MANCHESTER, NH – Cliff Hurst was just the right person to tell the story of how this month’s featured artist for the Manchester Arts Commission‘s Art on the Wall @City Hall series, Yong Chen, was discovered.
You see, Hurst has spearheaded a group called Manchester Connects, aiming to bring the city together for the greater good to celebrate its culture, history and potential. Hurst also works at Merrimack Street Volvo, where Chen is a customer. Hurst said he and Merrimack Street Volvo owner, Alex Seidel, had just been talking recently about the importance of art. That’s when Seidel mentioned how, as a kid, he was encouraged to explore art through art competitions held at his grade school.
“Alex said maybe we can start an art show in the West Wing of the the dealership, and have the children come in and make it a special time. Well, about a month later I met Yong Chen. We talked for about an hour, and the next day on Facebook, he posted a watercolor painting of me, and there were 170 responses,” said Hurst.
Hurst was so impressed with Chen’s work, he was inspired to approach Manchester Arts Commission Chairman Dan Bérubé, who suggested inviting the Boston-based artist to be a featured artist for the group’s monthly artist series. Seidel offered to sponsor the show.
And the rest is Art on the Wall @City Hall history. Chen’s work was officially launched during an artist’s reception on Jan. 18. His work will be on display throughout the month of January.
During a brief ceremony, Mayor Ted Gatsas spoke about the reaction he sees from people coming in and out of City Hall, many to register their vehicles.
“Folks are stopping to look at every picture. Usually they’ll come in and keep walking as they kind of look, but they stop and take a look at every one of them and follow them down to the clerk’s office, or down this hall as they come in to register their cars,” Gatsas said.
As a thank-you for featuring his work, Chen presented Gatsas and Seidel with framed watercolor portraits of them.
Also contributing to the party atmosphere was classical music performed by the talented Richardson siblings of Bedford – Sydney, Emily and Noah. Refreshments were provided by Matbah Mediterranean Cuisine.
Chen is seeking other public spaces to exhibit his work. His next project is going to be called “One Hundred Pictures,” dedicated to his three children, ages 22, 20 and 9. “I’m about a third of the way there,” said Chen.
Below is a short video clip of Chen talking more about what inspired this series of watercolors. You can learn more about the artist at YongChen.com.
Shout out to Daniel and Katie Bérubé for contributing to the photo gallery.
The Art on the Wall @City Hall program is an excellent opportunity for local artists to display their work in the historic Manchester City Hall. With thousands of visitors per week, a $300 fee provides an artist, business, organization, or group with two wings of wall space on the first floor. Additionally, artists can display small sculpture, pottery and ceramics in the glass cases provided. Work is displayed for two months and artists retain all proceeds from any work that is sold. Interested? Contact the MAC for details.