Music to their ears — and eyes -- in Londonderry
Last week, members of the Londonderry Arts Council decided they wanted to get in on the fun on Town Common this summer, adding a hands-on, creative element to the popular, free concert series.
“We needed people to know what we have here in this town. Our artists are a great resource,” event organizer Andy Mack, Jr. said. “And the only way to do that is to get these guys out there and show the community what they can do.”
So, with that in mind, three local artists — Jason Williams, Corrine Dodge and Michael James Toomy — set up shop on the Town Common last week and encouraged concert-goers to join them in filling an oversized, blank canvas and eagerly passing out paint brushes to those gathered in front of the outdoor stage.
In just over an hour, a colorful, abstract painting was the end result and the local artists knew there was plenty more art to be made with local music lovers of all ages. Mack said the idea has definitely caught on, with everyone “from toddlers to senior citizens” finding their inner artists.
This week, Williams returned to Concerts on the Common, which was moved inside Londonderry High School at the last minute due to the evening's stormy forecast. This time he brought two canvases — and fellow artist Steve Sullivan — along with him.
The two got straight to work, laying out blue tarps and buckets upon buckets of recycled paint, with makeshift canvases made from re-purposed bed frames and canvas sheets.
As the sounds of New York folk singer Amber Rubarth filled the air, guests entering the high school cafeteria had the chance to leave their mark, literally, on the canvases.
Slowly but surely, two very different works of art emerged, with Sullivan's canvas soon filling with the trees, grass and blue skies of Mammoth Road, and Williams' canvas becoming a very Jackson Pollock-esque implosion of colors, splashes and shapes.
“How are you going to encourage folks to get in on this?” Mack asked the artists, noting that last week, a handful of local teens decided to forego brushes altogether, opting instead for the finger-painting approach.
“It's simple: I did it first,” Williams grinned.
Clutching her 10-month-old daughter, Vivian's tiny hand, local mom Robin LaFlamme guided the paintbrush in short sweeps over Williams' splashy canvas.
“Don't worry, I used water-based paints,” Williams laughed, as Vivian splattered the paint, breaking into an infectious giggle.
Nearby, sisters Acacia McGowan, 2, and Zinnia McGowan, 3, pointed to the colors that intrigued them — pails of pink, salmon and purple hues, while Williams happily obliged.
The finished paintings could be auctioned off in the future to help raise funds for the local arts council, though those plans are still in the early stages, the artists said.
Concerts on the Commons continues throughout the summer, with the next performance, The Off Season Band, scheduled July 11 at 7 p.m. on the Town Common. In the event of inclement weather, the show will be held at Londonderry High School.
Artists wishing to participate in upcoming Art on the Common events are encouraged to contact Mack at email@example.com.
- - - - - - - -
April Guilmet may be reached at AGuilmet@newstote.com.
Dodgeball returns to Windham schools
Congo war's legacy follows survivor to NH