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Arts & Culture Commission introduces several new murals in downtown Rochester

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The Commission for Arts & Culture, for the City of Rochester, recently contracted several artists and AMI Graphics to install a variety of art pieces on downtown municipal buildings, to create a Public Art Walk. 

The Commission worked with a diverse group of NH artists to create an Art Walk that incorporates existing downtown murals and sculptures from previous efforts. The newly installed works are created with a vinyl material that can be applied or removed without compromising the integrity of the surface area. 

“Vinyl murals are great because they don’t damage the buildings and the material is safe in the sun and extreme weather,” said Matt Wyatt, Commission Chair. “Our murals are easily removed or replaced. This was an easy way for us to support local artists and create some additional downtown vibrancy.”

from left to right: Susan Schwake, Sarah Koff, Laura Harper Lake (Police Department)

The murals have been installed on the Public Library, Fire Department, Police Department, and City Hall. There is also a sculpture planned for the Public Library by Barrington artist Adam Pearson. The mural sites and designs were approved by the Planning Board, Historic District Commission, and the City Manager’s Office.

Artists include Laura Harper Lake, Michele Johnsen, Mike Durkee (Durkish Delights), Nate Twombly, Sarah Koff, Scotty Arsenault, Susan Schwake, and Tom Glover.

from left to right: Nate Twombly, Scotty Arsenault (City Hall)

The Art Walk was funded by a grant from the NH State Council on the Arts and a contribution from the City’s Economic Development Department. Michael Scala, Director of Economic Development, describes the project as a benefit to all that look to enjoy the downtown. 

“We have a lot of commercial and residential development happening right now and we anticipate a lot of people living downtown in the next year or so,” said Scala. “These new residents are looking for activity, things to do, places to go. We need to be ready for them.”

Shanna Saunders, Director of Planning & Development and staff liaison for the Commission for Arts & Culture, says she’s thrilled to see so many art projects happening in the immediate downtown area. 

“Rochester has done a wonderful job embracing local arts, in supporting everything from the Museum of Fine Arts and Opera House to installing several unique murals and sculptures around the city,” said Saunders. “These new murals are just the next step in expanding our public art offerings in our growing and vibrant downtown!”

from left to right: Tom Glover, Mike Durkee a.k.a Durkish Delights (Public Library)

Saunders also encourages private owners to reach out to the Commission for Arts & Culture if they are interested in having public art installed on their property.

“We’re excited to add these murals to our growing Art Walk,” Wyatt continued. “We’re seeing more and more art added in Rochester every year. There are sculptures on Columbus Ave./RT. 125 and the Community Center, a new mural on the backside of Salvation Army, and so many others. Our plan is to continue supporting that positive enhancement of our visual landscape.”

Visit www.RochesterNH.net > Boards & Commissions > Arts and Culture to see the Virtual Art Map, learn more about the Commission for Arts & Culture, and see the interactive Virtual Art Map.

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