Painting the Town

I’d only been to Portsmouth, NH, once before this holiday. So I wasn’t sure if the amazing artwork painted on building around the town was a permanent feature or a special exhibition. A quick Google search on my return revealed that they were part of the Street a.k.a. Museum exhibit, curated by the Portsmouth Museum of Art.

I’ve had a wee look at this map which gives the locations of all the artworks, and although I didn’t manage to spot them all in the couple of days we were there, here are the ones I did find:

fly

caravan

Portsmouth

conversation

black cat

chomp

And my favourite…

boom

The featured artists are bumblebee, herakut, Shark Toof, Alexandros Vasmoulakis, and Andreas von Chrzanowski.

A Portsmouth local has blogged here, posing the question of whether this kind of painting is art or crime. Thankfully they came firmly down on the side that says ‘art’. But as the sole comment on this Seacoast Online article shows, not everyone thinks that outdoor art is such a good thing. There is a great review of the exhibition here, and on the Museum’s own blog is a post detailing how one of the exhibits has already ‘evolved’ during its time in Portsmouth.

As a visitor to the town, I thought the exhibition was fantastic. It made a lovely, lively wee place even more interesting than it already was, and demonstrated in a very public way that Portsmouth is a town with a thriving art scene. The exhibition runs until the end of September, and unfortunately I won’t make it back to track down the paintings that I missed… but I hope it’s a format that the Museum of Art feels able to repeat again in future.