Artists showcase Worcester pride with 100 oil paintings

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An ambitious art project celebrating Worcester with 100 small oil paintings was shown at several locations across the city on Saturday.

Tom Grady’s 100 Views of Worcester is fueled by his love for the city – from its most iconic locations to areas that are sometimes easy to overlook.

“I started painting the Notre-Dame church downtown just before it was torn down, and then it made me think of other parts of town,” Grady said. “I decided to challenge myself with 100 views.”

Grady’s pace has been impressive, averaging around 30 paintings a year before Saturday’s big reveal at the Hanover Theater and Conservatory for the Performing Arts and several other venues. His deep history with the city is evident in every brushstroke, but this project turned out to be a learning experience.

“It took me to new places. I discovered new places,” Grady said. “I’ve worked in Worcester for over 20 years at the Worcester Art Museum. I teach at Assumption College and Worcester State. I lived in Worcester, bought my first house there.

Although he admitted to feeling a bit embarrassed as crowds of family members, students and well-wishers flocked to the Hanover Theatre, Grady was happy to finally see the finished product.

“You know, you work on them and they end up drawing and you put them away, so you can’t see them until they’re all exposed,” Grady said. “So it was really exciting to see them on the walls.”

Grady said 100 Views of Worcester communicates a sense of place over time – and now that it’s over, he’s struggling to figure out what to do with his time.

“You kind of get into a rhythm, you know, waking up, working in the studio most of the day, starting the week getting a photo reference or trying to figure out what you’re going to be working on,” Gradi says. “Since it’s over, it’s been a bit of a shock. I don’t know what my next project will be, but I think the takeaway is just this day-to-day work. You do a little each day, and you may end up with a little.

Pieces from Grady’s project will be exhibited at the Hanover Theater, the YWCA of Central Massachusetts and ArtsWorcester on select days throughout the summer. For a full schedule, visit the ArtsWorcester website.

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