NORWAY — The Norway Memorial Library has been selected to be the second in a series of Norway Landmarks Preservation Society art collection prints by a noted New York artist.

The announcement was made Jan. 24 during an unveiling of the artwork at the home of society member Albert Judd.

Prints of the original watercolor painting by artist, sculptor and conservationist Vito DeVito are being sold to raise money to help fund restoration of the landmark Gingerbread House on Main Street.

In 2014, DeVito, a cousin of Judd and a summer resident of Norway Lake for more than 30 years, agreed to paint a picture of one of the 72 historic buildings in the Norway Downtown Historic District each year, in hopes of raising $2,500 annually toward the renovation project.

The three-stage, multiyear effort to restore the 1851 building was undertaken by a group of local volunteers who formed The Friends of the Gingerbread House. Now under the name of Norway Landmarks Preservation Society, the group has been raising money for several years to restore the building.

DeVito and Judd came up with the idea to sell prints of a DeVito original each year as a fundraiser in 2014. The first print of a conception of the restored Gingerbread House was sold in 2014.

DeVito’s work has been showcased in museums and galleries across the country and Canada, and are in the private collections of notables ranging from the late Patricia Kennedy Lawford and Billy Joel to the New York Stock Exchange and NBC.

The Norway Landmarks Preservation Committee has developed a list of properties that will be considered for future paintings, including the Weary Club and an architect-designed Queen Anne Victorian at 9 Whitman St. Although the list will not include any commercial buildings, the 1894 Norway Opera House may be painted in the future because it was the hub of community activities, including dances, graduations and other events, for many years.

The fundraiser is expected to garner about $2,500 a year for the restoration project.

The 44-acre Downtown Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, includes 64 historically significant residential, civic, social and commercial buildings along Main Street. Although significant early- to mid-19th century buildings survive in the village, a major fire in 1894 wiped out many of the buildings on Main Street, resulting in the construction of a number of new brick and wood frame buildings.

The decision to paint the Norway Memorial Library, which was not on the original list of buildings, was “a no-brainer,” DeVito said.

“Visually, it’s the most impressive building on Main Street,” he said.

The library was established in 1885 and was located above L.M. Longley & Sons hardware store for many years. The current building was completed in 1938, according to information on the library’s Web page.

The neo-classic design was provided by the Boston architect William B. Coffin. Philip D. Wight of Norway submitted a bid of $31,190 to construct the building, according to information from the library’s Web page. The building was dedicated in 1938 and originally housed about 9,000 books. The collection now contains about 40,000 volumes.

The artist donated one of his library prints to be hung in the library.

Anyone interested in buying a framed or unframed painting can email Judd at [email protected] or the artist Vito DeVito at [email protected]

The prints are signed, numbered and titled “Norway Memorial Library, Norway Landmarks Preservation Society Art Collection.” They sell for $50 unframed and $100 framed.

[email protected]

Members of the Norway Landmarks Preservation Society hold prints of a painting of the Norway Memorial Library by Vito DeVito. From left, front row: Joan Beal, Ann Siekman, Sue Moccia and Brian Otterson; back row: Andrea Burns, Richard McSherry, Albert Judd, artist Vito DeVito and his wife, Laurie DeVito.
 

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