News Column

Warhol painting to be displayed during Amesbury Art Expo

June 20, 2014

By Jim Sullivan, The Daily News of Newburyport, Mass.



June 20--AMESBURY -- An original Andy Warhol work of pop art is coming to City Hall next week, and it will hang alongside the work of Amesbury residents.

"I think that is a fun thing for a child to come down and say, 'You know what? When I was 7 years old, I had a painting that was next to an Andy Warhol,'" Amesbury Art Expo director Rosemary Werner said. "I think that could be a kick for a kid. It makes a great memory, doesn't it?"

The Warhol piece, a signed, limited edition Mickey Mouse painting from the Myths Series with a scattering of diamond dust, will be on loan from the estate of late Amesbury resident John Gould. It will be the centerpiece of the Amesbury Art Expo, which will be held at City HallSaturday, June 28, and Sunday, June 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This will be the second annual Art Expo, the first held during Amesbury Days.

"We had over 200 people come through for the first year and we wanted to do it during Amesbury Days so we can showcase the talent in town," Werner said. "And I was thrilled that we had a chance to showcase this painting."

Werner said that she has offered each of the Amesbury public schools a chance to participate, as well as the Sparhawk School, and any Amesbury resident can have their art on display, be it paintings, pottery, jewelry or a craft, alongside the Warhol painting.

"How neat is that?" Werner said. "I think to be in the same room as that kind of work is just great."

The Warhol measures 38-by-38 inches and is believed to have been painted in the early 1980s. Werner said that she will take possession of it the day before the festival for set-up and display as the auditorium at City Hall becomes a temporary art gallery.

"When we were talking about the art festival this year, I thought, 'Gee, wouldn't it be great if we could get something that would be a centerpiece that would bring in people?'" Werner said.

With an estimated worth north of $200,000, security for the Warhol in between showings presented a special challenge for Werner.

"We can't leave it in (City Hall) or back here," Werner said. "I wouldn't be able to sleep. My 401(k) won't cover that."

Enter Amesbury police Chief Kevin Ouellet, who told Werner that he and his department would help in any way they can.

"The painting has to go to bed every night at the police station," Werner said. "They will take care of it and walk it back and forth. It couldn't be any safer."

"We will be implementing what is almost like a found property or evidence control," Ouellet said. "We will take it in, have someone sign it in and have someone sign it out when we release it. So, we will put it in a secure room as if it was evidence coming in."

Ouellet said that housing high-value property is not something his department normally does, but he does not foresee any problems.

"The evidence room is a very controlled area with security and alarms," Ouellet said. "So, even the officers don't have access to the room except for the ones assigned. Anyone who would like to make their own observations, it will have to take place on its way or back over or at City Hall."

While the show is open to all, Amesbury residents hoping to display their artwork alongside the Warhol work can bring it to City HallFriday, June 27, starting at 9 a.m., or can call Werner at 978-388-4863.

"I hope we get people from all around to come and see," Werner said.

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Source: Daily News of Newburyport (MA)