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Newport Mural Set To Be Restored This Year

Aug 26, 2022 05:23PM ● By Rose Terami

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Newport’s famous Main Street Heritage Mural, which depicts Newport circa 1871 when the first railroad came to town, is set for reproduction this year.

The nearly 50-foot-long mural was created by community members during the New England Artist Congress and put up in 1997 by carpenter Nick Scalera, and after 25 years of weather exposure on the side of Newport’s Johnson Block building, it’s seen better days. Some of the 36 wooden panels making up the mural have suffered water damage resulting in rot. Worn paint affects the mural in other areas.

Since the mural is fragile and would likely fall apart if removed from the building, the Library Arts Center in Newport has been campaigning to raise $40,000 to reproduce the mural, rather than restoring the existing one.

In June, the Arts Center met its fundraising goals and on June 18, more than 30 artists came together to paint panels for the new mural. The lead artist of the project, Heidi Lorenz, created a sketch of the mural’s design to trace onto the new panels. The project’s lead historian, Pam La Fountain, researched the history of the buildings and landmarks in the mural to help document historical information and develop resources to educate the community on the mural’s historical significance in Newport. She also created a Newport history quiz that can be picked up at the Library Arts Center. Answers to the quiz can be found online.

Over the next few months, Heidi will create a complete mural from the newly painted panels and spray coat the mural with a protective coating to help it withstand the harsh New England elements. The new mural will be reinstalled sometime this fall, with a community gathering planned to celebrate the project and the hard work of the community.

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