Franklin Downtown Partnership Unveils Flower Alley
Signs By Cam employees, FDP Executive Director Lisa Piana, mural artists and members of the Ferrara family gathered at the unveiling of Flower Alley
The Franklin Downtown Partnership (FDP) unveiled its finished Flower Alley between 15 and 17 East Central St. this week. The unveiling comes after months of planning by the FDP and mural paintings by five Franklin Art Association members.
The floral-centered murals that line the alley will comprise one of approximately 25 stops along Franklin’s Ladybug Trail. The Ladybug Trail will feature ladybug sculptures, as well as murals, to help promote economic development in downtown Franklin.
“Eventually, visitors will walk along the trail using a digital map and view signage detailing the history of Franklin,” FDP Executive Director Lisa Piana said. “The FDP believes economic development projects like this encourage people to walk around the area and enjoy the art, historical sites, and the many wonderful businesses and restaurants in our downtown.”
The impetus for the idea of Flower Alley originated with Roberta Trahan, vice president of the FDP. Trahan worked from the time she was 12 through college at Rizoli Pharmacy at its soda fountain. That pharmacy, formerly located at 17 East Central St., was in the building that now displays the murals. Trahan spoke to FDP Executive Director Lisa Piana about the importance of maintaining those buildings and dressing up the alleys.
“I wanted to honor these buildings and hopefully bring joy to others,” Trahan said. “So, while I had this intention, Lisa (Piana) and the artists really took it to the next level.”
Peg Munson took the lead to organize the artists, arrange for supplies and researched what type of materials would be most appropriate for the panels to withstand the elements outside. She also was the first artist to complete a mural.
“I had a lot of research to do,” said Munson who typically paints pastels. “Painting outside murals with acrylics was all new to me.”
Munson said that by using the appropriate materials, including a special type of plywood, a hard finish, and a varnish over the murals, the artwork should stay looking good for many years.
In addition to Munson, other artists who created murals for Flower Alley are: Amy Adams, Hannah Liverant Close, Susan Plume, and AnneMarie Tracey, all of whom are Franklin residents.
Adams said her mural features a variety of flowers, all of which have special significance. For example, the forget-me-nots are for remembering people who have passed, the tiger lily represents joys and thankfulness, and the poppies are a tribute to U.S. veterans.
“The mural is a unity piece about hope and positivity, especially as we’re coming out of this pandemic,” said Adams.
The space for the murals was made possible by The Ferrara family who owns the building. The Ferrara family gave permission to use its building to showcase the murals.
“It’s so nice to do something for the town and to attract people to Franklin businesses, many of which are family-owned.,” said Giannina Ferrara.
Family-owned businesses are close to the heart of members of the Ferrara family. The Ferrara sisters’ parents, Cristina and Pietro, founded Franklin’s Ferrara’s Market in 1960.
“This project does mean a lot to us because our parents worked so hard in Franklin and these murals beautify the town,” said Anna Clarke, another Ferrara family sister.
The FDP is planning to add more murals in other downtown alleys and is finishing up the placement of ladybug sculptures, thanks to the help of Signs By Cam, which has installed the mural and the ladybugs.
“We’re so grateful to the artists, the Ferrara family and Signs By Cam, who made this entire project possible,” said Piana. “These sculptures and murals draw people to Franklin center to visit, dine and shop at our downtown businesses.”
The Franklin Downtown Partnership is a nonprofit, 501©3 organization made up of more than 300 business owners, community leaders and residents working to stimulate economic development downtown and create a positive impact throughout the area. Learn more about the Partnership at www.franklindowntownpartnership.org.