Brightening a starry night in downtown Niles

Published 9:22 am Thursday, December 2, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Visitors to downtown Niles may get a little starry-eyed as they walk past the old Woolworth's building, 115 East Main St., thanks to the Niles Art Association.
The Niles Art Association, in cooperation with the Niles DDA – Main Street office, recreated three paintings from Vincent Van Gogh to fill the empty storefront of the now vacant building.
The three Van Gogh works which were recreated were "Starry Night," "Starry Night over the Rhone," and "The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night."
Putting their own spin on the Van Gogh works, the art association, with help from a few volunteers, combined the Rhone and cafe terrace paintings into one, said Patty Rose, the Niles Art Association vice-president.
The recreations, which were painted on several five foot tall by three foot wide plywood boards, were painted over three days from Nov. 20-22 by about a dozen art association members and volunteers.
The paintings will stretch across the entire storefront, taking up a space of about 20 feet from wall to wall.
The plan to paint the store front originally called for the paintings to be done on the windows themselves, but was later changed because the amount of moisture on the windows would make it difficult for the paint to stay on for a long time.
Niles DDA – Main Street director Lisa Croteau first approached the Niles Art Association to do something to make the storefront more appealing during the Dec, 4 "Holiday Homecoming" event.
The idea, Croteau said, was to do something not directly tied to the holidays, allowing the window decoration to stay up past the holiday season.
The art association chose artist Van Gogh because of the ease of replicating his impressionist style and because he is a favorite of the Association's, Rose said.
When asked if she would like to do similar projects to the window paintings, Rose said she would love to.
The Art Association members wanted to thank the volunteers who helped them with the painting project. They thanked Jan Personette, Don Bales, Arlene Wallace, Verna Carpenter.
The also wanted to make special mention of the young volunteers who helped them, Heather, 15, and Jeremy Croteau, 16, and James Vinnedge, 17.
Patti Smith, an Art Association member who has worked with the DDA Main Street Promotions Committee to help decorate downtown, enjoyed working with the young volunteers.
In addition to helping to decorate the downtown storefront, the Niles Art Association will be hosting its first annual Christmas open house titled, "An Artful Event" on Saturday, from 9 a.m to 9 p.m. at the Fisher Gallery, 306 East Main St.
The open house will display original works from 14 artists who are part of the Niles Art Association.
All works on display will be available for sale, as well prints, bookmarks, cards featuring the artists' work, and hand-painted holiday crafts.
Not everything on sale will have a holiday theme, but many of the cards will be holiday themed and some of the paintings are of winter scenes.
Entertainment for the open house will be provided by the Andrews Academy Handbell Choir conducted by H. Dean Boward.
Free refreshments will also be served and the gallery will have a Christmas tree on display as well.
Rose extended an invitation to anyone in the community who is interested to attend the open house and consider joining the Niles Art Association.