GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

December 26, 2012

Bringing Rockport history to life

Artist's series of murals at high school brings rave reviews

By Gail McCarthy
Staff Writer

---- — The entrance to Rockport High School has been transformed from a nondescript off-white wall to one that brings local history to life — and in living color.

Tina Lamond, a Rockport artist, a mother of three, and essentially her own beautification committee, was commissioned by school officials to create a mural — actually a series of scenes — from one end of the entrance to the stairways that lead to the middle school and high school. And her work is now being praised by students and adults alike.

After Lamond finished painting all four walls of the elementary school science room into the fauna and flora from around the globe, she was approached with the idea of painting at the secondary school, and she sketched out a few ideas. The design option chosen features selections of local history that highlight unique aspects of the town.

“When I first arrived, I always thought that wall would be a great place for a mural of ‘historic proportions’ that would show the students, the community, and our visitors the pride we have in our school and our community,” said Philip Conrad, principal of Rockport High School and Middle School.

Working completely from scaffolding, Lamond started in June, working intermittently when time permitted, most often in the evenings, and just finished the project last week.

She started with the theme of the Vikings — the school mascot — and painted a viking and viking ship. The background features an expansive ocean with all kinds of sailing vessels, from those carrying granite, once a thriving industry in Rockport, to fishing vessels.

She noted that granite was used to build the sea wall, of which only a portion of the wall can be seen from shore. The wall never was completed after the interruption from World War I after which the federal government cut off its funding. The sea wall would have made Rockport one of the largest harbors in the region.

The mural contains a few fanciful ideas, too.

“In maritime lore, there is always a sea serpent and mermaids,” said Lamond.

Also featured are the twin lighthouses of Thacher Island, two ships from the War of 1812, and an airmail plane, which Lamond explained was used for a year around the turn of the 20th century to drop mail to Rockport. And the mural would not be complete without a scene of an artist painting the Motif No. 1.

“That is part of the history and a point of interest for artists and photographers,” she said.

“What makes me happy is that the kids are happy,” she said. “It’s no longer a blank wall.”

Conrad commended the artist and thanked the Class of 2012 officers -- Joey O’Brien, Arianna Sanfilippo, Emily Ohrtman, and Seth Perkins and advisors Julia Quirk and Maryellen Cocuzzi -- for funding this project.

“We want to thank Tina for making our school beautiful with moments in Rockport history. She did a great job and has made the lobby a showpiece,” said Conrad, who also noted that the gym has a new floor thanks to the Friends of Rockport Athletics, and new bleachers thanks to the citizens of Rockport.

“To me, it is an artistic embodiment of our core values and our pride in what we do here at the middle/high school,” Conrad continued. “We work hard, we explore, and we persevere in order to reach our goals.”

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.com.