Artist plans mural for new downtown Amherst building 

  • A Cambridge artist is preparing to recreate this mural on a new downtown building in Amherst. The mural was on the former Carriage Shops in Amherst, which were demolished two years ago.  FILE PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Thursday, January 03, 2019

AMHERST — A mural overlooking West Cemetery, portraying poet Emily Dickinson and other famous people from Amherst’s past, including a fruit vendor, musicians and Civil War-era soldiers, will be recreated in the spring.

Cambridge artist David Fichter, who completed the original Amherst History Mural in 2005, said he anticipates getting approval soon from the town’s Historical Commission to put a revamped mural on an exterior wall of the One East Pleasant mixed-use building.

Unlike the mural he painted on the back side of the Amherst Carriage Shops, an aging building opened as a hotel in the early 1960s and demolished in fall 2016, the mixed-use building that opened in late summer will provide a better canvas, not interrupted by windows and air conditioning units.

Fichter said he went to a Historical Commission meeting in November to show members the redesign and get feedback.

After tracing and photographing the mural that was 150 feet long and 16 feet tall, Fichter has redesigned the mural by filling in the gaps created by the windows and air conditioners, and also made the rural several feet longer.

The biggest change, though, may be at the top of the mural, where an edge was formed by the roof of the Carriage Shops.

Fichter said because the new mural will be positioned below One East Pleasant’s windows, he prefers for the top of the mural to meander, rather than be a straight line. This will give the mural a softer appearance, he said.

“The commission asked me to do an alternate design based on this approach, which I have done and sent to them,” Fichter said.

He anticipates the commission taking a vote on the preferred design for the mural at its January meeting.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.