Holiday-themed windows decorate the downtown thanks to Hailey Bonia, who has been working with the town and businesses to spread cheer with her artwork.

"We all need a little art right now in this time," Bonia said while painting the front window at Nazarian Jewelers earlier this month.

Nazarian Jewelers was one of 17 businesses in town that participated in the project — which is a concerted effort to get people out of the house to enjoy the window art and help local businesses. The town paid for the art out of the Columbia Gas municipal discretionary fund 

"In years past we would be getting ready for Holiday Happenings, when we would all come together, but we aren't able to do that this year. Now people can walk down on their own to shop and enjoy on their own time," said Ann Ormond, Andover’s director of business, arts and culture.

Town officials "have focused our efforts on imaging how we can celebrate what downtown means to Andover and how we can create a sense of community that supports our businesses and makes people want to frequent downtown," Town Manager Andrew Flanagan said. 

At the jewelers, one of the family owners Steve Nazarian said sales Associate Karen Bomberger "very excitedly responded to the email and offer. It seemed like the perfect answer for the struggles of what's going on."

This holiday shopping spirit wasn't coming easily to the town in the days after Thanksgiving weekend, which typically kicks off the, Nazarian said. 

The murals paired with wrapped lampposts really brightened Nazarian's spirits, he said. "They've outdone themselves for decorating the town."

The Department of Public Works and employees who work in the forestry, parks and grounds division were essential in transforming the town into a winter wonderland, Ormond and Flanagan said.

"This became an opportunity to say we have a lot to offer, " Ormond said. "COVID has made us realize we have to tell the stories of the business community and do more like outdoor dining, lights, art. And now we have a really solid outdoor program." 

Nazarian's business has had a hard year because of the pandemic. Sales have slowed, but thankfully they revamped its website about a year and a half ago so they have been able to make many online sales, he said. 

Overall this year he's seen an "impressive effort from the local people to support local small businesses," Nazarian said. "They've gone out of their way to spread their business in town. It's been a great town effort."

And to help foster that "shop local" mentality, Ormond and Flanagan both have hopes for continuing to decorate.

"Once the holidays are over, Old Town Hall will remain lit and I hope will represent the history of our downtown and what its future may hold," Flanagan said.

Bonia's work will be displayed around town through the holidays and people can find more of her work via her Instagram @flourishartistic or at her website — flourishartistic.com.

 

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