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Passenger bus promoting Concord, N.H., shows images from Europe

  • A Concord Coach Lines bus promotes the upcoming Capital Arts Fest as it passes through downtown Concord on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • A rendering of the bus.

  • A man paints on the street in Venice, Italy, in this photo taken by German photographer Eduardo Klaus. The photo was hosted on pexels.com as a free stock image. Eduardo Klaus / Pexels.com

  • Leah Kelley, a photographer from Ohio, took this photo while studying abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2014. She said it shows a hillside beer garden. Leah Kelley / pexels.com



Monitor staff
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A bus making trips from Concord to Boston has become a rolling billboard for the upcoming Capital Arts Fest.

It’s wrapped in an advertisement for the May 6 event and depicts two recognizable photos of Eagle Square and the Merrimack River in an effort to attract outsiders to the new-look downtown.

“The bus is on its way down to Boston right now, where people on the highway can see images of Concord,” said Jayme Simões, the president of Louis Karno & Company Communications, after the official unveiling Tuesday.

But the two other images featured along the sides of the Concord Coach bus depict scenes far from the capital city.

The millennials relaxing on a hillside? That’s Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.

“That’s not a photo of New England,” said the Ohio-based photographer Leah Kelley, who created the image while studying abroad in 2014. “It’s from a beer garden on a hill.”

And the painter on the street?

“That’s in Italy – Venice,” said Eduardo Klaus, a Nürnberg, Germany-based photographer. “It was basically a snapshot, super-quick. I get a lot of positive feedback for that, which is funny.”

Both images were hosted for free commercial use on the stock photo website pexels.com. Neither photographer knew their work was being featured on a New Hampshire bus when contacted Wednesday.

The first two photos were taken by Kate Putnam, a local photographer who regularly captures scenes of the downtown.

Designers didn’t want to feature just one craftsman when Concord has so many that are worthy of the publicity, Simões said.

“There are so many good people in Concord,” he said. “We chose a more symbolic image rather than singling out one person.”

He also noted that the volunteer artist who created the presentation, Michael Robinson of the Concord-based creative firm mega.haus, was pressed for time to get the design to the bus company.

Concord Coach, which donated the cost of the vinyl bus wrap, had it installed last Thursday by a team from Canada, said Ben Blunt, the company’s vice president. It’s the first time a Concord Coach bus has displayed an advertisement, he said.

The bus, which will travel from Boston to Concord and north to Berlin, took a celebratory lap through downtown Tuesday morning. It was featured in stories by the Boston Globe and the Associated Press.

Blunt said it didn’t bother him that the craftsman pictured on the bus is actually from Italy.

“There’s obviously an expense of getting professional photography done,” he said. “I think you can get your message across whether it’s an authentic image of a Concord craftsman or not. I think the image can carry weight regardless.”

The photos make up the background behind a banner that says, “Concord, N.H.: Connect. Create. Celebrate.”

It announces the Capital Arts Fest, which will take place May 6 with more than 20 events, including films, music and festivities, both inside and outdoors. It will be headlined by two free performances by the Pittsburgh-based Squonk Opera.

The idea for the event was hatched last year in anticipation of the newly designed Main Street, said Tim Sink, the president of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s really an effort to brand Concord as a cultural destination, and it is,” Sink said, noting that travelers from the Boston area pass by the city too often without knowing about the artistic events it hosts.

“A lot of those folks are zooming by Concord on their way to the White Mountains or the Lakes Region,” he said. “We want to make sure Concord becomes one of those stops.”

More information about the event can by found at capitalartsfest.com.

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, nreid@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at
@NickBReid.)