In April, Vineyard artist M-C Lamarre got an email that only 29 other artists in the country received — she was chosen by the MLB, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Louisville Slugger, and Fender Guitars to participate in an art exhibition featuring a couple of unique canvases — a Louisville Slugger wooden baseball bat and a Fender guitar. The art installation is set to take place during the All-Star Break this July in Cleveland, Ohio.
Known around the Island as “the Green Monster lady,” Lamarre was thrilled to officially be commissioned by the Red Sox to represent them in a showcase of bats and guitars highlighting the unique character of the 30 cities that MLB teams call home.
Lamarre has been painting the Green Monster and iconic scoreboard of Fenway Park since May 2004, right before the team’s historic World Series win. “I carved out a niche for myself, unknowingly at the beginning,” Lamarre said of her predominantly Fenway-based work. She recently completed her 205th Green Monster mural, and her work spans 23 states, with three murals in Canada, and two here on-Island.
Lamarre has a connection to more than the iconic park that the Red Sox call home. In a previous job, she was a tour manager for a train-based traveling art museum that only stopped in four major cities a year. One of those cities happened to be Cleveland, where she was able to stop and see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a must for her before the train left for its next destination. Later in her art career, Lamarre was commissioned by a client to paint a Green Monster in Florida, and went out of her way to stop in Kentucky to visit the Louisville Slugger museum.
“I really do have a good understanding and appreciation for each organization, which makes it even more of an honor that they found me and asked me to participate,” said Lamarre.
Lamarre did not apply for this exhibition, and the invitation came as a surprise. As with all clients, Lamarre asked the representatives who contacted her about this project how they found her, and was happily surprised to find out that not only did her Green Monster work come up, but with further searches, several local features on her work populated Google.
“I’ve painted on all sorts of things over the course of clients’ requests, but this is definitely going to be smaller,” said Lamarre of the space she’s been given to work with on both the bat and the guitar. So far, she has received only the Lousiville Slugger, with the Fender set to arrive in about a week, although she hopes to get it sooner to get to work. If the guitar arrives sooner, Lamarre has a trip planned off-Island, and will be passing through Boston, giving her the chance to share her work with the team.
The artists have been given creative freedom from organizers, and permission to use the logo, mascot, and other trademarked symbols of the MLB team they are representing. One stipulation is that the clients would like baseball and music to come together in the pieces that will be put up for display, incorporating the culture of Cleveland as home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame into the installation. Further stipulations? No song titles or lyrics can be used in the artwork.
This poses a unique challenge for Lamarre, with songs like “Sweet Caroline” and “Dirty Water” being so iconic in Boston baseball culture. Up for the challenge, Lamarre has developed an idea to incorporate the history of concerts at Fenway, a unique venue, into her art.
In terms of her plan for the bat and guitar, Lamarre said, “I’ve got to have the Green Monster in there, although in what capacity, I’m not entirely sure.” With both herself and the stadium known for the iconic Green Monster, it was a given that it has to be included. As a personal touch, she hopes to include her parents’ initials in Morse code on the scoreboard as a thank-you for their support throughout her journey, and a nod to the Morse code that is on the actual scoreboard with the initials of Tom and Jean Yawkey, former owners of the Boston Red Sox.
Coming off a World Series victory and being from the Island makes these commissioned pieces even more special for Lamarre. “I’m still fresh to the Island, even after being here three years year-round,” said Lamarre. “I was in Boston for eight years and New Bedford for a decade, which allowed me to have a career in the arts full-time, but I’ve always been a Bostonian at heart.
“Here on the Island, I feel like I’m starting from scratch, with new resources and materials. It definitely presents a challenge to get the work done, especially with getting off-Island,” said Lamarre of the opportunity she has been given. While this unique project has its host of challenges, it is overwhelmingly an honor, and thrilling for Lamarre, who has dedicated herself to Boston sports culture.
“Being a Boston sports fan is pretty fun,” Lamarre laughed.—