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February 15, 2019

Artist commissions announced for Lewiston’s Hartley Block building

Courtesy / The Szanton Co.
Courtesy / The Szanton Co.
The Hartley Block building in Lewiston will include two works of mosaic art at ground level for the public to enjoy. The works will interpret details of two Marsden Hartley oil paintings, “Smelt Brook Falls” and “Georgetown, Maine.”

The Portland-based developer of the Hartley Block building in downtown Lewiston will spice up the fašade with two mosaic-tile works of art commissioned this week.

The pieces, to be created by Miotto Mosaics Art Studios Inc. of Carmel, N.Y., and in consultation with artist Nancy Blum of New York City, will interpret and enlarge details of two Marsden Hartley oil paintings, "Smelt Brook Falls" and "Georgetown, Maine."

"We want to both honor Marsden Hartley, who had a studio on this site in his early years, and create a distinctive 'sense of place' for his namesake building," said Nathan Szanton, president of the Szanton Co., which is developing the Hartley Block, in a news release. "We also want to build awareness of Hartley, a native of Lewiston, and his accomplishments."

In a recent interview with Mainebiz, Szanton Co. development officer Amy Cullen said that she has learned a lot about mosaic art as a result of the project, which included sending out a request for proposals to artists.

"I'm very excited because they do very good work," she said of the artists who won the commission. The call attracted submissions from Maine and beyond, including from international artists.

Blum and Miotto have collaborated on other mosaic projects, including the 28th St. subway station in Manhattan, and a commuter train station in Westchester County, N.Y.

"Stephen and I are really excited about this commission," Blum said of the Hartley mosaic project. "Usually when we work together, I design the art and Miotto Mosaics installs the work. We've never before been asked as a team to interpret the work of an artist. It will be an interesting challenge to bring Hartley's work to life on a busy downtown street."

The contract calls for the pieces to be installed by the end of May.

The Hartley Block will offer 22 market-rate and 41 income-restricted rental apartments, and 4,000 square feet of commercial space along Lisbon Street. Residential tenants are expected to start moving in in March, and commercial tenants starting this summer.

Mainebiz Real Estate Insider reporter Laurie Schreiber wrote about the Hartley Block groundbreaking last year, including early interest from prospective tenants.

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