Brunswick rec center art comes with message, purpose

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BRUNSWICK — A public art project hopes to brighten one of the town’s newest buildings while highlighting health and fitness.

Volunteers installed 16 brightly painted canvas murals at the Brunswick Recreation Center on Neptune Avenue on Monday afternoon.

Each mural depicts a different scene of exercise and athletics, like ice hockey, dancing and yoga, or healthy food. The pieces were produced by young artists from Bowdoin College, Brunswick Junior High School, the Art Van and St. John’s Catholic School, and all feature black and orange, the Brunswick school colors.

“We’re in a rec center, so we wanted to promote that healthy lifestyle,” said Mariah Reading, a Bowdoin junior who helped direct the project.

The murals are arranged around the building’s main basketball court, where there is also an indoor running track.

Besides highlighting health and wellness, the project was an important way to build bridges between the college and Brunswick communities, and to involve different schools, Reading said. 

It also draws attention to the new center, which, because of its out-of-the-way location at Brunswick Landing, can be overlooked by people, she added.

“We wanted to do it here because it’s a beautiful new building, but not a lot of people know about it,” Reading said.

The Recreation Department moved to 22 Neptune St. earlier this year, after vacating a Federal Street building that had served as the town’s recreation center for several decades.

In addition to the murals, students from Brunswick High School also painted the front of the building’s concession stand as a permanent contribution to the space, Reading noted.

The recreation center project is part of Brunswick Public Art’s Art Around Town series, highlighting “small bursts of art” in locations across Brunswick, she explained.

Although she does not know how long the murals at the rec center will stay up, she said her hope is to make the space a “rotating gallery,” with new murals installed every so often to give the space a periodic boost of “life and energy.”

An opening reception for the recreation center murals is scheduled Thursday, Dec. 4, from 6-7 p.m.

Peter L. McGuire can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or pmcguire@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter @mcguiremidcoast.

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Mariah Reading, a junior at Bowdoin College, hangs murals at the Brunswick Recreation Center on Neptune Drive as part of the Art Around Town series by Brunswick Public Art.

Volunteers Cathy Fogler and Pat Spock help hang murals at the Brunswick Recreation Center on Neptune Drive on Monday.

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