Positive Street Art builds community through urban art: Meet-and-greet Dec. 17 at The Factory on Willow

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Cecilia Ulibarri, left and Manny Ramirez founded Positive Street Art, the Nashua non-profit focused on building community through urban arts, workshops and events. Photo/Melanie Haney

MANCHESTER, NH – Well known in Nashua for their nonprofit, Positive Street Art, Manuel Ramirez, and Cecilia Ulibarri have spent the past three months here in Manchester as Artists in Residence at The Factory on Willow.

Mariana Beer is the property manager and community creator at The Factory on Willow, and she sees the Artists in Residence program as a key element in fostering art and people who are at a point in their career where they could benefit from being given space and a stipend to grow and focus on their medium.

For the couple, it has been an invigorating opportunity to do their own art as individuals, creating pieces that reflect their unique experiences and passions, without working for a larger entity. 

The eyes have it. Photo/Melanie Haney

For Cecilia, who works full time for the City of Nashua in addition to her work with Positive Street Art, this residency has given her the gift of space to explore different mediums and purge a lot of pent-up creativity. Her work showcases many facets of herself and highlights the diverse range of her interests and talents. “It’s been fun, it’s been scary, it’s been intimidating, but in the end, it has allowed me to expand my mediums and my creativity.”

Her work is eclectic and bold, but she is correct when she tells me, “you won’t see a particular style that makes you say, this is this artist. Each piece has a different vibe and feel.”

Cecilia Ulibarri holds handmade alcohol-ink tile coasters. Photo/Melanie Haney

While in residence, they each created a unique piece to leave behind at The Factory, and Cecilia also ran two community workshops to welcome people in to create alcohol-ink tile coasters, and more recently, marble ornaments.

I chatted with the artists as they were in the final rush to prepare for an “as perfect as possible” Artists Showcase, which will be on Friday Dec. 17 from 5-9 p.m., and I was given a small peek into Manuel’s spray-painting process. Unlike Cecilia, his art does have a distinct tone that carries throughout his work. His bold use of color and the vivid and lifelike rendering of faces, eyes, in particular, is stunning. 

He is inspired by galaxies and the beauty in their light refractions. Some of the pieces he will be sharing on Friday are named as such – Super Nova, Europa (one of Jupiter’s moons), and Venice Eclipse.

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Cecilia Ulibarri and Manny Ramirez at work as artists in residence at The Factory on Willow. They’re preparing for a Dec. 17 open house. Photo/Melanie Haney

“Since Covid started, I’ve been trying to dig deep and find why I enjoy painting. I keep coming back to the space thematic stuff, and constellations. You hear all the time, ‘we’re made of star stuff’ but I take that to heart. I also love adding lore to my work and I love mythology, and so the final piece for the show is The Sisters of Fate.”

Photo Gallery/Melanie Haney

The Sisters of Fate is his largest piece created during his residency, and it is the one that will remain at The Factory on Willow. With bright colors striking against a black blanket of outer space, it depicts a cosmic retelling of the mythological sisters who create, dispense, and cut the threads of our lives.

The free Artists Showcase will be at The Factory on Willow on December 17 from 5-9 p.m. There will be light refreshments and wine. Along with the opportunity to meet and chat with the artists, there will be an opportunity to support their work by buying some for your own home. You can RSVP here via Eventbrite.

Many Ramirez discussing his mural art. Photo/Melanie Haney


About this Author

Melanie Haney

Melanie Haney is a photographer, writer, wife, and mother of four. As a writer, she has been the recipient of literary awards and her fiction has been published in national magazines and in an assortment of literary journals. Her short story collections ('The Simplest of Acts' and 'This Perfect Mess') can be found on Amazon. Outside of creative pursuits, she is the co-director of the Thrive Outdoors Community Leadership Center on Elm Street.