Les Fossel sees Jon Luoma’s new watercolor aerial scene of Alna Meetinghouse as iconic to the town, just like the meetinghouse is, Fossel said. “So the people of Alna should be able to see it,” he told Wiscasset Newspaper April 24.
And so Fossel and wife Merry decided to buy the painting from Luoma, a professional artist, and offer it on permanent loan to the town. Fossel announced on his and Merry’s behalf, at selectmen’s April 20 meeting, they really love the painting and want to loan it “so long as they want to hang it on the wall, because it should be part of (the) permanent collection.”
“That’s fantastic,” First Selectman Ed Pentaleri responded. “Jon’s artwork is absolutely beautiful and it’ll be a great addition to this room. Thank you for the generosity, we really appreciate it,” he added.
In a phone interview April 23, Luoma said he is incredibly pleased. There could not be a better place for it, he said. “And I’m really grateful to Les for coming up with this arrangement. It was entirely his idea.”
Besides the yellow meetinghouse, the painting, about 20 inches by 15 inches, includes other familiar sights on Route 218, among them Alna Cemetery, Albee Farm and Alna Center School. Luoma did not go by a photo to create the painting, so he “invented” the sky, he said. Did the peeks of blue in the otherwise cloud-filled sky signify anything? “I didn’t want only a gray sky, so I put some blue in there. And it did occur to me that this could represent an augury of good weather ahead for the town of Alna.”
Townspeople have already seen an image of the painting: It is the wraparound cover of this year’s town report. Luoma did the painting for that possible use, building in plenty of sky to best serve the report’s title on the front and third grader Roy Journagan’s poem that appears on the back cover.
The positive feedback has been gratifying, Luoma said.
Pentaleri told Wiscasset Newspaper via email April 24, “From the time I moved to Alna, I’ve been constantly amazed to find so many creative, talented, and generous people in such a small community. While Jon and Les are providing a very visible example of this through this contribution, they are in the company of many, many others who contribute in important but less obvious ways every week. It’s one of the things that makes it truly gratifying to be part of this community.”
He acknowledged some during the April 20 meeting, including volunteers on the community garden, food pantry and the recreation committee; residents Ralph Hilton and Chris Cooper; and Alna Snowmobile Club, which on April 24 was going to round up and take to Wiscasset Transfer Station the bags of trash from residents’ second annual roadside cleanup effort.