For just over 20 years, I have carefully watched Chester transform. Over these 20 years I’ve watched the Chester Area Pool being built, the Turkey Farm and Public House switch hands at least three times each; I’ve seen businesses along Main Street come and go as time has either granted them growth or loss. Each year the Craft Fair comes and goes, the Fireman’s Carnival brings newly graduated students of all grades together, and in the winter, the ice rink in Chubb Park brings amateur and competition skaters side by side.
Times have changed. About 3 years ago, the Turkey Farm was up and running. 20 years ago the Williamson building was a dance center. Another 25 years or so back, and the Flea Market where the new Chester Springs Mall now sits was up and running. 100 years ago, Crystal Lake was once a swimming hole where ShopRite is today. Time changes all things in one way or another... But we have memories and stories to tell of those times.
This historical town that I have lived in has become even nearer to me now that I go to college in Baltimore. The city smog, traffic, skyscrapers... When I come back home to Chester after 2 to 3 months at a time, I always visit main street for fresh air and to put myself back in perspective. A town with a history of 200 years old is like an old friend: You can see it change, but some things about it never do.
It is why after all this time that I wish to immortalize Chester in a series of oil paintings with respects to its past, present, and future. For future generations to see Chester in the period of development at the turn of the 21th century will not only enlighten those of their roots, but place perspective on the accomplishments this town has made. I plan to paint 25 historical buildings and places in Chester Borough that highlights and draws attention to the rich culture that has developed over that time. Most of the buildings that line Main Street (for example, the Public House), will be painted to capture its place of prominence and majesty. These paintings will then be framed and hung in the new Municipal Building in the foyer area, so people who visit the heart of Chester’s inner working can also view the town through a new perspective and respect.
As a citizen and artist, I look forward to taking this project and immortalizing the town that I, as well as many generations, has grown up in. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to not only propose, but to research more into the town I love and see its rich history unfold.
* This painting series has been featured in The Black River News as well as The Mendham-Chester Patch *