Feelings of nostalgia and pride washed over the dozen or so people who met at Mayor Scott Avedisian’s office yesterday afternoon to see Warwick artist Frank Galasso unveil a photolithograph dedicated to the City of Warwick.
“I think it’s great,” Avedisian said as Galasso pulled back the brown paper that encased the 22” x 28” print, which Galasso drew and painted with colored pencils and watercolors. At least 25 Warwick businesses were represented on the piece, with Warwick City Hall, built during 1893 to 1894, as the main focal point.
Other guests, including Frank Amalfetano, the original owner of Jenny’s Ice Cream, along with his son, Anthony, Arnold Bromberg, co-owner of Benny’s, Carol Pratt of Carol’s Country Corner, Peter Xiarhos, owner of Sam’s New York System, and Barry Newman, Director of Sales and Marketing for Warwick Ice Cream, were in attendance.
“I could never have made this with all you people who took part,” Galasso said to them.
Each of the business representatives was thrilled to be featured on the lithograph. Many of them served as sponsors to Galasso’s project.
“I was very pleased to be included,” said Pratt, whose store is located in the heart of Apponaug Village on the same side of the street as City Hall. “Apponaug is a historic district in the city and it’s nice to represent the village. It’s very nice.”
“We’ve worked with Frank for a long time, back to 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series,” Bromberg said, as Galasso created a lithograph in honor of the Boston team’s big victory, their first since 1918. “We like supporting local artists.”
Benny’s also sold lithographs Galasso made that showcased the Providence Bruins, the New England Patriots, Rhode Island icons and more. Galasso began creating the lithographs in 1999. The first one was a tribute to the Rhode Island Reds hockey team, also known as the Providence Reds. At this point, he’s made at least 25.
Amalfetano, who opened Jenny’s Ice Cream in 1949 and closed the shop in 2004, said the lithograph was as sweet as his ice cream.
“I’m a proud old man,” he said with a smile.
Avedisian said on the day of its closing Amalfetano insisted that Avedisian eat the last ice cream cone ever served at Jenny’s. He enjoyed a cone filled with vanilla, his favorite flavor. Even the image of a blue and white trashcan located outside of Jenny’s brought back memories, as well as a bit of humor, for Anthony.
“I want to thank you for including that trashcan because I had to empty that thing,” he said to Galasso. “That was my first job when I was six years old. Frank did a really nice job.”
Xiarhos was there, as well. He was elated to see his establishment on the lithograph, as he took over the restaurant after his father, Sam, retired about 15 years ago. Sam opened the wiener joint in 1968.
Barry Newman, Director of Sales and Marketing for Warwick Ice Cream, was also in attendance. He said the lithograph is “fantastic.”
“It’s absolutely great,” said Newman, noting that the Bucci family opened the business in 1922. “We’re very proud to be in this group – it’s a great group of people. These are people that are icons. You’ve got Benny’s, Sam’s and, of course, Jenny’s Ice Cream. This is a great community.”
Mark Pezzullo, Galasso’s cousin, along with Glen Voccio, who helps Galasso with the final edits, were also there. Galasso signed copies of press proofs for all who attended. He gave the framed copy to Avedisian, who immediately hung it on a wall in his office.
Other entities featured on the lithograph include Oxnard Pharmacy, Sandy Lane Meat Market, Picasso’s Pizza, Iron Works Tavern, Brewer’s Marina, T.F. Green Airport, Chelo’s, The Greenwood Inn, Morris Farm, Redesign Studio, Iggy’s Doughboys and Chowder House, Clouds Hill Victorian House Museum and the Warwick Beacon. Galasso said he is happy to make the lithographs, as the preserve the history and promote the future of the city. Avedisian gave him the idea to highlight Warwick in 2009.
“We did what we were trying to achieve,” Galasso said, gazing at the lithograph. “It makes me really happy, and I’m looking forward to making it available to the public.”
Avedisian feels the same. The lithograph will be sold at Benny’s in Warwick, as well as the East Greenwich location, Carol’s Country Corner, Diamond Legends and Street Corner in Warwick Mall. Copies will be available for $25 in stores for purchase this week.
“We want to get the word out because they make perfect holiday gifts for people,” Avedisian said.
So, what will Galasso’s next lithographs feature?
“Newport,” he said. “And Hampton Beach.”
To learn more about Galasso, or to purchase a signed lithograph online, visit frankgalasso.com.