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Neighborhood View – “Frank Stella: An iconic artist returns home”

Neighborhood View – “Frank Stella: An iconic artist returns home”

Neighborhood View: “Frank Stella: An iconic artist returns home

In 2012, local artist and Malden resident Sharon Santillo reached out to Stella to reconnect with his hometown. As the chairperson on the newly formed Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Walkability, Santillo came up with the idea of  incorporating Stella’s artwork into wayfinding signs throughout the city; these signs tell how long a walk it is to key city destinations.

“I contacted his office requesting copyright permission and at first his office was unclear on what I was asking,” said Santillo. “So I sent him a mock-up of the idea using downloaded images of his artwork. I know the copyright rules, so I was holding my breath that they would understand it was just for them to get a visual!” She was thrilled that her efforts over many months resulted in a resounding “yes” from the artist, granting permission, free of charge.

At the WalkBoston “Golden Shoe” ceremony. From left: Sharon Santillo, artist/Malden activist; Frank Stella; Wendy Landman, WalkBoston Executive Director; and Gary Christenson, Mayor of Malden. (Photo by Paul Hammersley, 3MG)

When the signs received recognition from WalkBoston for being the first to combine fine art with wayfinding, Santillo again reached out to the artist to invite him to the “Golden Shoe Award” ceremony at MIT. (The New England Resource and Development Center at MIT holds several of Stella’s works in its gallery collection.) To her great surprise and delight, he accepted the invitation and attended the ceremony where he was presented with his own Golden Shoe. A cadre of Malden arts enthusiasts came out for the event and met with Stella, including Dora St. Martin, the Executive Director of the Malden Public Library.

Posted November 9, 2018

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