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Millers River Environmental Center open house showcases artwork 

  • Some of the panels, with the handiwork of local artists printed on them, which have been installed in the ground-floor windows of the Millers River Environmental Center. Greg Vine

  • Some of those attending the Millers River Environmental Center open house took time to sit outside and listen to music. Greg Vine

  • The band Legacy is shown performing on the lawn of the Millers River Environmental Center at the center's open house Friday night in Athol. The group Sweeteuphoria also performed. Greg Vine

  • Some of the panels, with the handiwork of local artists printed on them, have been installed in the ground-floor windows of the Millers River Environmental Center. Greg Vine

  • Friends and volunteers of the Millers River Environmental Center chat and mingle during Friday’s open house. Greg Vine

  • More of the panels, with the handiwork of local artists printed on them, which have been installed in the ground-floor windows of the Millers River Environmental Center. —Greg Vine

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 6/10/2019 9:50:21 PM
Modified: 6/10/2019 9:50:17 PM

ATHOL — The Millers River Environmental Center held a well-attended open house Friday evening, which included new artwork covering windows on the ground floor of the former schoolhouse, built in 1889. Other works of art were on view inside the center. The event included hors d’oeuvres and plenty of conversation inside, with live music on the lawn of the front lawn of the facility.

The MREC, located at 100 Main St., is operated by the Athol Bird and Nature Club.

“We had an original Windows on Main project that artist M.E. Kane organized,” said club executive director David Small. “The medium on plywood didn’t last real well. So, we wanted to resurrect something to put back in these spaces. I’ve worked with Lyman Signs on a couple of other projects and the medium seems to be working.”

Small explained that original works of art are digitized.

“The ones that were regular photographs were hard print,” he said, “John Bourque Photography actually photographed them, and they got them with enough pixels so they could be enlarged to the 54” by 54” format, which is pretty big. Lyman Signs then took those digital images, printed on acrylic, and laminated to the metal, an aluminum backing.” Lyman Signs is located on Route 2A in Phillipston.

“This whole thing really evolved around the new elevator that’s going in,” said Small. “It’s not quite done yet, but we’re partying anyway.”

He went on to explain that “the town meeting put up $64,000 for the elevator. We needed a little extra money to finish that project and at the same time do more a community service kind of a thing. So, we said we’d use a MassWorks Grant, which is a matching grant. We said we’d raise $10,000; we actually raised $17,000. Then we were actually able to do this artwork. We gave $15,000 to the town to cover their extra expenses on the lift, so everything’s moving forward.”

The Athol Bird and Nature Club was, according to Smith, started in 1963 by then-Athol Junior High School science teacher Bob Coyle, who is commemorated on a panel installed in one of the first-floor windows. Coyle served as the leader of the group until 1988, when he was succeeded by Small. Coyle passed away in December 2013 at the age of 83.

Local and area artists who provided artwork for the panels include: Bonnie Benjamin, David Brothers, Kim Bolton, David Small, Richard Salvucci, Bill Fournier, Heidi Kleiner and Susan Paju, Casy Williams, Susan Marshall, Justin Beatty, Kerry Stone, and Tom Wyatt.

Music at Friday’s event was provided by Legacy and by Sweeteuphoria.


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