A word with the artist of ‘Martha’s Muse’

Staff photo by Hannah LaClaire The mural ‘Martha’s Muse,’ which was painted by Manny Ramirez as Positive Street Arts Latest installation in downtown Nashua.

NASHUA – The city got a little more colorful this weekend, as local artist Manny Ramirez officially completed his newest mural.

Ramirez is the artist-in-residence for Positive Street Art, a local nonprofit organizations dedicated to spreading an interest in urban art in a positive manner, while promoting artistic education throughout the city.

The mural is featured prominently on the back wall of Martha’s Exchange, showing a woman holding a mug of beer, surrounded by sweet treats and a riot of color.

The piece took an estimated 110 hours, spread over the course of four weeks. He said it is done entirely in aerosols, or spray paint.

The goal was to capture some of the history of Martha’s Exchange, which started as Martha’s Sweet Shoppe in 1932. Later, the owners added seats and tables. They eventually started brewing beer, it is now a nighttime destination for the weekend crowd.

“My inspiration was the history of the restaurant, but I wanted to do it with my own little spin,” Ramirez said, calling the finished product “somewhat old time and futuristic.”

“I wanted to encompass everything with life and color,” something that, to look around the other murals downtown, seems to be a common theme in Ramirez’s work.

The mural also was a “thank you” to Martha’s, as the owners let Positive Street Art use some of their space (where the boutique Camaraderie is now located) for storage without charging. The mural was a sort of “trade of goods for services,” he said.

Ramirez is working on a few other commissions, but the “Take Courage” mural on Temple Street behind R’evolution Sports Bar is his next big and public project. A memorial for those lost to and struggling with opioid addiction, “Take Courage” is set to be unveiled Aug. 25, just in time for the Downtown Arts Festival.

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or hlaclaire@nashuatelegraph.com.