Stack of crows lands on Salvation Army building in Greenfield

  • Colrain artist Whitney Robbins puts finishing touches on her “Crow Stack” on the exterior of the Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center at 56 Hope St. in Greenfield on Tuesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Colrain artist Whitney Robbins references her drawing of “Crow Stack,” which she painted on the exterior of the Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center at 56 Hope St. in Greenfield, around the corner from her original “Inquisitive Crow.” Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Mark Zaccheo and his son Gabe Zaccheo, 17, are spearheading The Hidden Canvas Mural Project for other buildings. Mark and Barbara Zaccheo’s 56 Hope St. building, pictured, served as the first site. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Colrain artist Whitney Robbins puts finishing touches on her “Crow Stack” on the exterior of the Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center at 56 Hope St. in Greenfield on Tuesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

For the Recorder
Published: 8/11/2021 4:34:47 PM

GREENFIELD — Four more crows have landed on the exterior of the Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center on Hope Street, joining the lone “Inquisitive Crow” that settled there nearly a year ago.

Colrain artist Whitney Robbins expanded her influence on the 56 Hope St. building with a new 19-foot-tall mural she calls “Crow Stack,” which she finished Tuesday. Like her original “Inquisitive Crow,” the new mural was inspired by small images she took of crows in Paris 2011.

“I like the configuration — they’re cheeky,” Robbins said, contrasting what she called the dark, symbolic representation crows commonly receive. “These are silly crows.”

The building, co-owned by Mark and Barbara Zaccheo of Olive Street Development LLC, is also serving as the first mural location for The Hidden Canvas Mural Project — a project Mark Zaccheo and his 17-year-old son, Gabe, created this summer with the hope of bringing more murals and wall art to Greenfield. Robbins’ pioneering mural was sponsored by and created in collaboration with the Zaccheos, who are excited to get this project up and running.

“The project is definitely gaining steam. We’ve got three other artists who are interested and working on murals,” Mark Zaccheo said.

He recalls talking to Robbins several years ago about getting her work up in the form of a mural. Both parties are glad to have been able to work together on the planning and ideas that went into creating both crow murals.

“I like how whimsical they are,” Zaccheo said. “I’ve always liked Whitney’s work.”

Robbins began painting the “Crow Stack” at around 11:30 a.m. on Monday morning and finished at around 2:30 p.m. that same afternoon. On Tuesday, she spent around an hour touching up her work.

While painting the stack involved Robbins learning how to use a self-propelled aerial work platform, she said the hardest work was actually done within her studio. She made sketch after sketch and pulled out her math skills to ultimately create the paper template needed to trace the final product onto the wall. That stencil-like process was needed, she said, to get the shapes correct and ensure the work translated to the space.

“For me, it’s an amazing artistic challenge,” Robbins said of being able to see something grow to such a large scale.

Critiquing her initial work before beginning touch-ups, Robbins mentioned she enjoys the contrast of the deep black against the present white of the wall. Robbins works with charcoal as well, and likes how the building provides a similar depth and contrast to the black paint of the crows.

“It has been a really easy and nice collaboration,” Robbins said of her continued work with the Zaccheo family. She said she’s thinking about adding something like a small, to-scale ellipsis of crows as a way to wrap up and connect her two crow murals on different sides of the building.

Robbins doesn’t have plans for more murals at the moment. Thanks to The Hidden Canvas Mural Project, however, Mark and Gabe Zaccheo do.

Gabe, a senior at Deerfield Academy, has been working full-time on the project all summer, making calls and mocking up images on buildings. He said part of their goal is to change how residents experience Greenfield. His commitment to this project stems not only from his interest in community development, but in improving and leaving a mark on Greenfield as someone who has grown up there.

“Traveling through different cities and internationally, we saw a ton of different murals and art projects and the benefits of them,” Gabe Zaccheo explained, naming community pride and connectivity as examples. “We wanted to bring that on a smaller scale to Greenfield.”

In the works, Gabe and Mark Zaccheo said, could be QR codes at the bottom of each mural, a large-scale interactive map and a potential grand opening walk-through to showcase the new art once more murals are completed.

Interested artists, business owners and volunteers are encouraged to email hiddencanvasproject@gmail.com or visit hiddencanvasmurals.com for more information. Through crowdfunding, the Zaccheos hope to raise money to further this project.

Learn more about Whitney at www.whitneyrobbins.com.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
 

 

Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy