History continues in next phase of Derry mural project

Courtesy imageThe next phase of Derry's downtown mural project is set to begin. The newest portion of the mural will be painted next to the first phase of the project, and will continue to highlight Derry's rich history and the state's traditions.

DERRY — More local history will take an artistic shape on a downtown business wall, paying tribute to Derry and its rich past.

The next phase of a Broadway mural project got a big vote of support at a recent Planning Board meeting.

Cask and Vine co-owner Alana Wentworth, along with local artist Karen Lincoln presented the planned mural image design at the meeting, saying it was a continuation of the mural that was completed last year, currently on display on the side exterior wall at Cask and Vine on Broadway.

Internationally-known mural company Wall Dogs and a team of traveling artists completed the first phase of the mural last year. This time Lincoln and Wentworth will be joined by a team of volunteers to sketch out the mural image on the wall and do the painting.

The original mural shows Derry through the generations and some of the town’s most famed historical buildings and times, including the original Nutfield settlement in 1719, the beginning of Pinkerton Academy in 1814, and East Derry native Alan B. Shepard Jr.’s space flight in 1961.

The newest phase to be added on the wall’s remaining 48 feet will focus on downtown historical buildings like the old firehouse building on West Broadway, now the Halligan Tavern, local businesses like Benson Lumber and Hardware, and tributes to Hood farm along with images of the historic fountain now in MacGregor Park, flowers, birds and other salutes to New Hampshire.

“We thought this would be a good way to represent the history of Derry and the greater history of New Hampshire,” Lincoln said, adding it will be appropriate to be located in the cultural district.

Bringing the arts to town is an ongoing effort. A public arts group in Derry got its start last year to gauge interest in public arts projects. That group is now an official group under the Greater Derry Arts Council.

Town councilors also approved a measure last year creating a new cultural district designation in town, an area earmarked to lead the way when it comes to highlighting the arts, culture, business and other things that will attract people here.

The town’s trail system got a big boost of artistic support earlier this year as Lincoln, Wentworth and others painted colorful symbols and the words of famed poet Robert Frost on paved portions of the trail. Frost and his family called Derry home for nearly a decade while the poet taught English at Pinkerton Academy.

Businesses, families and individuals wanting to support the mural project would also be recognized.

Wentworth said the mural could be completed by October.

Derry Economic Development Director Beverly Donovan said a project like the mural can support a community like Derry, bringing in more visitors to town and strengthening the economic climate of the area. She added Derry is lucky to have such talented volunteers, organizations and businesses working together to create interesting places to visit.

“In the downtown area, we have seen an uptick in people traveling the rail trail on a consistent basis and the town and various locations are being tagged on social media more frequently, so we know this type of collaboration works,” Donovan said. “Plus, it’s just plain fun.”

Town Councilor Richard Tripp called the mural project another great way to help put Derry on the map.

“We hope to make Derry a cultural, happening place,” Tripp said. “This is another step in doing that.”

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