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Jaffrey-Rindge

75-year-old relief artwork restored

  • The archway to the Jaffrey Grade School with the newly restored artwork by Brian Murray of Peterborough, was prepped and painted in just four days at the end of August.

    The archway to the Jaffrey Grade School with the newly restored artwork by Brian Murray of Peterborough, was prepped and painted in just four days at the end of August. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The archway to the Jaffrey Grade School with the newly restored artwork by Brian Murray of Peterborough, was prepped and painted in just four days at the end of August.

    The archway to the Jaffrey Grade School with the newly restored artwork by Brian Murray of Peterborough, was prepped and painted in just four days at the end of August. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The restored artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School was prepped and painted by Brian Murray of Peterborough, as part of a sub-project of a larger painting project over the summer.

    The restored artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School was prepped and painted by Brian Murray of Peterborough, as part of a sub-project of a larger painting project over the summer. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The restored artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School was prepped and painted by Brian Murray of Peterborough, as part of a sub-project of a larger painting project over the summer.

    The restored artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School was prepped and painted by Brian Murray of Peterborough, as part of a sub-project of a larger painting project over the summer. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The restored artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School was prepped and painted by Brian Murray of Peterborough, as part of a sub-project of a larger painting project over the summer.

    The restored artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School was prepped and painted by Brian Murray of Peterborough, as part of a sub-project of a larger painting project over the summer. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School is bright and colorful again thanks to local painter Brian Murray of Peterborough who prepped and painted the art in just four days at the end of August.

    The artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School is bright and colorful again thanks to local painter Brian Murray of Peterborough who prepped and painted the art in just four days at the end of August. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The archway to the Jaffrey Grade School with the newly restored artwork by Brian Murray of Peterborough, was prepped and painted in just four days at the end of August.

    The archway to the Jaffrey Grade School with the newly restored artwork by Brian Murray of Peterborough, was prepped and painted in just four days at the end of August. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School is bright and colorful again thanks to local painter Brian Murray of Peterborough who prepped and painted the art in just four days at the end of August.

    The artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School is bright and colorful again thanks to local painter Brian Murray of Peterborough who prepped and painted the art in just four days at the end of August. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School is bright and colorful again thanks to local painter Brian Murray of Peterborough who prepped and painted the art in just four days at the end of August.

    The artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School is bright and colorful again thanks to local painter Brian Murray of Peterborough who prepped and painted the art in just four days at the end of August. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The archway to the Jaffrey Grade School with the newly restored artwork by Brian Murray of Peterborough, was prepped and painted in just four days at the end of August.
  • The archway to the Jaffrey Grade School with the newly restored artwork by Brian Murray of Peterborough, was prepped and painted in just four days at the end of August.
  • The restored artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School was prepped and painted by Brian Murray of Peterborough, as part of a sub-project of a larger painting project over the summer.
  • The restored artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School was prepped and painted by Brian Murray of Peterborough, as part of a sub-project of a larger painting project over the summer.
  • The restored artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School was prepped and painted by Brian Murray of Peterborough, as part of a sub-project of a larger painting project over the summer.
  • The artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School is bright and colorful again thanks to local painter Brian Murray of Peterborough who prepped and painted the art in just four days at the end of August.
  • The archway to the Jaffrey Grade School with the newly restored artwork by Brian Murray of Peterborough, was prepped and painted in just four days at the end of August.
  • The artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School is bright and colorful again thanks to local painter Brian Murray of Peterborough who prepped and painted the art in just four days at the end of August.
  • The artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School is bright and colorful again thanks to local painter Brian Murray of Peterborough who prepped and painted the art in just four days at the end of August.

JAFFREY — Previously faded plaster-relief artwork above the School Street entrance to the Jaffrey Grade School is now bright and colorful, thanks to a local painter who completely restored the piece over the summer.

The artwork features a book, shield and flowers that now stand out in bright colors next to the brick building with white trim. According to Jaffrey Grade School Principal Susan Shaw-Sarles, the project was part of School District summer maintenance. This project included doing the trim work to the exterior of the building, painting and the restoration of the artwork came up later in the process.

“They did a great job,” Sarles said about the restoration work. “They stripped it down and repainted it, and we’re just thrilled.”

The contractor for the trim work done at the grade school , Dennis Wright of Rindge — who taught at the Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School for many years — asked one of the men who works for his painting company, Wright Painting, to refurbish the artwork. Wright chose artist Brian Murray of Peterborough, who has worked for Wright for four years now. Murray said in an interview Wednesday that he painted on his own for 20 years and hopes to someday be a muralist.

In an interview with Wright on Tuesday, he said the School Board contacted him to paint the trim work on the exterior of the Jaffrey Grade School building and, when he discovered how faded the old artwork was, he decided to make that a special task.

“The artwork was so faded, I thought, let’s give them a treat,” Wright said. “The redoing the artwork turned into a separate project of its own and I wanted to take advantage of someone who works for me.”

Wright said he took many photos with close-ups of the artwork, to help Murray duplicate the colors, but Wright wanted to add something that seemed to be missing . Now, the vibrant colors make the art look more three-dimensional and sharper.

“I’ve heard comments from people, even town historians, who say how rich it looks now and how it stands out,” Wright said.

Murray said it only took him a total of four days to finish the job. “I had to be very careful when I was prepping the area because it’s a plaster piece,” Murray said. “Most of the time was spent scraping old paint, and I used two coats of primer to fill in the cracks.” Before he repainted the artwork, Murray was busy prepping the archway around the School Street entrance, and painting it.

Murray said he was surprised when Wright offered him the restoration job, and he enjoyed the fact that Wright let him take some liberties with it.

“All I would think about the artwork was peacocks, it just looked like peacocks, so I kept that in mind when I did it,” Murray said. “I could have gone on painting forever. I kept going out to the road and looking at it to see what it would be like from far away.”

In early August, Murray said Wright told him of his plans to get some money to restore the artwork, and by mid-August, the painters were granted the money to begin preparations .

Sarles said the project was made possible by money from the district’s Capital Reserve Fund. In an interview on Tuesday, School District Finance Manager Karen Gray said she did not know how much money was used from the reserve fund for the restoration project and no one at the SAU on Wednesday could say either. Gray said the fund was established in 1990 and money can only be contributed to this fund by Jaffrey and Rindge voters. Gray said voters decide annually in March at the Second Session Ballot Vote whether to add money to the fund or not. The money from this fund, Gray said, is for the repair of real estate, buildings and capital equipment within the school district. It was the School Board’s decision to use some of this money for repairing trim work and painting the Jaffrey Grade School over the summer.

According to Sarles, the school building was dedicated in September of 1938, which means the building and the art that decorate it are 75 years old.

Murray said he was happy to participate in this restoration project. “I’m preserving something before it can’t be saved. I think that’s really cool.”

Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or larceci@ledgertranscript.com.

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