June 1, 2006


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Mural for MCAM
Local painter-journeyman puts city on station wall
By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

Art can get dangerous. Painter Anthony Williams had a nice chat with law enforcement after taking photos of airplanes at the Manchester airport for research. He was trying to get just the right angle of a Southwest jet in flight to use for a Manchester mural.

“Anyway, it got straightened out,” Williams said. “It was kinda scary, I mean, I don’t look like an Al Qaeda.”

Manchester Community Access Media hired Williams to decorate a large empty wall in their new Millyard space at 540 N. Commercial St. Joe Lahr, executive director of MCAM, secured funding for the project from the Monarchs Care Foundation. MCAM wanted to do “something that depicted and celebrated Manchester,” Lahr said, adding, “We’re proud of the fact that we’re down in the Millyard.” Williams was one of the few artists Lahr was familiar with in the area who knew about murals.

The 11-foot by 7-foot mural is a depiction of Manchester’s past, present and future. The future Riverwalk pedestrian bridge is pictured, as well as the Verizon Wireless Arena, the Mill Girl statue, Central High School and City Plaza. Williams worked for about six weeks, finishing in March.

Because Williams started shooting elements he was going to paint during the winter, the scenes in the 77-square-foot acrylic mural are mostly snow-covered. A green sign for Union Street is central to include a street that people would immediately identify with Manchester. The mural is called “Manchester of America” or “Manchester Yesteryear and Today.”

“I’m going to push art in this town, push it until I’m dead,” Williams said. The city has everything else, he said including “high rents and bumpy streets.” Art is a “Tylenol” for city-living, he said. He lamented the destruction of a mural on a downtown building where the Hippo offices once were. “It was beautiful,” he said, but it was painted over.

Williams also paints houses both interior and exterior. He’s lived in Manchester since 1988, when he moved from Nashua.

You can view “Manchester of America” June 15 during the Open Doors Trolley Tour at MCAM, 5 to 8 p.m., and meet Williams. The station will also be hosting a Monetary Artists Collective “5 Senses Tour,” which Lahr said will showcase works that take advantage of the five senses.

Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at hippoflea.com

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