Local artist brightens up the neighborhood

Colorful and decidedly patriotic scenes are taking shape outside the house on 55 Toas St.

White-capped mountains, vibrant swirls and the stars and stripes adorn panels of fence around the home of photographer and artist Jessica Smalley.

It’s been a labor of love for Smalley, 26. She started painting about a month and a half ago — each section of what was once a “plain and boring” fence featuring a different design.

One of the largest sections is decorated in red, white and blue and includes the Woody Guthrie lyric “This land was made for you and me.”

Smalley said the lyric is meant as a statement about appreciating what we have and working together to care for it.

“I wanted to create a patriotic message everyone could get behind,” she said.

When Smalley spoke to The Herald recently she donned a Lady Liberty costume — her camera standing in for the torch. The costume was a hit at the downtown fireworks July 3. She said many asked her to stop for photos.

Smalley enjoys bringing some color to her hometown.

“There’s just too much grey in the physical world,” she said.

Positive feedback on her work from neighbors and passers-by, is inspiring her to keep going. She expects to have her fence designs complete in September.

“We all act like we’re in our own separate worlds,” she said. “Even if you say ‘hello’ to someone on the street they think there’s something wrong with you.This is just a message that we’re all here together.”