Two upcoming events in Nashua show that the Gate City’s art scene is evolving while still holding on to its heritage.
On Thursday, Aug. 18, artist Barbara Andrews will unveil her new mural outside Darrell’s Music Hall. Andrews hopes it is the first of many public murals she will create around the city. A few days after the unveiling — a nod to new projects in the city — art patrons will be able to share in an age-old tradition: on Saturday, Aug. 20, and Sunday, Aug. 21, the 58th Annual Greeley Park Art Show and Competition will be held in Greeley Park.
Although it has been around for more than a half century, the Greeley Park show is still trying to add new elements to entertain its future supporters, according to Jacqueline Barry, Nashua Area Artist Association president. This year Robin Ann Peters will inject a bit of movement into the show with her hula hoop demonstrations.
“It is something different,” Barry said. “It’ll be interactive and hopefully get people in a good mood. When people are in a good mood, they tend to buy more.”
In addition, George Parker will perform music; there will be a puppet show and an adult art show competition and spectators can visit with former Miss New Hampshire Krystal Muccioli.
In an effort to reward talent and encourage future artists, there were will be three $1,000 scholarships awarded, according to the Nashua Area Artist Association’s website, www.naaasite.org. The Nashua Area Artist Association, the Unitarian Universalist Calvin Libby Memorial Fund and the newly created Carlo Ripaldi Memorial Scholarship fund, in honor of the artist, who died this year, will be giving scholarships.
Like any event that has survived for such a long time, the Greeley Park Art Show has had its highs and lows. Last year 60 to 70 artists participated, according to Barry. This year that number has declined, but not significantly, to 50 to 55 artists, which she attributed to the difficult market for art. However, Barry did say she was receiving lots of last-minute applications.
“The show will be a little smaller than last year,” Barry said, “but it is still good for the artists to have their work displayed. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate.”
It did last year, according to Barry, who attributed much of the 57th year’s success to Mother Nature. However, she was quick to assign credit to the many talented artists who reside in Greater Nashua.
“This area is populated with artists,” Barry said. “Yet there aren’t too many outlets for them. A lot of galleries open and close and one of the reasons is that it is difficult to buy a painting for someone else.”
There will be plenty to buy in Greeley Park including paintings, photographs, jewelry, glasswork and much else.
While Greeley Park is steeped in history, Andrews is making her own. She has become a fixture in downtown as she has been seen high atop her scaffolding painting the public mural on the side of Darrell’s Music Hall. At the unveiling on Thursday night, Andrews will announce the name of the piece.
“It will be the beginning of many historical murals in downtown Nashua,” Andrews said.
This is not Andrews’ first contribution to Nashua. Last year she completed a mural of the New York City skyline at Espresso Pizza, 85 Main St., Nashua’s oldest pizza parlor. She is also working on a mural on Pearl Street and works closely with patron Meri Goyette. On the third Thursday of every month she holds a silent auction at 100 Main Street, an unused store front that has showcased many art exhibits, to raise money for mural projects and to bring attention to local artists.
“Nashua has a lot going on and even more potential,” Barry said before rattling off at least 10 different art activities going on in the city. “Look at Lowell. It used to be a place you tried to drive around. Now it is a destination. It takes time, word of mouth and perseverance.”