Galleries : And the Winner Is: "Gateway to the Island"
When artist Anne Grandin, a seasonal Vineyard resident, saw the Tisbury Mural Committee's call to Island artists for their mural design competition, her husband John encouraged her to participate. So she called her friend, architect Tom Larson, and they combined their knowledge of art and architecture that resulted in the winning design.
There were six other responses to the posting, entries that were displayed at the Tisbury Library this past September with a box provided for comments from the public. Votes were also anonymously cast by three Tisbury town selectmen. Taking into consideration the public's noted reactions and the selectmen's votes, the committee came to a unanimous decision.
"It was weird," says Ms. Grandin of the similarity of her initial design and Mr. Larson's. "We both did a drawing, and they were almost exactly the same."
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Their design, titled "Gateway to the Island," depicts a historically accurate view of Martha's Vineyard, past to present. In vivid hues, the Martha's Vineyard story comes to life, with images of Islanders, agriculture, fishing, bathers and lighthouses. "I wanted the kids to have fun with it," says Ms. Grandin, "so the colors are bright and cheerful."
The mural will be painted on a 10- by 45-foot exterior wall of Stop and Shop facing the parking lot in Vineyard Haven. The long blank wall inspired Tisbury town moderator Deborah Medders to put together the Tisbury Mural Committee (TMC), which included Don Amaral, Paul Brissette, Judy Cronig, Dolly Campbell, Nicole Matthews, and Robert Townes.
Painting the winning design will be a collaboration between Mr. Grandin and Mr. Larson and the regional high and charter school art students, facilitated by Mr. Brissette, head of the regional high school art department. The mural will be painted on nine aluminum panels with fiberglass interior that are being kept at the performing arts center at the high school. When they are not being worked on, the panels will be suspended from a structure that is being built by students from the high school's vocational building trades program. It will allow the panels to be raised and lowered, enabling the theater to be used for performances during the time the painting is being executed. Mr. Brissette is pleased with the solution: "We won't be put up against the elements or face other problems that come with on-site painting."
Once the panels are ready, Ms. Grandin will come in and draw a grid of the entire design. Then the students will set to work. Mr. Brissette says, "We want the kids really involved. On a job of this scale there is something that everybody can do."
Ms. Grandin, formerly the co-head of Boston's Winsor School art department, says, "I've taught a lot, and am really looking forward to working with the kids. I thought this really brings together the teaching aspect, which I don't have much time for now since I'm doing my own work."
The Tisbury mural project is intended to promote an all-Island collaboration. Volunteers are invited. Mr. Brissette notes, "It started with the town of Tisbury but it's an Island mural. Everybody's getting involved."
The TMC is accepting donations to aid in production costs. Ms. Medders says, "Some Island businesses have been quite generous," citing The Vineyard Home Center, Hinckley and Son, About Signs and Design, and Michael Ryan from Island Woodwork as some of the generous contributors.
"Everybody's excited. It's a real win-win positive thing. What's going to be most exciting is when we start painting," says Mr. Brissette.
The unveiling of the completed mural is scheduled for the spring of 2009.
Adriana Stimola divides her time between West Tisbury and Brooklyn, N.Y.