'People are noticing'

‘Crane Flight’ mural brings new burst of color to city intersection

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Anyone passing by the intersection of Park and Pontiac avenues of late has likely noticed a large mural being painted on the exterior wall of Crosstown Press.

The mural, titled “Crane Flight,” was recently commissioned by the Cranston Arts Commission and is being created by Rhode Island artist Amy Bartlett Wright. The wall has been made available by Crosstown Press owner Steven Levy, and the project represents the culmination of a lengthy effort on the part of the commission.

“We wanted a public art project to illicit excitement and interest for the arts and the city of Cranston as a whole,” said Leah Thovmasian Hill, who was recently elected chair of the commission. “We chose the theme of cranes, as they are on the city seal, which we have incorporated into our Arts Commission logo as an origami crane.”

Thovmasian Hill said Bartlett Wright was a “perfect fit for our vision.”

“She specializes in portraying animals in their environments in large and small scale that create a sense of space and dimension,” she said.

The total cost of the mural is $8,000, which includes all prep work, materials and labor. The cost is being covered with funding from the Arts Commission, along with a $1,000 contribution toward the prep work from Levy.

Robert O’Donnell, owner of Providence-based painting company E.F. O’Donnell and Sons, also donated the use of a section of rolling scaffolding for the month that the artist will be on site.

Bartlett Wright has painted more than 50 murals in 11 states. Many of her murals contain water as an element, in addition to birds and nature scenes. Her clients have included the Smithsonian Institution, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Museum of Science in Boston, Staten Island Zoo in New York, Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, Matunuck Oyster Bar, Save The Bay, The Dunes Club and Coastway Bank.

Bartlett Wright spoke about the creative process behind “Crane Flight.”

“When I learned that the Cranston Arts Commission was considering proposals for a mural at this location, I created a design that fit the space,” she said. “The symbol of flying birds to me signifies growth and personal evolution, flight to new experiences and opportunities. The birds are whooping cranes, magnificent large birds that are graceful and elegant. The city of Cranston seal consists of three silver cranes on a red shield. The crane is a symbol of hope and healing. And ‘hope’ is one of our state mottos.”

The mural has already attracted a great deal of attention in the community, Bartlett Wright said.

“People are noticing. Every day I work on ‘Crane Flight,’ people from the city come to talk to me,” she said. “They may simply comment or ask questions about my methods. Often, drivers will shout in praise or honk their horns to show me their thumbs-up sign. It truly is a pleasure to create something new and colorful, a mural that is positive and, I hope, uplifting and inspiring to everyone.”

It is expected that the mural will be completed by the end of the month.

“We hope that this mural is a catalyst for further public art projects throughout our city of Cranston,” Thovmasian Hill said. “We would welcome any discussions that someone has for ideas.”

The Cranston Arts Commission typically meets on the third Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Artists’ Exchange, located at 50 Rolfe Square in Cranston. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, email cranstonartscommission@gmail.com or visit cranstonartscommission.org.

To learn more about Bartlett Wright and her work, visit amybartlettwright.com.

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