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Art to brighten up Lynn ‘cityhALL’

Endicott College intern Jaymie Caponigro, left, speaks with Robin Ennis, deputy chief of staff to Mayor McGee, plan out the hall of mayors which will occupy the third floor of Lynn City Hall. (Spenser R. Hasak)

Lynn Memorial City Hall celebrates its 70th anniversary with a series of events in September. Leading up to that historical observance, the Downtown Lynn Cultural District and the Lynn Public Arts Commission are working on an initiative called “city hALL” that will showcase art, education and history on all four floors of this Art Deco wonder that’s on the National Register of Historic Buildings. 

Carolyn Cole, Cultural District director, said each floor will have a theme, and Hearing Room 302 will be transformed into a rotating community art gallery/public space. Cole said all pieces will be produced and donated by the community, with standout contributions from Lynn Public Schools and other local organizations, such as the Lynn Shutter Society. 

“One of the first things Mayor (Thomas M.) McGee said to me was ‘Can we get some art in here?'” said Cole, with a smile. “But this is so much more than just putting art on the walls.”

The foyer, a living memorial to the city’s fallen veterans, has already been renovated and spruced up. The lower level will focus on community via works that show what makes and has made the city what it is today; the city’s culture and diversity will be paramount. The second floor will have a maritime theme. History, including a display featuring every mayor since the city was incorporated in 1850, will dominate the third floor. Industry will be the subject of art on the top floor. 

Robin Ennis, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff, and intern Jaymie Caponigro are among those planning and putting in long hours to make this exhibition special. “It will be fun and vibrant and tell the story of Lynn,” said Ennis. 

Students in the city’s three public middle schools have produced large paintings that will be featured on the third floor. 

Annette Sykes, president and director of Galleries at LynnArts (GALA), has loaned 35 of the colorful paintings to “city hALL.” She, her “unsung hero” husband Bob, and others were among those who lugged the pieces into the building and affixed it to hallway walls using Command picture-hanging strips, so to not damage the tiles. The art brightens the municipal building immensely.

“It’s part of giving back to the city, my home for 20 years. I absolutely love living here, and a part of my love for Lynn is in everything I do,” said Sykes.

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