News Column

Artist offers prints of Norway buildings in fundraiser

July 5, 2014

By Leslie Dixon, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine



July 05--NORWAY -- A well-known New York artist has gifted the Norway Landmarks Preservation Society a picture of what the Gingerbread House will look like after it is renovated.

Prints of the original watercolor painting by artist, sculptor and conservationist Vito DeVito will be sold to raise money to help fund restoration of the landmark building on Main Street.

"I feel privileged to be involved," said DeVito, who has summered in Norway for the past 30 years and resides on Long Island in New York.

His work has been showcased in museums and galleries across the country and Canada and hangs in the private collections of notables ranging from Patricia Lawford Kennedy and Billy Joel to the New York Stock Exchange and NBC.

The Gingerbread House is the first Norway Landmarks Preservation Society Art Collection annual fundraiser, Albert Judd of the society said.

"It will be an annual event for a collection of landmarks done by Vito," Judd said. "We will raise $2,500 annually to keep the NLPS solvent for years."

DeVito has agreed to paint a picture of one of the 72 historic buildings in the Norway Downtown Historic District each year, in hopes of raising $2,500 annually.

"Vito and I came up with this idea," Judd said. "He is my cousin and stays on Norway Lake summers. He has for 30 years."

The first print in the collection will be available, both framed and unframed, for sale at a booth during the Norway Arts Festival on Saturday, July 11, on Main Street. The festival runs from July 10 to 13 with arts, crafts, dance, theater, live music and other events.

The prints are signed, numbered, and titled "Gingerbread House, Norway Landmarks Preservation Society Art Collection." They sell for $50 unframed and $100 framed. Six have been sold during a private unveiling of the painting last week.

To begin, Judd said he and his cousin visualized what the Gingerbread House would look like once the renovation is completed. For example, Judd said he took 25 pictures of the different pieces of the intricate front porch which are currently in storage, and sent them to DeVito so he could piece together the porch in the painting.

The pair also came up with the house color scheme of almond, cream, an off-white and lime green they felt would best show off the beauty of the Victorian house.

"People can visualize it when it's finished," Vito said.

The three-stage, multi-year effort to restore the landmark building was undertaken by a group of local volunteers who formed The Friends of the Gingerbread House. Now under the name of Norway Landmarks Preservation Society, the group has been raising money for several years to restore the building.

The 80- by 20-foot house was built in 1851 by Richard Evans and later bought by Charles Bradley Cummings, founder of C.B. Cummings & Son dowel mill on Pikes Hill Road, according to a report by Andrea Burns of Norway to Maine Preservation in Portland. Elaborate trim was added in the late 19th century by John Hazen for Cummings.

Robert Sallies and Howard James eventually took ownership of the building, which was behind the Advertiser-Democrat building.

In 2008, C's Inc., a real estate holding company affiliated with Sun Media Group, publishers of the Sun Journal and Advertiser-Democrat, agreed to delay demolition of the house if someone could move it. The Friends of the Gingerbread House banded together to save it.

In 2011, the house was moved about 950 feet up the street near Butters Park.

Anyone interested in obtaining a framed or unframed painting can purchase one at the art show on July 11 or by emailing Judd at albertjudd@hotmail.com.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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(c)2014 the Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine)

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Source: Sun Journal (Lewiston, ME)


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