The carousel at Greenport Village’s Mitchell Park has come a long way.
Built around 1920 in North Tonawanda, N.Y., the carousel was purchased by Grumman in Calverton, who used it for company picnics and community events. In 1995, the plant was closed, and Greenport — with the help of then-Mayor David Kapell — won a donation contest for the carousel.
Since then, it’s been moved about the village and touched up, said Gail Horton, a local history buff and member of the village’s carousel committee.
“It’s been a wonderful asset to our village,” she said.
But never before has it featured the work of local artists. That changed Wednesday, as the carousel committee installed the first in a series of paintings commissioned by local artists onto the carousel’s rounding boards above the horses.
“Oh my god,” Ms. Horton exclaimed as the first vinyl reproduction of a painting of a baymen pulling in a boat in local waters was attached to the carousel. “It looks like an oil painting!”
The project was part of a judged competition to create works of art that could be installed to the outside of the carousel around the top edge above the horses. Ms. Horton said three local prestigious artists helped to judge the artists applying for the work and ultimatly chose four artists to feature: Enid Hatton, Keith Mantell, Cindy Pease Roe, and Marla Milne, whose work was the first to go up Wednesday afternoon.
“These are artists with accomplished careers,” Ms. Horton said. “We love them all. They’re really wonderful.”
The artists were instructed to take photos from 1855 to 1955 as inspiration for their work in order to portray a classic Americana view of Greenport Village. Fourteen total works of art will be placed around the artwork by the early spring, Ms. Horton said.
Each work of art was digitized and blown up as a vinyl reproduction to be attached to the carousel by local graphic artist Bill Von Eiff and his son, Toby.
Mr. Von Eiff has lived in Greenport since 1999 and said it was special to work on a local landmark.
“It’s capturing the Village and the area,” he said of the artwork. As the reproductions were pasted to the carousel, many representatives of the committee, Mr. Kapell, Village Board members Julia Robins and Mary Bess Phillips, as well as administrators from Village Hall watched on and clapped.
Both Ms. Pease Roe and Ms. Milne are Greenport residents, while Mr. Mantell lives in Riverhead. The final artist is a Connecticut resident, but has spent time teaching and exhibiting her work in Greenport, Ms. Horton said. All the artists were compensated for their work.
Ms. Milne, a former graphic designer and art director who’s begun a painting career in her retirement, said she and her husband were drawn to Greenport because of its arts scene.
“There’s such a wonderful culture of artists around Greenport,” she said. Ms. Milne’s first work was modeled by her husband, who pulled a boat onto the shore near Hallock Bay to simulate a historical photo. Ms. Milne, an observational artist, also toured the local beaches to compile the scenes in the painting.
She was proud that her neighbors had appreciated her artwork.
“You’re always really happy when someone that you don’t know likes your work and you get to have it up for a long time,” she said. Ms. Horton said the committee is planning an exhibition of the original works of art sometime next year, as well as a silent auction to sell the pieces.
Proceeds will go towards funding a new round of commissioned artwork for the inside of the carousel, she said.