ROCKPORT — The concrete wall on Stone Barn Lane is about to get some much-needed color this fall.

Last week, muralist Josh Falk began painting a "mash-up panoramic scene that embraces the beautiful coastline of Rockport" on the wall behind the Rockport Library. The completed piece will be unveiled to the public during Rockport Harvest Fest on Saturday, Oct. 19. 

The project was funded by the Rockport chapter of The Awesome Project, which awards "micro-grants" to various community projects. Although grants are usually worth $1,000, the mural project received $1,500 in early August due to added material costs. Rockport Music, the Rockport Art Association, and the Rockport Public Library also contributed to the initiative.

"Our goal is to provide grant money for people in Rockport to make the town more awesome," said Ray Cahill, one of the Awesome Rockport ten trustees.

Since 2013, Awesome Rockport has funded 100 projects including the Rockport Legion Band Tribute Concert held this past summer, a recording studio at the Rockport Middle High School and Off the Hook Walking Tours of downtown Rockport. 

"Usually, we have people submit proposal," Cahill said, "but (the mural project) is what we came up with ourselves."

Sal Zerilli, the founder of both Awesome Rockport and Awesome Gloucester, first brought up the idea to the other trustees earlier this year. From there, Cahill acted as a point person for the project. By using the Rockport Art Association database, he reached out to hundreds of local artists in search of someone willing to undertake the mural.

One of the people who responded was Falk, who moved to Rockport in 2017. Growing up, Falk had an interest in graffiti and street art. He honed his talents with a group of like-minded friends in Boston. Eventually, Falk met Dana Woulfe and together, they founded Studio Fresh, a design paint business. In addition to completing outdoor murals in Hingham, Somerville and Framingham, the studio has been commissioned by private companies in Atlanta and Philadelphia.

"We thought (his idea for the mural) would be consistent with our seaside community," said Cahill. "His level of excitement also really struck a chord with us."

At around 72 feet wide and an average of 8 feet tall, Falk said its the largest mural he's worked on by himself. The inspiration for it came from the sunsets he's seen when out fishing on Cape Ann.

"I fish a lot," he said. "A lot of my time has been spent on the rocks, casting lines. This is my way of paying homage to the town. Now that I've moved to Rockport, I don't think I can move away from the ocean." 

The project has been getting a lot of positive feedback, according to Falk. He said the neighbors are glad they won't have to look at the plain gray wall any longer.

"There aren't many murals in Rockport," Falk said. "I hope this inspires more because there's a lot of walls that need attention."

Awesome Rockport is looking for projects for its 19th round of funding. Those looking to make Rockport a more "awesome" place are asked to deliver their pitch at www.awesomefoundation.org/en. Submissions are due by Thursday, Nov. 7.

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.

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