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Uplifting art

Artist Dano Chapman painted a utility box in downtown Lynn through the Raw Art Works Good 2 Go program. Artist Dano Chapman painted a utility box in downtown Lynn through the Raw Art Works Good 2 Go program. (Jason Cruz)
By Wendy Killeen
August 4, 2011

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Raw Art Works and Lynn officials have teamed to create public displays in the city’s downtown.

On July 23, artists from RAW’s Good 2 Go spent the day painting murals on five utility boxes in Central Square. The murals were designed by local artists under the supervision of RAW’s Jason Cruz, who runs the program.

Good 2 Go, which began in 2005, gives young men the opportunity to use their artistic talents to get noticed in positive ways while beautifying their community. The program has rules and expectations, and each member is a teacher as well as a student. It also provides temporary youth employment, as the artists are compensated for their work.

The group’s first public art project was on Union Street in a lot owned by a friend of RAW. Cruz then wanted to beautify the city’s many utility boxes. The five boxes surrounding the RAW building in Central Square are serving as a pilot program for a citywide project.

For the project, RAW brought back two alumni of Good 2 Go, Dano and Derek Chapman, joined by Jorge Pimentel, Omar Young, Francisco Vasquez, Damien Coley, Kadeem Dally, Dariel Valdez, Luis Deleon, Rafael Gonzalez, and Ryan Karakudos.

James Marsh, director of the city’s Office of Economic and Community Development, provided funding for the art supplies. Dottie Thibodeau, with Lynn’s Inspectional Services Department, helped coordinate cleaning and priming of the utility boxes.

Ward 5 City Councilor Brendan Crighton worked with Cruz to develop an arts and culture theme for the murals, tying in with efforts to get Lynn designated as a cultural district by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

More than 1,200 underserved youth ages 6-19 attend RAW’s free programs each year. RAW offers visual arts groups, a film school, leadership development, and teen employment. Through Project Launch, mentors from the community guide RAW’s high school juniors and seniors through the college admissions and financial aid process.

INNOVATION LEADERS: North Shore Elder Services in Danvers has been honored with two Aging Achievement Awards by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

The agency’s programs that were recognized - Over the Rainbow Coalition and At Your Side - were identified as innovative models in addressing the needs of elders.

Over the Rainbow Coalition, formerly known as the Old & Bold Coalition, was honored for its efforts to provide support for gay, lesbian, and transgender senior citizens.

The At Your Side medical advocacy program was recognized for training volunteers to accompany older patients to medical appointments to ensure they receive understandable answers to their questions and concerns.

For details about the local programs, call 978-750-4540 or visit www.nselder.org.

PENTUCKET BASH: Alumni, family, and friends of Pentucket Regional High School are throwing a summer party to benefit the district’s programs.

Dubbed Pentucket Rocks, the gala will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Chestnut Hill Farm in West Newbury. It will feature a steak and chicken barbecue, oldies music Battle of the Bands, muscle car show, Happy Days slideshow featuring photos of the school’s former students, and silent auction.

There will be a cash bar offering glasses with the event’s logo, and professional photos from the event will be available. Late alumni can be remembered with a photo and a donation for inclusion on a memorial display board.

Proceeds will benefit the year-old Pentucket Education Foundation, an independent nonprofit group raising money to buy items not funded in the budget for the six schools in the district, which serves students in preschool through high school from Groveland, Merrimac, and West Newbury.

Tickets to Pentucket Rocks are $35, or $15 for ages 6 to 16, and free for younger children. Sponsorships are available. Direct donations can be made to the Pentucket Education Foundation in care of Sandy Berkenbush, 23 Farm Lane, West Newbury MA 01985.

For more information, visit www.pentucketedfund.org, call 978-815-4751, or e-mail sandy@sandyberkenbush.com.

NEW ROLE FOR PEARSON: Sue Ann Pearson of Newburyport is the new executive director of the North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, which markets the area as a tourist destination to domestic and international travelers.

During the past 20 years, Pearson has worked for the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport, the Crane Estate in Ipswich, and Montserrat College of Art and North Shore Music Theatre, both in Beverly.

For the past four years, she has been executive director of the Lowell Folk Festival and the Lowell Summer Music Series.

Items can be sent to wdkilleen@gmail.com.