Newburyport resident wins affordable housing poster contest

Nancy Frenette, a resident of the James Steam Mill affordable housing units in Newburyport, won first place in a national poster contest. Her painting depicts the theme of sharing stories and learning from others young and old. Courtesy photo

NEWBURYPORT — Local resident Nancy Frenette was selected as a winner of an annual poster contest hosted by the New England Affordable Housing Management Association, featuring artwork from artists of various ages. 

The Drug Free Poster Art Contest was created almost 30 years ago as an art and calendar contest involving children, from kindergarten through high school, in a program that would promote living a drug-free life, according to the association.

The poster contest is open to children and adults 55 and older who live in a community of a NAHMA or a local Affordable Housing Management Association group, as well as residents with special needs who live in a permanent supportive housing community, according to the contest rules.

In addition to promoting drug-free poster art, there is a different subtheme each year, said Charys Bones, resident services coordinator of SHP Management Corp., which operates the James Steam Mill apartments in Newburyport. This year, the theme was sharing stories and learning from others, young and old, Bones said.

More than 5,000 participants entered submissions nationwide and Frenette, 69, a resident of James Steam Mill, was one of the few first-place winners selected to have her art featured on the organization’s 2020 calendar.

Frenette painted a watercolor scene of an elderly man and a little girl sitting on the tailgate of an old truck. In the painting, the older man is reading a story to the girl, she said.

“I wanted to get the building excited about entering the competition,” Frenette said.

Frenette took up painting about three years ago and attends classes at the Newburyport Senior Community Center. One of her friends leads a group of about 27 women who paint together.

Frenette said her hobby has grown over the years and she feels humbled to have had the opportunity to represent James Steam Mill in the poster contest.

She said the mill management plans to hang her watercolor painting for all residents to enjoy.

“That’s what I was excited about for everybody to see we’d entered and the James Steam Mill had won the competition,” she said. “Just to get it stirred up some excitement and togetherness for everybody.”

The New England Affordable Housing Management Association works to facilitate communication between management agents, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and state housing finance agencies to provide training and education on regulatory, legal, legislative and management topics and to promote quality affordable housing.

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Staff writer Amanda Getchell covers Newburyport and Seabrook. Follow her on Twitter @ajgetch.

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