From left, Bob Lemay of Ashburnham, Jerry Beck of Fitchburg, Marc Dohan of Fitchburg, Chris Iosva of Lunenburg and Kate Shelton of Harvard have organized to have 1,000 one-foot-square tiles displayed along Main Street in Fitchburg. (T&G Staff/TOM RETTIG)
FITCHBURG — An early Sunday-morning jogger stopped in midstride on downtown Main Street, spent time looking at a colorful wall of art that had sprung up overnight and said how “awesome and beautiful” it was.
“It all started with this idea Jerry had,” said City Councilor Joel Kaddy. He and Fitchburg Art Museum's Marketing and Community Engagement Director Jerry Beck are members of PRIDE.
“He had this idea about a wall of art. ModuForm's Clarence Robichaud helped us by donating 1,000 plywood squares, which were given out to students and the general public to paint about a month and a half ago,” said Mr. Kaddy.
The Building Blocks project came together, and on a recent weekend volunteer workers constructed a wall for the painted blocks. Fitchburg resident Jack Dargin of Jackbuilt designed the wall and provided a materials list that Maki's of Lunenburg provided.
“Maki's gave us a good deal on the materials, Enterprise Bank gave us $2,500 and PRIDE will fund the remaining balance. The carpenters and helpers are friends that Jack and I know,” said Mr. Kaddy.
J&R Glass' Darren Bessette and Andy Vautour were there early, cutting two-by-fours along with the city's Trevor Bonilla, Fitchburg State University's Robert Lemay, Café Destare's Chris Iosva and Frankie Grenham, Rhea and Chris Bujold of Boulder Café, Tom Berlied, Chris Williamson and Bill McSheehy, pounding nails, measuring, toting and doing whatever needed to be done to get the wall built. Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School students lent a helping hand, too.
“That's the beauty of a community-based public art project. Not only can it grow and expand, and it will. But it engages so very many people, like this one has already done. It is astounding how many emails and phone calls I have received so far,” said Mr. Beck.
He envisions the wall of art as the first chapter of a continuing yearlong, evolving story that will include many surprises for the public — music, games, theatrics, landscaping, the possibilities abound.
City Councilor Dolores Thibault-Munoz was there early on construction day with doughnuts and coffee for the volunteers.
“I wish I was handy with tools — that's why I brought the coffee! I love this public art project and am very excited at the possibilities,” said Ms. Thibault-Munoz.
The empty space between two sections of buildings across from City Hall “was the perfection location” for the wall, according to Ms. Bujold, who is also a member of PRIDE.
“This will showcase the art perfectly. We're a city of hope and these kinds of projects will bring art to Fitchburg. This is the future. I can't wait to see what's next,” said Ms. Bujold.
A grand opening will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. June 24 on Main Street across from City Hall. Performances and workshops for the public to paint more blocks will take place.