Concord Heights community mural project to bring city together, celebrate culture

Public art is kind of a big deal in Concord. Just take a walk downtown and you’ll see sculptures, murals, musicians playing tunes and people taking it all in.

Now, you’ll have the opportunity to not just look at, but create some public art. The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce’s Creative Concord Committee is organizing an effort for members of the community to come together to design, plan and create a mural to be installed on the Heights.

“They have a public arts subcommittee and they’ve been talking about doing some public art, and they definitely want to see some of the funding that comes into Concord go up to the Heights,” said Karen Kelly, the project’s facilitator, referring to the Creative Concord Committee. “About nine months ago they (the public arts subcommittee) contacted me and we put together a proposal to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation submitted by the Chamber to do a mural on the Heights, so that’s how it started.”

Kelly has a lot of experience organizing and producing community murals. She’s done this all over the world in places like Northern Ireland, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul and China, just to name a few. Now, she’s leading the charge for the Heights Community Mural Project, made possible by a grant through the N.H. Charitable Foundation.

The first order of business will be a design and planning phase at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 180 Loudon Road, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Anybody who wants to can attend this meeting, during which whoever is there will brainstorm and share ideas for what the mural should be. As is often the case, the more ideas, the better, and the bigger the crowd, the more ideas.

Another key aspect of this project is the hope for a very mixed and diverse crowd working on it.

“People have different visions for the community and different experiences in the community,” Kelly said. “It’s very important that those (people working on the project) are mixed. You want a really mixed group at the table.”

After the design and planning phase, it will be time to create the mural. The painting day will be Saturday, Oct. 5 at Arnie’s Place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A section of the fence at Arnie’s will be used for an 8-by-16-foot mural created entirely by the community. You do not have to attend the planning phase to attend the painting, and you do not need to attend the painting after you attend the planning phase. It’s all up to you on how you want to contribute.

The main idea is just to get the community together to share ideas and experiences and create something positive out of it. Plus, it would be nice to splash some color and life into the Heights, and what better way to do that than by having its residents – as well as anyone else who wants to take part – create something.

This project will not be possible without strong community involvement. Kelly is not an artist by trade, and although local artist Nick Paradis will be on hand to help with the process, a crowd will certainly be needed to not only contribute to the design of the mural, but to paint it – 8 feet by 16 feet of plywood isn’t going to paint itself.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a master painter or if you’ve never even picked up a brush before. What’s important is getting people to participate, so mark your calendars for this Saturday as well as Oct. 5 and share your experiences – and talents – with the community.

For more info, email Kelly at

Author: Jon Bodell

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