ARTICLE: Easthampton Mural (Springfield Republican)

EASTHAMPTON – Thomas J. Pappalardo had a string of luck with design contests when a friend sent him an item about Easthampton City Arts looking for someone to create a mural on a downtown building.
Pappalardo, a Northampton resident who runs a design business, had some successes creating a commercial for an area station and in a Home Depot house decorating contest.
“Someone forwarded me the press release and said, ‘Hey, you should give that a try,'” Pappalardo said.
Now, Pappalardo’s mural fills a huge brick wall on the side of 71-77 Cottage St. which is Route 141. It faces a public parking lot and is easily viewed by people entering the city over Mount Tom.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the mural will be held Friday at 12:30 p.m. at the mural which was completed on June 1. Pappalardo, Mayor Michael A. Tautznik and the Easthampton City Arts Coordinating Committee will be present.
Ellen Koteen, grants coordinator for the city and co-facilitator of Easthampton City Arts, said Pappalardo’s proposal was selected by a group of artists from four submissions.
“They felt his was very vibrant and creative and would appeal to the public,” Koteen said. “I think it looks great. I even liked it better than his proposal.”
Pappalardo, who lived in Easthampton for a year before buying a house in Northampton five or six years ago, describes the mural as a “very stylized treatment” of the words Easthampton, Massachusetts.
The challenge of the project was it had to be designed about the eight different windows that are part of the building, said Pappalardo who considers himself a designer and not an artist.
“It was actually really hard to do something. It was like if you tried to paint a picture on a canvas with eight holes in it. I decided right off the bat I didn’t want to do a picture because it would be to hard to do around the windows,” Pappalardo said.
Instead, he recreated the letters that surround the windows.
The actual outlining and painting took much longer than he anticipated. He spent a day and a half just marking it with the outlines. Then a group of friends spent a full day painting.
“I would have thought twice about entering if I had considered how much leg pain I was going to have from climbing on the scaffolding,” he said.
Still, he is happy with how it turned out and hopes residents will enjoy it.
“I’m very pleased with it. I was shocked that we managed to pull it off so quickly that one day. Seeing it up there on the wall is great,” he said.