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A mural of many colors
Young artists bring nautical theme alive in Conimicut mural
Anita E. Baffoni
Kim Kalunian
CONCENTRATION: Karissa Smith pays attention to detail as she paints a portion of the mural.

Upon entering Conimicut Village, a once blank stone block wall has become the canvas for a nautical themed mural being painted by three Warwick Vets students.

Conimicut Village Association Vice President Leslie Derrig hopes the mural will deter delinquent defacement to public property. Derrig says that graffiti has been an ongoing issue in the village. By working closely with Warwick Police and having young people invested in painting the mural, she thinks vandals might think twice before defacing property.

The three students, Stephanie Bogu, Karrisa Smith and Aubrey Brunelle, were chosen to do the project by their art teacher, Karon Larson, because of their artistic talent. Deciding on a nautical scene seemed appropriate, according to Derrig, because of the location of Conimicut Village.

Ongoing drawings of fishermen, sailboats and a lighthouse can be seen on the side of Allstate Appliance Service Company on West Shore Road.

Derrig and the Conimicut Village Association donated the supplies used for the mural. Fundraisers helped generate the $250 for the project. Although Derrig came up with the idea, the students contributed their thoughts on the final design for the mural.

The girls used pictures to get inspiration for the concept and have been working on it for more than three weeks. Smith says they worked 11 hours on the first day and have been consistently working from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week.

“By Friday we are wiped out,” Brunelle said.

Owner of Allstate Appliance Mike Sheridan allowed the girls to paint the mural on the side of his building. Because of its location, Derrig thought it would be a perfect spot because it is something good to see coming into the village.

More than halfway done, Brunelle says the project will be finished in roughly two weeks. The girls’ artwork has already gotten the attention from neighboring businesses on West Shore Road.

“The Laundromat down the street asked how much we charged,” Brunelle said. “It is nice to know we’ll be recognized for it.”

A recent graduate, Brunelle keeps herself busy by working two jobs throughout the summer. She juggles working at Prudential Gammons Realty in East Greenwich and being a Personal Wellness Coach at Raise the Bar Nutrition. She plans to attend Johnson & Wales next year for a degree in baking and pastry arts.

Bogu has also graduated Vets this year and hopes to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in fall 2013. She has a part-time job at McDonald’s and with the addition of painting the mural her summer is very busy.

Smith is an upcoming junior at Vets and uses her free time to help paint the mural. Art has always been an interest of hers all throughout her childhood.

The association is responsible for beautification of the village and Conimicut Point. This includes the addition of new picnic benches and bike racks, along with the planting of trees and flowers.

The Conimicut Village Association is made up of about 120 members, all residing within the community. Headed by Virginia Barham, the association’s primary purpose is to maintain the village’s appearance to help attract new businesses to the area.

“The association brings together the Cominicut neighbors,” Derrig said. “We want to build a village so it’s not just a place to live but a place to grow.”


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