Artist named Derry's first Artist Laureate

Artist Karen Munday Lincoln works on the new mural off South Avenue in Derry earlier this year. Lincoln was named Derry’s first artist laureate and was honored by Town Council with a proclamation to celebrate her work.

DERRY —A local artist is being celebrated for her commitment to the community and has earned a first ever title in Derry for her efforts and talents.

Karen Munday Lincoln was named Derry’s first ever artist laureate, an honor that town officials say is well-deserved to honor the public arts efforts Lincoln has helped spearhead in Derry in recent years.

At a Town Council meeting, Derry Economic Development Director Beverly Donovan said Lincoln is worthy of the honor, saying the artist has been a public fixture in many artistic ventures in Derry; painting downtown business windows along with images of Robert Frost poetry and colorful animals along the Derry rail trail.

She also led an effort to bring a 411-foot mural off South Avenue to life, depicting the history and success of many pilots and astronauts, including East Derry’s own Alan B. Shepard Jr., first American in space.

The newest mural project was a community collaboration with the Greater Derry Arts Council Public Arts Committee, Lincoln, Derry Heritage Commission, the town, and many other organizations, groups and volunteers pitching in to help organize, research and paint the mural.

For Lincoln, the mural was the longest she’s done. Lincoln was also instrumental in the planning and painting of other murals on business walls on Broadway.

It was special, Lincoln said, to have the opportunity to work on this mural, given the strong history and this year being the 50th anniversary of Shepard’s steps on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission.

As the newest mural was taking shape earlier this year, thanks to local artists and many volunteers, Lincoln said she was the daughter of a geologist who loves to fly planes, adding her parents raised her to always see the bigger picture.

Lincoln also credited all the people who helped, including local students who painted, or provided ideas for images.

The artist noted that the Derry rail trail is a community gem, with many people walking the trails and stopping to view the mural along the way. As she and others were painting this summer, many stopped to chat about the history.

Donovan said Lincoln’s talents and efforts were something the town should celebrate and honor.

“That mural was a labor of love,” Donovan said.

Donovan added that during the creation of the new aviation mural, Lincoln became sort of a “space geek,” and to pay tribute to her efforts, Donovan presented the artist with a vintage set of vinyl albums depicting actual voice transmissions during the lunar moon landings of the past.

“I hope you have a record player,” Donovan told Lincoln at the recent meeting.

Councilors also took time to honor Lincoln’s community arts efforts, with Chairman Jim Morgan reading an official proclamation naming her the town’s first artist laureate.

In a social media post soon after the honor, Lincoln said she was “humbled and floored.”

“Creating art has been a tool I have used to explore, to manage stress and mental illness, to challenge my skills, to learn, to try to understand this mystery of life and, importantly, to share stories,” she wrote on Facebook.

She went on, “I believe that when we create, we can help ourselves heal and process both trauma and beauty. What we leave behind — our art — then sparks joy and contemplation in others, inspiring people to pick up their own creative tools to do the same, in this way, conversations begin and community unfolds.”

Lincoln added that working with so many in the community on the many public arts efforts was an “absolute joy.”

“My intention with public art is simple, I want to share joy,” she wrote.

Lincoln invited people to learn more, get involved and offer ideas about public arts projects that could continue to support Derry.

Trending Video

This Week's Circulars

Recommended for you