Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 09-05-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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Page 10 of 55

NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | SEPTEMBER 5-11, 2019 WOONSOCKET 11 the kids keep doing something any- way.'" He's not the first one to target the rundown structure for an art project. In 2017, Notorangelo was one of sev- eral volunteers who responded to a call for help cleaning up the property and the nearby railroad trestle. At the time, a group calling themselves the "Community Action Brigade" was hoping to paint a mural along Davison Avenue featuring scenes from the nearby Blackstone River Bikeway, a project that drew the sup- port of city officials and permission from neighboring landowners. The group prepped the wall with white paint and painted "Welcome to Woonsocket" on the opposite side of the street, but the project never came together and within two years, graf- fiti had begun to make its way back onto the wall. Impatient with the lack of progress, Notorangelo decided to move forward with his own ideas for the mural. The response, he said, has been positive so far, with passersby often complimenting the work. "Even the police drove by, they stopped, they said great job, keep going," he said. "It was good. The city likes it, and that's all I wanted." His experience in the local art scene goes back to 2001, when he worked as an art instructor for NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, then known as the Woonsocket Neighborhood Development Corporation. He later worked as an instructor for the Woonsocket Housing Authority and various local schools, but the pay wasn't good and the politics kept him from enjoying the work, he told The Breeze. He now works for Anubis LTD, the contractor that sets up the staging for events at Gillette Stadium, and does his artwork on the side, doing small jobs for pay or practic- ing with friends in Providence and around northern Rhode Island. Though he no longer teaches, Notorangelo said it's important to him to show young people how art can be positive for the community. As a teenager, he used to hang out and paint graffiti on the railroad trestle behind the now demolished French Worsted Company Mill, some of which is still visible behind the vacant lot. Now, he tries to show teenagers who pass by on their way to the rail- road tracks how they can use art to make something beautiful instead of vandalism. So far, the Manville Road mural has been spared from graffiti, which he takes as a good sign. "The kids are respecting it, and that's the main thing to show the kids," he explained. Though the Davison Avenue side of the building still features a mostly empty canvas, Notorangelo said he's put the project on hold for the moment until he can get in touch with city officials about what they want to do next. The original plans for the project featured scenes from the bikeway as well as the city's his- tory, and he's hoping his work will spur other community members to get involved and get the project back off the ground. He's also hoping for some financial support – paint for the Manville Road side of the building cost close to $400 of his own money, he said, and he's hoping others will be willing to pitch in. "I can't wait to get it done. I've been waiting two years to get that wall done," he said. BREEZE PHOTOS BY LAUREN CLEM A mural by local artist BENNY NOTORANGELO recently took shape on a building owned by a landscaping company on Manville Road. A CHAMELEON clinging to a plant a few inches above Davison Avenue is one of several critters featured in the new mural on Manville Road. MURAL From Page One Harris Book Club meets Sept. 18 WOONSOCKET – The Harris Library Monthly Book Club will meet Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m., at the library, 303 Clinton St. Members are asked to bring along a recently read book and offer a three-minute talk about why the book was a great or not-so-great read. Light refreshments are avail- able. For more information, call Margaret at 401-767-4126. Adults ages 18 and up are welcome to join the free event. • Drive up easy access • 24 Hour Security • Security Gate Access • Great Prices & Service 678 George Washington Highway Lincoln, Rhode Island 02865 OFFICE: 401-334-8360 NOW OPEN If you need Space, We've got the Place! 10 x 10 & 10 x 20 Units Available First Month FREE When you mention this ad.

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