Children's Room Murals

CONWAY – Thanks to a collaborative effort between the library, local

artists belonging to the Mount Washington Valley Arts Association, and

Cranmore Mountain Resort, visitors to the Pope Memorial Library may

now enjoy two snowsports-oriented murals that adorn a north wall of the

new addition and some character-themed reading murals on a wall of the

library’s children’s room.

The large mural created by local artist Sarah W. Eastman of Kearsarge

depicts two images: one on the left side shows a vintage image of

Austrian skimeister Hannes Schneider riding up the former Skimobile at

Cranmore, set against the backdrop of snow-covered Mount Washington. 

The second mural on the right wall shows a more modern image of a

young snowboarder navigating his way down the trails at Cranmore.

The side-by-side murals carry the message, “Making Winter Memories

Since the 1930s.”

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Cranmore General Manager Ben Wilcox (left) and artist Sarah Eastman (right) are seen with Pope Memorial Library Director Andrea Masters in front of a mural about skiing history Eastman has painted at the library.

“I wanted to show past and present, to celebrate our valley’s rich wintersports heritage,” said Eastman, a retired Kennett High and Kennett Middle School art teacher who has long been involved with the MWV Arts Association. A graduate of Boston University with a degree in art history who took many art classes while in college, Eastman like Gerbutavich displays her art at the MWVAA’s Main Street Gallery at the Shops at Norcross Circle. “It’s not just Cranmore – it’s Mount Washington and all of the valley’s wintersports history and culture.”

Eastman explained that she was originally approached by Pope Library trustee capital campaign chair Sharon Wroblewski of Kearsarge about doing the mural project after the board had discussed the concept with library director Andrea Masters, who is herself an avid wintersports lover. 

Eastman thereupon asked her friend Rosemary Gerbutavich of Madison to collaborate on the project because of her colorful, illustrative style which she believed would be perfect for the children’s room. 

Gerbutavich’s children’s room work depicts three whimsical images designed to inspire children to explore reading  – the first shows a bespectacled moose reading to a rabbit; the second shows a wise old owl with a mortar board reading to two young children and the third depicts a deer peeking around a corner with letters floating above him that spell R-E-A-D.

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Artist Rosemary Gerbutavich pictured with mural artwork in the Pope Memorial Library's children's room.

Noted Gerbutavich about the honor of creating the images, “As long as I can remember I’ve always loved both reading and painting, so to be invited to paint murals for the library’s children’s room was an indulgent treat.”

“Art is not just a decoration – it is a vocabulary in itself,” continued Gerbutavich.  “I wanted to be able to transform an ordinary wall into a canvas that would promote a message and engage a child’s attention. My aim was to make an impression that defines the library as a place to have fun, to learn, to discover and instill a love for reading. ‘A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words,’” said Gerbutavich.  

 

Eastman and Gerbutavich worked on the project mostly in fall 2021 and completed their works in January of this year.

Masters said she and the board of trustees are pleased to see the end result.

“We always wanted a mural for our children's room but never had the wall space for it. But,” said Masters, “with our new construction, we finally have wall space! I was thrilled when we were able to recruit  Rosemary and Sarah, who are such fantastic artists.

“Rosemary did a phenomenal job in the children's room with three separate murals, all depicting local animals and displaying them in such a fun and delightful way.”

She said that for the wall space in front of the children's room, the library wanted a local motif, something that embodies the whole Mount Washington Valley. 

“The mountains came immediately to mind, and Sarah did a fantastic job depicting

Mount Cranmore and Mount Washington and combining fun, sports, and history in her mural that spans two walls. It came out great,” said Masters. 

Cranmore Mountain Resort General Manager and President Ben Wilcox agreed to

sponsor the project as a community partnership to celebrate the valley’s rich snowsports heritage.

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Artist Rosemary Gerbutavich with her mural.

Said Wilcox, “This is a perfect way to help celebrate the rich history of snowsports in the valley. Sarah did an outstanding job and we are very excited to be part of this.”

Sharon Wroblewski said the artwork by Eastman and Gerbutavich adds to the library’s celebration of valley history for all ages and the joy of reading for children.

“It is very very exciting that we can share with the valley the murals at the Pope Memorial Library that were beautifully done by Sarah Eastman and Rosemary Gerbutavich,” said Wroblewski.

 The library’s board of trustees in April 2021 officially voted to change the name from North Conway Public Library to the Pope Memorial Library in honor of Lyman Pope, the main donor of the library’s expansion project. 

Wroblewski and Masters noted that donations are still being accepted for the capital campaign as it nears its end.

The library is located at 2719 S. Main St. in North Conway. For more information, call (603) 356-2961 or go to popelibrarynh.org.

Article courtesy of Tom Eastman, Conway Daily Sun.