NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

April 22, 2013

Showing love for Boston

Mooers' marathon tribute offers solace, support

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — Carriagetown may be an hour north of Boston, but the horrific events at last Monday’s Boston Marathon has brought the whole region together in a way not seen in recent memory.

That connection was on the mind of local artist and gallery owner Jon P. Mooers when he awoke last Tuesday and felt inspired to paint a massive mural of the Boston skyline and display it for everyone to see.

Three people were killed and more than 170 injured when two homemade bombs went off in quick succession near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The two men believed to be responsible eluded authorities for days before Friday’s apprehension of a 19-year-old Cambridge man and the death of his older brother.

In the process, an MIT police officer was shot to death and an MBTA police officer critically wounded.

Mooers’ 8-foot-tall, 7-foot-wide mural with letters spelling “Boston” dangling in front of it is the centerpiece of the front window display. Surrounding the mural are smaller painted placards including the now iconic B Strong logo and design, massive ribbons with runners etched in the middle, a Boston Athletic Association card and several candles.

“I woke Tuesday and just thought it needed to be done,” Mooers said.

It took Mooers, who is perhaps best known for his mural of Amesbury comic artist Al Capp for the entryway to the Upper Millyard, most of the day to paint the mural on canvas using a photo of the Boston skyline — Citgo sign included — as a reference.

The idea for a mural came after a discussion with gallery worker Lyla Koppelman, who suggested placing an American flag outside the Main Street gallery, but it blossomed into something grander.

Located across the street from Ben’s Uniforms, Mooers’ gallery opened its doors Nov. 1 and features work from roughly 25 Amesbury-area artists. The gallery was last home to the Witches Cauldron, which opened in March 2011.

Almost immediately, the mural became an attraction, with many people stopping in their tracks to take photos of it.

“It just helps us feel like a stronger community and it keeps us connected to Boston,” Mooers said. “We all want to be there for our neighbors. Let’s just hope it becomes a happy memory other than the wound it is now.”

Yesterday, Mooers and others were busy preparing decorations for a candlelight vigil scheduled for 7 p.m. at the city’s gazebo located next to Amesbury Public Library.

Mooers said he is unsure what will happen to the mural and the other works created for the window display. One possibility, he said, is organizing an auction for the artwork with proceeds helping victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.