HIGH-FLYING MURALS AT NEW ART CENTER
by James Foritano
Newton, Mass. – January and February are ordinarily months of cabin fever, when walls close in — unless, of course, you’re the kind of athlete who sees sport in snow and ice. For enthusiasts of the “great indoors,” as more and more I count myself, there are always walls begging to be inscribed, emblazoned with intuitions of the heart and soul.
Skeptical? Suffering under the illusion that art is for artists and walls are no place to be leaving the untutored effusions of an amateur?
Relax. You have The New Art Center in Newton’s Holzwasser Gallery — a modest space of about 300 square feet with walls that soar to an 18-foot- high ceiling — and the sanction of a young program that encourages anyone and everyone with a yen to team up with like-minded participants and, under expert but gentle coaching, make your mark in a unique series of interactive mural projects.
A word about the coaches: their experience and styles should bolster your con dence enough so that you, too, could cover a wall with a mural that, though maybe not on a par with Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” will nevertheless be something to chew on for both actors and audience.
Marlon Forrester, January’s mural coach, has been a team player since he rst received a hand-off that allowed him to take ight and tip a spinning basketball into a hoop at a young age. The lessons of competition — winning, losing, giving and asking for help — led Forrester off the court and away from the rituals of basketball and onto the equally tortuous courts of academia.
Given the volatility of our contem- porary art world, Forrester needed every bit of his athletic ability and team smarts to stay on his path to discern the “real hoop” from a questionable one, and to judge in a split second which player’s fidelity had suddenly switched from friend to foe, from teammate to prankster.
Forrester still says “Yes!” to the rituals and rounds of basketball, but now, as both player and coach, it’s “Yes, and …” You’ll walk onto the “court” of The New Art Center’s Holzwasser Gallery, choose your materials — in this case different widths and hues of self-sticking, non-runny black tape — then, in loose- fitting athletic garb, proceed to your station and do the warm-up exercises fit for your position.
Finally, observing carefully the various boundary lines of an artfully drawn down-sized basketball court, you’ll begin to make your mark in close proximity to, but never rudely crossing over, the paths that other players choose. Liberty and constraint, freedom and discipline will guide your movements in this most private, most public dance of self with others.