Thursday, July 9, 2015
If you were downtown last week, you probably didn't notice that New Hampshire Artist Laureate James Aponovich was in town. Aponovich was born and grew up in Nashua, so he and his artist wife Elizabeth Johansson went to the lot behind PRG Rugs for free parking, and slipped in and out through the back door.
He was here to donate his concept painting of the Yankee Flyer Diner mural, which he submitted 20 years ago to the contest to select the artist for the project. The Yankee Flyer Diner mural is located on Main Street next to Citizen's Bank, the former location of the diner.
To raise funds for the restoration, City Arts Nashua is now selling 100 high-quality, limited-edition giclee prints of the painting, each signed and numbered by the artist, for $250 each. On Thursday, July 30, Aponovich will be back in town for a mural restoration reception at 5:30 p.m., hosted by PRG Rugs, 227 Main St.
Aponovich will be signing the prints and greeting the public. Prints will be available for sale; anyone who purchased a print in advance can pick up their print and meet Aponovich. The reception will include a display of Yankee Flyer Diner memorabilia.
At Surf Restaurant, 207 Main St., Aponovich will select one number of the 100 prints sold; everyone who buys a print will be invited to the event. The owner of print with the lucky number will win the original 12×25-inch oil on canvas painting, valued at $15,000.
“This is an unusual opportunity to acquire an Aponovich print at a very affordable price, while supporting the restoration of a public art treasure,” said Kathy Hersh, president of City Arts Nashua. “With the bonus of a chance to own his painting, we expect the prints to go fast.”
After the funds are raised, the seven panels of the 10×27-foot mural will be disassembled and shipped to Aponovich's studio, where he will do the restoration, assisted by Johansson.
Although he now lives and works in Peterborough, Aponovich lived in Nashua until going to college, then moved back and lived in Nashua again in 1984 while his daughter went to school here.
He and Johansson moved from Nashua in 2000 when their daughter left for college, to a home in Hancock with acreage for gardening. Two years ago they relocated to Peterborough.
“Beth and I come to Nashua quite often,” he said. “Nashua does a good job of keeping up with the times. It has a vibrancy I enjoy. We have friends here, we meet friends from other parts of the state for dinner, I shop at Dick Avard's, our lawyer is here, and we buy our shoes from Alec's.”
While Aponovich was having his photo taken with the painting, Johansson appeared with an Alec's bag and a new pair of shoes. “My mother belonged to Alec's shoe club. All my shoes came from there growing up with Helen always waiting on us. When I go now, I still ask how she is,” he said.
The Yankee Flyer Diner mural, painted by Aponovich in 1997, is the only public mural of a classic American Diner in the U.S. The diner was the place in Nashua where people went to eat, socialize, see and be seen, until the 1960s, when it was sold and moved.
According to art critics, public murals are outside of fine art, Aponovich observed. “When I did the mural, my goal was to do a painting of a mid-century period scene that people can walk up to, and look at all the detail. I feel the mural does what art is supposed to do – engage people, whether they like it or not.”
To place your order of the Yankee Flyer Diner print before they are gone, go to www.cityartsnashua.org, print out the order form and send it in with your check. Online credit card ordering with a handling fee is also available.
“All profits from the sale of the prints will go to the Mural Restoration Fund,” Hersh said. “We are grateful to James for his generous donation.”
For questions contact email@example.com. To purchase a print, go to www.cityartsnashua.org. To learn more about Aponovich and Johansson, visit bethandjamesblog.blogspot.com.
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