A specialty guitar and baseball bat painted by multitalented Island artist M-C Lamarre for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be displayed at the Boch Center’s Wang Theatre in Boston.
Lamarre is internationally known for her meticulous renderings of the iconic left-field wall of Fenway Park, the Green Monster, and is celebrated for her murals that take blank spaces of wall and turn them into works of art.
To date, Lamarre said she has painted 209 likenesses of the Green Monster.
But this time around, Lamarre worked with smaller canvases, in the form of a Fender Stratocaster and a Louisville Slugger, painting a tiny Green Monster on each in honor of the Boston Red Sox.
“It’s obviously different painting on such a small area, as opposed to a big canvas, like with a mural or wall art,” Lamarre said. “Both pieces really were a labor of love, and I put a lot of heart and dedication into both of them.”
She said both the guitar and the bat were new mediums for her, and that it was fun having to work with the space given to her. “I had never painted either one of those objects before, so it was quite a neat challenge for me in terms of the canvas itself,” Lamarre said.
Artists for each team needed to incorporate the logo into the art somehow, and they couldn’t use player likenesses or song lyrics.
Luckily for Lamarre, her creativity provided more than enough recognizable elements to be used in the painting.
Instead of painting lyrics onto the guitar, she painted a music staff on either side of the shiny wood grain body. “I knew we couldn’t paint lyrics, so I called the person who knew the rules and asked if I could use musical notes,” Lamarre said.
She painted the notes to “Sweet Caroline” and “Dirty Water” — two iconic Boston sports team songs.
While many other artists chose to paint over the entire body of the guitar, Lamarre said she painted with subtlety, so the instrument could still be entirely functional. “I wanted the guitar to be aesthetically pleasing, but also usable,” Lamarre said.
The work was commissioned by Major League Baseball (MLB), and chosen artists were given a blank Stratocaster and Slugger for various teams. Artists were not paid by MLB, but instead donated their time and talent on behalf of each team.
Lamarre’s bat and guitar pair was debuted at the All-Star game in Cleveland, Ohio, and was shown on the Fenway Park concourse during a Red Sox game against the Texas Rangers.
After the game, the artwork was auctioned off, and Lamarre wrote to the folks that orchestrated the bidding process to see where the two pieces ended up.
The art had sold for more than $3,000 to an individual bidder.
Lamarre said that she received an email from Scott Towers, the manager of tours for Boch Center, not long after the All-Star game.
Towers told Lamarre that the Wang Theatre was working on a new tourism initiative for the city of Boston, where regular tours will be given of the facility to celebrate its musical and theatrical history.
Lamarre said the chief financial officer for Boch Center is a “big sports fan,” and that he saw the guitar and bat during the All-Star Game and immediately wanted it in the Wang Theatre for the newly created tours.
The person who won the bid on the bat and guitar heard that the Wang Theatre wanted to display the pieces in the grand lobby, so they donated both to the Boch Center.
Lamarre said she is happy the owner of the art was willing to donate it so it could be enjoyed by everyone, instead of being kept in a private collection.
“I think the art has made its way to a good home. Now the public can go and see it on tours, and it will be preserved hopefully for many years,” Lamarre said. “It’s an honor to have it there.”