The Mitchell Park carousel in Greenport recently gained some new flair with 14 rounding boards replicating scenes of the village’s history.
Carousel committee chair Gail Horton said she and other committee members spent “quite a while” poring over books, magazines, photographs and paintings to select the pieces of Greenport past they wanted depicted.
“They tell people, visually, the history of the area,” she said, adding that other carousels, such as ones in Paris and San Francisco, display artwork with the same intention. The committee settled on scenes that pay homage to modern Greenport, as well as East Marion and Orient, from about the mid-1800s through 1950.
The original artwork — some pieces showing ships in the harbor, a major fire, and a passing circus — of the panels will be sold at a silent auction in July, Ms. Horton said. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to own those originals,” Julia Robins, village liaison to the carousel committee, said of the auction. She applauded the committee for its work celebrating the village and one of its main attractions.
“I’m extremely pleased all the artwork is up and in place,” she said. The first panel was installed in November and the final piece was set in place in April with funds from the Friends of Mitchell Park.
Greenport Village Trustee and former committee member Mary Bess Phillips said she, too, is happy to see the project move forward.
“I think it’s a great investment and a great example of our local heritage,” she said.
Once the carousel committee decided on the displays, they held a competition for artists to send in samples of their work and established a commission of local artists to choose the winners, Ms. Horton said. After reviewing portfolios, the commission chose four artists: Cindy Pease Roe of Greenport, Marla Milne of Greenport, Keith Mantell of Aquebogue and Enid Hatton of Fairfield, Conn.
The goal was to have the scenes painted in a realistic way, with colors that can be found in the village, and not in a cartoonish or impressionistic style, Ms. Horton said.
“I do think that they did a wonderful job,” she said of the artists’ final products. “It is detailed realism and it’s what we wanted.”
While Ms. Horton said she thinks all the works are “wonderful,” she particularly loves a scene that shows the Ireland House on Adams Street and a horse-watering fountain in the middle of the street. To her, that is the place where modern Greenport “sprung” in the early 1930s.
Looking back on the process, Ms. Horton said it was not an easy task, but that she enjoys the end result.
“I walk by all the time and smile with happiness,” she said.
The silent auction will take place Friday, July 7, from noon to 8:30 p.m. on the deck above the park’s marina office. The bidding starts at $350 and the winner will be announced at 9 p.m.
Photo caption: Fourteen panels depicting scenes of Greenport’s past were recently installed at the Mitchell Park carousel. (Credit: Sascha Rosin)