A new, movable mural is in the works, and will display panels of various historic places in Andover once it's done and put up at various locations around town.
The design for the 5-by-20 foot mural, which will switch in-and-out from black and white to colored panels, is inspired by a series of images taken from the Andover Center for History and Culture.
The first of the four panels will display a black and white image of a boy fishing at the Shawsheen River alongside his dog. It will transform into a color panel of Old Town Hall, accompanied by the historic Lovejoy Farm wagon stationed out front.
From there, the third panel will again display black and white images of mill buildings with participants from the annual Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race running down the road. It will tie together with a colorful fourth panel of people kayaking down the Shawsheen River.
"It feels great to work on this," said Marisa McCarthy, 18, a recent graduate of Andover High School who is tasked with painting the mural.
McCarthy said her talents were recognized two years ago by an art teacher, and since then she has been involved in several art projects over the years. In conjunction with Elyse Cote, also a recent AHS graduate, McCarthy pitched the idea for a mural — one of the biggest projects she has taken on.
McCarthy will work on the mural at the Old Town Yard throughout the summer. She hopes to complete it in August before she heads to Tufts University to embark on her college career.
"I get to paint here for four hours a day, everyday, which is just my dream," she said.
What makes the mural unique is that it is movable. The panels are hinged together, allowing the entire piece to be carefully folded up and easily transported to new locations.
The mural was originally set to cover the wall running along North Main Street by Perfecto's Caffe, but structural concerns partnered with the old age of the wall prompted a different plan.
The idea of making the mural movable was developed by Ann Ormond, director of business, arts and cultural development, who has taken the reins on the project.
Aware of a movable art program in Memphis that utilizes art in pop-up locations throughout the city, Ormond decided to bring the idea to Andover. She believed it was a great alternative to having the mural hang in a sole location.
"That's the beauty of it, that it can be moved," she said. "This is one of the first visual things the town can do to show there is a consensus and favor for public art in town."
Ormond said the mural will make appearances at major town events, and brighten buildings like Memorial Hall Library and Town Hall with its colorful images. She said the hope is to debut it at Andover Day on Sept. 7.
"The addition of the mural to Andover is meant to reinforce the need and appreciation of public art," Ormond said. "This student and community-driven project fits into the long-range plan for a robust public art program throughout Andover. The mural is the first step in creating an amazing public art program."
On Tuesday, town officials and the individuals credited with spearheading the mural came together at the Old Town Yard for a "First Paint." People had the opportunity to make their mark on the mural by painting small sections of the larger piece. Town Manager Andrew Flanagan, Deputy Town Manager Mike Lindstrom, and Select Board Member Annie Gilbert were among those to contribute.
The paint for the mural was donated by Sherwin Williams Paint Store, 209 No. Main St., Andover.