Back in my elementary school days, music and art were considered the fun part of the school week. The music teacher would drop by with a cardboard box full of instruments, and as students we would rush to claim our favorites. Of course, the triangle was mine. If I couldn’t grab it fast enough, I would settle for a pair of maracas — or even just one.

Then there was art class, the icing on the cake for me. During holidays like Halloween, downtown merchants would encourage junior high kids to dress up their storefront windows with murals. My classmates and I would use poster paints to create colorful images of pumpkins, goblins, ghosts and witches, It was a blast to see your work on view in the bustling downtown and, hopefully, win first place.

I also pursued outside workshops at the former Nashua Arts and Science Center at 14 Court St. in the 1970s. I took pottery lessons, a landscaping class and a portraiture class and probably others in that old, cool building that I can’t now recall.

The center was a hip place with a lot going on, and even as a youngster I knew the names of some of the prominent local artists, like Calvin J. Libby. I would see his artwork hanging all around the Gate City, especially his beautiful silkscreen pieces. Some of my favorites were his paintings of flowers.

I learned that the late Mr. Libby was so talented that at one point his work was displayed in more than 40 art galleries across the United States.

Some might pooh-pooh these pursuits as minor and unnecessary, but I like to believe — as many of you — that every town or city is stronger and more appealing when an energetic arts scene is alive and well and a performing arts center is available to a community

That is why it warms my heart to see our city including children and teens in Rotary Common Park’s The Gallery At The Wall project. From now until Feb. 1, students across the Nashua School District and the Adult Learning Center will be submitting artwork to the theme of “Together We Rise.”

It’s a beautiful concept for defining diversity and inclusion in an artistic way. The contest will add another wonderful visual interest to the park and labyrinth located at 315 Main St. just south of Lake Street.

The paintings chosen will grace the long outdoor wall on photographed panels in acrylic form starting in May 2019.

This is an exciting venture for both students and teachers in the Nashua public school system and a terrific way to show residents and visitors the talent we have in the Gate City and the welcoming inclusive nature of our community.

There is a GoFundMe page set up to help raise $4,500 for the art project. To learn more,go to


Ms. Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column is published weekly. She can be reached at