Milford Cultural Council asked artists to paint picnic tables

MILFORD – Dressed in an appropriate shade of yellow, Abigail Glennon carefully leaned over a white picnic table inside the Milford Highways Department garage last week and brushed bright lines in painted sun rays.

“I took a lot of inspiration from the ’60s,’ 70s, art style eras,” said Glennon, a Milford resident and recent home high school graduate.

Glennon is one of 11 local artists commissioned by the Milford Cultural Council to paint picnic tables for Milford’s first major public art installation in years. The council dubbed the project “Brush 2 Table,” with the finished pieces due to be placed in the city later this summer.

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“I’m really excited about this,” said Glennon, whose “sun-cloud-rainbow explosion” was sponsored by Milford Select Chairman of the Board, Michael Walsh, in memory of his late wife. “I really hope there will be more public art in the future.”

The Highway Department garage is home to two more picnic tables, in addition to Glennon’s, spread out last Thursday in an open bay as heavy equipment rumbled around them.

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A figure blows over a black dandelion atop a table, the seeds blooming in greens, blues and pinks as they float across the surface and seats. Created by artist Nayda Cuevas, the painting features the raised fist commonly associated with the Black Lives Matter movement and is titled “Wish for Change, Milford”.

Nearby, Bianca Sayuri De Oliveira, a recent graduate of Blackstone Valley Regional Technical High School, added detail to a skyline of Milford buildings along the benches, after painting her vision of Vincent’s ‘Starry Night’ Van Gogh on the table.

“I think it’s a good idea, that artists can just have their art in a place where (people) can see it,” De Oliveira said.

Artist Ashley MacLure creates a mixed media painting on a picnic bench in her Milford garage on June 24, 2021. The piece includes a rendering of her 2 year old daughter, Matina.  The Milford Cultural Council hired a group of local artists to paint picnic tables as public art installations this summer.

A few miles away, Ashley MacLure, a Milford resident and local art teacher, arranged clouds made from her 2-year-old’s finger paintings on another table, as the toddler was napping in the room above.

“It’s so cool. I think Milford needs more public art,” said MacLure, of Brush 2 Table. “You see so many cities around Boston doing this. It’s a great way to do it. enter the 21st century.

MacLure made headlines in 2018 when she created artwork focused on miscarriage anxiety. Lately, she said, her work has focused on her daughter and her late mother.

Two-year-old Mattina is drawn on MacLure’s table, and concept art shows her playing with a rainbow, watching the colors twist between her hands.

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“She loves to paint with her fingers and toes,” MacLure said with a smile.

Some of the swirls on the pink, purple and blue table are the work of Mattina.

The project, which is expected to pay artists between $ 250 and $ 500 per table, is funded by a combination of funds from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and local sponsors.

“I think it’s fabulous that we have this initiative to have more cultural and visual art in our community of Milford,” said Maureen Fabry, owner of CraftRoots Brewing Company with her wife Robin, “so we absolutely wanted support that and support it. “

Bianca De Oliveira, 18, paints a picnic bench for the Milford Culture Council's Picnic Table Public Art Project, June 24, 2021. De Oliveira's piece features the sun, clouds And the moon, as well as Milford Town Hall, Milford High School and Stacy Middle School.

CraftRoots is sponsoring a table by Milford artist Khizra Syeda, who will paint a Pride of Progress flag, with the colors represented by flowers that have significance in the LGBTQ + community.

“I haven’t seen a lot of things towards the queer community in Milford, which is why I’m really excited about this project,” said Syeda. “There will be something to represent my community, especially the (people of) queer community of color. It is very important for me to be able to do this and to have sponsors who are also part of it.

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The Milford Culture Council is also seeking approval for a veterans-themed mural on the side of Gail’s Hair Care Center, facing Calzone Park, and is working on a settlement to allow for more public art. .

The tables are expected to be unveiled at a July 24 celebration in Plains Park from noon to 3 p.m., before being set up in several TBD locations across town.

The July 24 celebration will feature food trucks, crafts and a DJ.

The artists and their sponsors

“Inclusion = happiness for all” – ARTIST: Katie Annis / SPONSOR: The Annis Family

“Maria’s Table” – ARTIST: Emily Chapman / SPONSOR: Loriann Braza

“Welcome to Milford” – ARTIST: Janeen Cox / SPONSOR Hopkinton Center for the Arts

“Wish for Change, Milford” – ARTIST: Nayda Cuevas / SPONSOR: Milford Federal Bank

“Touch the Sky” – ARTIST: Bianca Sayuri De Oliveira / SPONSOR: Imperial Cars

“Good Day Sunshine” – ARTIST: Abigail Glennon / SPONSOR: Michael Walsh in memory of Nancy Walsh

“Swinging Twilight” – ARTIST: Nicole King / SPONSOR: Solutions 2 Accessibility

“Imagine” – ARTIST: Ashley MacLure / SPONSOR: Harold & Marcia Rhodes

“Redemption” – ARTIST: Murphy Potter / SPONSOR: Celebrate Milford

“Uniting Milford through our musical heritage” – ARTIST: Paul Rao / SPONSOR: Paul Malnati

“Pride” – ARTIST: Khizra Syeda / SPONSOR: CraftRoots Brewing

Alison Bosma can be reached at 508-634-7582 or at [email protected] Find her on Twitter at @AlisonBosma.

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