In a time when the arts keep getting cut, “what a great way to show that Milford still has vitality in supporting the arts,” said Paige Miglio, artist and founder of the project, “Murals of Milford”.
Miglio and co-artist Bill Meddick are nearly finished with painting the first mural, a depiction of the bridge linking Milford and Stratford.
Appropriately, the mural is on the side of the Bridge House Restaurant at 49 Bridgeport Ave. – one of the first structures on the Milford side of the span.
The intent of Murals of Milford is to put art at public gateways to the city.
The board is, according to Miglio, “looking for ways to not only connect communities and neighborhoods, but also to take people who visit the city into areas that they might not otherwise go.”
“I think it makes a big difference when you come across the bridge. It highlights the Bridge House, plus it catches people’s eye as an entrance,” said Mark McNeice, who lives across the street from Bridge House and the new mural.
Murals of Milford started out a few years ago with a grassroots project called “Hidden Murals,” where people would paint murals on their houses. These were catalogued by the Milford Fine Arts Council, and people would be given a map of where to find them.
The MFAC wanted “Hidden Murals” to grow into something public, but the project stalled when it didn’t get the support it needed to move forward.
Then Miglio came along, looking for a project to tackle, and a match was made.
Miglio stressed that Murals of Milford is not a project of the MFAC, but that they are one of the partners of the community group which Miglio co-chairs with Meddick, director of the MFAC.
Murals of Milford’s board includes a well-rounded group of Milfordites, including not only members of the MFAC board and artists such as Miglio, but also State Rep. Kim Rose, Milford Development Director Bob Gregory, and Breck Morgan, who is “kind of the mentor of the program, he is an experienced muralist. He did all the murals in South Norwalk,” Miglio told Milford Patch.
Miglio started out in book design, and since moving to Milford 15 years ago, has worked full-time as an artist. Before spearheading the Murals of Milford project, she had done interior mural work in Milford.
Said Miglio, “The mural work came out of my involvement with Milford [Open] Doors [and Windows],” an annual art show and auction that takes place in downtown Milford every fall.
“From there, Arciuolo’s Shoe Store [in downtown Milford] asked me to do a mural, and I’ve done a few others in people’s homes.”
Miglio’s co-artist on the Bridge House mural is Meddick, who besides being director of the Milford Fine Arts Council is an experienced architectural artist who has painted many murals before.
The Murals of Milford Board is looking for artists, sites and funders. Artists should keep in mind that the intent is to accentuate gateways into Milford, either the city of Milford itself, as the mural at Bridge House does, or into a neighborhood or area of Milford. However, it does not have to be literal.
“It can recall an historical image of the city… Some of our ideas are also moveable murals, perhaps painting launches that service boats coming into Milford, perhaps the pedi-cabs that are used on the green,” Miglio suggested.
A site owner may also apply to the murals board, and would then become involved in the artist selection for his space. And, of course, the board is hoping to hook up with some financial donors and sponsors.
The Bridge House mural is intended to launch the program.
Miglio explained, “We wanted to make sure we were more involved before we kicked into high gear. I didn’t want to haul artists in and then say we’ll give you this beautiful space, but then we don’t have the funds.”
“Once [the Bridge House mural] is done, we’re hoping to have a big kick-off party, late September, early October, where we’ll invite hopefully potential site owners as well as potential donors, and present it out there, and see if they will join with us and support us,” Miglio concluded.