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Former Saugus resident and artist Jeremy Wiseman returned to his hometown this month to leave his mark on an important landmark.
In a moving tribute to the Saugus Fire Department, Wiseman used his skills to paint a mural on the wall of the department’s headquarters at the request of his longtime friend, firefighter Anthony Arone.
“Anthony’s a good friend of mine. We grew up together as Saugonians and we went to Lynnhurst together, then Belmonte, then on to Saugus High. Saugus is my roots,” said Wiseman, 32. “When he asked me if I was interested in painting a mural in the fire department to bring some positive energy and artwork (to the department), I was honored to do it. I wanted to donate my time and materials to make it happen and give back.”
A large-scale rendition of the Saugus firefighter badge, the mural not only pays tribute to Saugus firefighters, but to the town as a whole.
Because the department redesigned its patch in recent years to better represent Saugus’ history, Arone said he and others in the department wanted to see that Saugus pride reflected in Wiseman’s mural.
“The first fire pump that was ever used was actually made at the Saugus ironworks,” said Arone, 34. “That’s something that we incorporated into the badge and took pride in, so we thought it would be a good thing to put up on the wall for years and years to come.”
In particular, Arone said two dates depicted on the mural — 1629 to 1815 and Sept. 17, 1888 — represent the years the town was settled, then officially incorporated, and the birthdate of the Saugus Fire Department, respectively.
“We just wanted to bring some life to (the badge) and give the guys something to be proud of,” he said, and Wiseman later added: “When you think about the history and the idea of everything that’s happened in Saugus, the place I grew up, it’s kind of a special thing to be able to say.”
Wiseman, who now lives in Key West, Fla., graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with degrees in architecture and art.
He said that for him, art can be a way to give back, and proceeds from many of his works go to support a number of causes, including the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in honor of his own brother, John, who died from cancer in 2014.
“For me, one of my big purposes in life is making a difference through my art, especially charity art,” he said. “I am fortunate and privileged to have the community and the love and support that comes from back home. It’s why I do what I do.”
Wiseman’s other original work is available for viewing and purchase on his website, www.livin.com.
“Growing up in Saugus played a big part in molding me into the person I am today, and the idea of having my artwork in the fire station as part of its history is just really cool,” Wiseman added. “It’s paying honor and homage to the firefighters who put their lives on the line every day for the betterment of the community, and it was just a really cool, sentimental project to be involved in.”