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Adonis Terry Immortalized in Mural

Adonis Terry Mural

This is the official press release from the Westfield Atheneaum. Terry appears in the mural as well as the Westfield Wheelmen. I have edited the content of the release. This is just another step in getting Mr. Terry his recognition he deserves.


The Westfield Athenaeum will be formally unveiling a large wall mural called The Story of Westfield on Friday, June 18, 2010. Muralist David Fichter, of Cambridge, Mass., has been working on the mural for the past 6 months at his studio. Prior to that, Mr. Fichter created conceptual drawings of the mural that were approved by the Westfield Athenaeum Mural Committee, which included members of the Westfield community and staff from the Athenaeum. The mural will be 44 feet long and 7 feet wide and will be mounted on the north wall of the Athenaeum’s Reference and Information Services Room using eleven 4-foot by 7-foot mural panels. The panels are being installed on June 11 in preparation for the formal unveiling the on June 18, when a reception will be held, sponsored by the Friends of the Athenaeum. 


Mr. Fichter is a well-established muralist who has completed over 200 murals in outdoor and indoor spaces, such as libraries, community centers, health centers and senior centers throughout the U.S. and abroad. He has a degree in Fine Arts from Harvard University. His website, located at http://www.davidfichter.net/, features examples of some of the murals he has completed to date. He has been creating community murals for over 25 years, working in the United States and in other countries, including Armenia, Georgia, and Nicaragua. He has worked with youth of all ages on over 150 permanent murals, in addition to another 55 commissioned projects. Project highlights include a thirteen year award winning environmental science mural about the Mystic River in Somerville, MA, working with high school students from the Mystic Housing Project; Further the Dream: The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, a mural with students at the King and King Open Elementary Schools in Cambridge, MA; Lamitye: the Haitian/American Friendship Mural, a ceramic relief mural at the Graham and Parks Elementary School; The Potluck, a mural in Central Square, Cambridge about the surrounding multi-ethnic neighborhood; Lifeline: Creating a Healthy Community, sponsored by S.P.A.R.C. in Los Angeles and painted on the outside of a neighborhood health clinic.


Prior to The Story of Westfield Mural, Fichter's more recent projects include Native Waters, a 350-foot mural on DeKalb Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia, which was painted with over a 100 community volunteers, that traces the journey of the rivers and watersheds of Georgia from the location of the mural, which is on the Eastern Sub-Continental Divide. Last year, Fichter collaborated with muralist Joshua Winer to design and paint The Wayne History Mural on the outside of an art deco movie theater in Wayne, Michigan. One well-known history mural in the Pioneer Valley is the Amherst Community History Mural in Amherst, Mass., located on the back of a long building bordering on the historic cemetery where poet Emily Dickinson and her family are buried. Other historical murals include The Bread and Roses Mural in Lawrence, Mass., Sanctuary: The Spirit of Harriet Tubman in Atlanta, Georgia, J.F. K. Crossing in Brookline, Mass., Area 4 Story in Cambridge, Mass., and Unity/Community: the Chinatown Mural Project (with Wen-ti Ttsen).


Mr. Fichter uses a six-step process to complete his murals. In most cases, the process includes community meetings, the design process, full color design, wall preparation and design enlargement, volunteers and community painting, and the mural unveiling. The Story of Westfield Mural includes all of these steps with the exception of the community painting portion. Mr. Fichter spent more than six months working with the staff and volunteers at the Athenaeum researching the history of Westfield from its settlement and founding in 1669 to the present day. Dr. Bob Brown, the Chairman of the Athenaeum’s board and the coordinator of the museum volunteers at the Edwin Smith Historical Museum, was instrumental in helping Mr. Fichter with many of the historical aspects in the mural.


Images representing the waves of immigrants that started coming to Westfield in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, are included in the mural, as well as images of prominent people who helped shape the Westfield we know today, such as Edward Taylor, the colonial poet and minister of the First Congregational Church, General William Shepard, Senator Frederick Gillett (played baseball at Amherst College), Frank Stanley Beveridge, John Reed, Albert and Amelia Ferst, Alice ‘Ma’ Burke, and Lillie Vanderveer Albrecht, a children’s librarian and museum curator at the Athenaeum in the 1940s, who created the doll, Deborah, in her beloved children’s book, Deborah Remembers.


Westfield has also celebrated its sports heroes over the years, and both baseball and football players are represented in the mural, including William H. “Adonis” Terry, who was born in Westfield in 1864 and went on to play 14 seasons in the Major Leagues. Philip A. Payton, an African American boy whose father owned a barbershop in town, played football for Westfield High School (and baseball) and went on to gain a national reputation as a real estate developer in Harlem, is also in the mural.


The Story of Westfield Mural will be permanently displayed in the Reference and Information Services Room during all open hours of the Athenaeum. A brochure identifying each of the people, places and events depicted in the mural will be available at the Reference and Information Services Desk.




Wheelmen & Terry