Local artists of all abilities converged Sunday morning on the Tree Streets neighborhood in downtown Lewiston to dress up the area.

It was not the first time for such events, but organizer Melanie Therrien of Wicked Illustrations Studio and Gallery in Lewiston said this one was even bigger.

Therrien said she approached the city for approval, and was granted funds from Healthy Neighborhoods’ Growing our Tree Streets to buy the supplies to continue a project begun a few years ago.

But this time, the project’s scope was larger. A dozen hydrants were painted Sunday, many with matching themes from another art project where crosswalks were painted with different themes.

On the corner of Pine and Bartlett Streets, Deb Davis of Turner painted a gnome on her hydrant, across the street from a community garden where the adjacent crosswalk has vines worked into the crosswalk.

David said she planned to extend the vines from the crosswalk to wrap around the hydrant.

“It’s such a great experience and I have met some really interesting people walking past,” she said. “Many have stopped to watch and given positive feedback.  I even met a very friendly pit bull.”

Davis said she works at the Lewiston Public Schools and uses art as a form of therapy. She has been doing yoga, taking art lessons and joined Therrien in other projects for the past seven years.

A few blocks away, on Birch Street, two girls who were strangers before Sunday bonded and painted their hydrant while their portable speaker belted out tunes, which the girls said boosted their creativity.

Nora Condit of Auburn, a student at Wicked Illustrations, said she jumped at the opportunity to participate when she learned of the project. Her painting partner, Megan Verrill, a student at Edward Little High School in Auburn, was looking for a community service project for her honors program at school and jumped at the opportunity to join in.

“It’s such a great idea that will help brighten up the area and hopefully make people smile,” Verrill said as she mixed colors.

In front of City Hall, Melanie Therrien, an accomplished artist, chose to adorn her hydrant with a lifelike bee on a flower surrounded by honeycombs. It included the message, “Save the bees.”

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