as well as an education on the history of the city,” Meri Goyette said. “People will stop and read the plaque, take pictures of the mural, learn and enjoy.”

A public dedication for the mural with Mayor Donnalee Lozeau is planned for 1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 20. The event will include music by Monument Square Brass, period songs by the Inside Track barbershop quartet from the Nashua Granite Statesmen and a guided walking tour of West Pearl by local historian Bob Sampson after the ceremony. Guests may dress in period attire, if so desired.

City Arts Nashua, is a nonprofit volunteer organization. Its mission is to expand and provide visibility for Greater Nashua’s artistic and cultural community.