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An Artist Spreads Her Wings

Annabelle O'Reilly wins an opportunity to paint a public mural  – June 15, 2020

An Artist Gets Her Wings 2 Our Visual Arts students are creative, talented, young artists who welcome the opportunity for self-expression through the arts. So, when a mural contest is offering the winner $100 and the chance to paint on a grander scale, it sparks an interest.

The Friends of Historic Hopedale and the Park Commission ran a contest in April looking for a young artist between the ages of 15-21 to paint an interactive wing mural that doubles as a photo opportunity in the Hopedale Parklands. The mural would be displayed, in all its glory on the back of a park commission garage along a trail used for their annual Fairy Walk. When people pose in front of the mural, it should look like they have a large pair of wings. According to submission guidelines, the design should include the hashtags: #HopedaleFairyWalk, #ArtInTheParklands, #HopedaleParklands.

Hearing about the contest, Annabelle O'Reilly of Hopedale, a senior in our Construction Technology program, knew that she had to apply. As a Visual Arts student, she was confident about the concept. She submitted a design plan that captured their attention and won the contest. "As an artist, it is an excellent opportunity," said Annabelle. "It was an honor to be selected to paint this mural in my hometown."

The process for this piece was familiar to Annabelle. She had participated in the Art All-State: Tape Art program at the Eric Carle Museum, making murals out of painter's tape and those skills transferred to taping off the design for this mural. She said, "I loved An Artist Gets Her Wings 3painting on such a large scale, stepping back a few feet after hours, and seeing my progress was such a wonderful feeling."

The mural took Annabelle less than two weeks to complete, and she is thrilled with how it turned out. The finished mural strays a bit from her original design plan in terms of shape and color choice because she found that she liked the lighter outlines better. She said, "This project taught me that if you have an idea that improves your original plan, it's okay to run with it."

"Hearing the families who walked by encouraging and complimenting me on the design and colors as I was working on it was cool to experience," said Annabelle. "I heard many people comment on how excited they were to come back and take photos in front of it."

Looking for a peaceful place to walk? Take an afternoon stroll in the Hopedale Parklands and be on the lookout for the beautiful pair of feathered blue wings on the garage along the blue trail between the Bath House and the Rustic Bridge. The entrance is behind the Bath House at 76 Dutcher Street. Be sure to stop by the mural, strike a pose, snap a picture, and share with us your wings.

Annabelle will further her education at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in the fall.
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