First murals debut in Port Washington

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From left to right: Jason Diaz, who painted the mural; Michelle Shain, who designed the mural; and Lori Lee at the mural's opening. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Grossman)

Anyone coming to or leaving Port Washington on Main Street will now be greeted by a mural. Those driving west into town will see “Welcome to Port” with locations from the area in the letters of “Port” in a manner similar to a post card. Those driving east out of town will see a painting of sunset over Manhasset Bay.

The murals are the first two to be completed in Port, part of a program by Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington.

“Our goal is to create vibrancy on Main Street… and art is a wonderful vehicle to accomplish that goal,” said the group’s executive director, Mindy Germain. “We took a space that was pretty uninviting and we turned it into this very vibrant gathering area.”

The murals are located in a small park between Gail’s Stride Rite and Wright Music. In addition to the two murals, the park was also renovated, with musical instruments painted on the benches and overgrown vegetation cut down.

To commemorate the opening of the murals, a party was held in the park featuring live music and snacks from local businesses. Michelle Shain, the local artist who designed the two murals, attended along with North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth and town Clerk Wayne Wink.

The two murals at 5 Main St. are just the beginning, Germain said.

We want to take this down Main Street, we want to continue this momentum,” she said. “Our goal is to have about 10 [murals] in this project, and we’d like to get at least two more done by this time next year.”

The next space targeted for a mural is the west wall of Carlos Pizza. Germain said that Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington had worked with Shain to come up with the designs for the first two murals, but that the artists would be given more discretion with the next mural.

Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington will call for designs for the next mural,  which Germain said will be focused on the area’s history. Each of the future murals will focus on a different facet of the area.

“Different murals will cover different aspects,” she said. “One will be the history of Port Washington, one will be the people of Port Washington, one will be about sports and leisure. Through these murals, we will not just beautify but really bring a sense of pride for this place where we live.”

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