Nashua, in the abstract
Get an art lesson in the bank line
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
Nashua is getting a lesson on abstract art.
Hampshire First Bank opened this year at 221 Main St. in Nashua and will dedicate wall space to work by local artists.
“We want this bank to be highly connected into progressive community development efforts,” said Alan S. Manoian, economic development officer for Hampshire First.
However, longtime Nashua patron of the arts Meri Goyette took a look at the traditional pieces hung in the 1929 Montgomery Ward building and said, “Alan, let’s broaden our perspective, shall we?” he recalled.
Goyette used to arrange for emerging artists to show work in Boston, and has arranged for “American Abstract Expressionism: Visual Art and Sculpture Exhibition” at Hampshire First. She’s also providing binders of biographical information on the artists so viewers can get an education.
“I think in the abstract ... It just turned me on. Most of my collection is abstract,” Goyette said. “The fact is that abstract is here to stay,” she said. Yet she still hasn’t seen it catch on in Nashua.
Manoian is also an abstract art advocate and painter. The works Goyette is hanging at Hampshire First are “museum quality,” he said. He plans to invite art students from area high schools and colleges to explore the exhibit.
“This is damn good stuff,” Goyette said. The Hampshire Bank exhibit includes works by Saliba Douaihy, an abstract and stained glass artist who was born in Lebanon and lived in the U.S. after 1950 for several years before moving to London. Goyette said Douaihy showed his work at “Salon Des Artistes,” which she held weekly at the Hotel Meridien in Boston. His stained glass windows are in the church of Our Lady of the Cedars of Lebanon, at Jamaica Plain, Boston.
Goyette arranged for shows at Prudential Center, the Boston State House, Fanueil Hall Rotunda and Boston Bay Bank in previous years. The French salon was a gathering for both entertainment and education. At Hotel Meridien, Goyette often rounded out the day with a concert or poetry reading.
At Hampshire First, Goyette plans to include work by Enrico Vittorio Pinardi, a painter and sculptor whose work is at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and De Cordova Museum. Donald Stoltenberg is a painter, printmaker, teacher and author originally from Wisconsin. His work is also now at the MFA, among others. There will also be work by Philip Tsiaras, an international painter, poet, sculptor and photographer who was born in Nashua in 1952 and lives in New York. Tsiaras traveled to Greece in 1976 on a fellowship to translate modern Greek poetry into English. His visual art has been presented in more than 70 solo exhibitions.
Victor Vasarely’s (1908-1997) work is in museums throughout the world, including the Tate Gallery in London. He’s known as the father of “optical art,” (vasarely.com).
Goyette has also included work by painter and collage artist Gloria Rosenthal, and Shakong Wang, a watercolor and portrait artist who also showed at Salon des Artistes. Goyette is also including work by a local sculptor who works internationally. John Weidman is the executive director of the Andres Institute of Art sculpture park in Brookline. Another local work will be Kenneth Mayo’s bronze “Rhino.”
The private and public sectors in Nashua “need to start advancing the creative class economy,” Manoian said. The creative class encompasses professions related to the arts, like sound engineering and screenwriting. “In Nashua we need to be constantly vigilant to keep advancing this segment of our economy,” Manoian said. He was the economic development director for the City of Nashua for several years.
Pushing for provocative art shows is a way to encourage the young creative class to return once they graduate from college, he said. Nashua needs to move from seeing the arts as a “nice distraction” and look at the segment as a key part of the city’s economic future, he said.
In the abstract
Alan Manoian of Hampshire First and “Jack Kerouac expert” Nashua Unitarian Universalist Rev. Stephen D. Edington will read from works by Jack Kerouac. (With the exception of Jack, the Kerouac’s are buried in Nashua.) Music by Charlie “Bird” Parker and Miles Davis will be featured.
Meet some of the artists and learn about abstract at the grand opening of the “American Abstract Expressionism” exhibit Friday, Sept. 28, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Hampshire First Bank, 221 Main St., in Nashua, 578-2652.