The Liberty Building’s got a little more color these days thanks to little cooperation between building owner Tom Sprague and the newly minted Arts Guild of Woonsocket.
Three ladies from the guild, Mary Concannon, Connie Anderson and Claire Achilles were hanging paintings in the front window of the building facing Woonsocket City Hall Thursday afternoon.
“Tom Sprague has graciously donated the building to let us display our work,” said Anderson. A few moments later, Sprague himself showed up to offer some advice on how best to hang the paintings.
The paintings will only be visible from the outside, Anderson said – the exhibit won’t be staffed. Sprague said the paintings will still give passers-by something new and interesting to see while he continues the search for a permanent tenant.
The last tenant was Richard Gere, who rented the spot as a base of operations during the filming of his movie, “Hachi” about real-life college professor's bond with a stray dog he takes into his home, according to IMDB.com.
The dog is memorialized in a statue in front of the train depot down the road, Sprague said.
The movie was filmed four years ago. “Unfortunately that was the last real use of the building,” Sprague said.
In the more distant past, the spot was part of the Woonsocket Institute for Savings in the 1980s . From 1900 until the 1960s, Sprague said, it was home to FW Woolworth’s.
Sprague said there are a few bites on the property already thanks to the efforts of Economic Development Director Matt Wojcik. If those inquiries don’t work out, he said, having the artwork in the space will help draw in new interest.
Anybody interested in joining up with the Arts Guild of Woonsocket can call Anderson at Stage Right Studios, 401-356-0255.