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Colorful umbrellas brighten up Capital Plaza ahead of arts festival

  • Irish Electric Corp employee Joe Mullahy opens a yellow umbrella after installing it above Capital Plaza in downtown Concord on Friday. Photos by ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Colorful umbrellas hang from wires above Capital Plaza in downtown Concord on Thursday, May 4, 2017. The display was installed for Saturday's Capital Arts Fest. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Irish Electric Corp employee Joe Mullahy opens a yellow umbrella after installing it above Capital Plaza in downtown Concord on Friday, May 5, 2017. The display celebrates Saturday's Capital Arts Fest. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Colorful umbrellas hang from wires above Capital Plaza in downtown Concord on Thursday, May 4, 2017. The display was installed for Saturday's Capital Arts Fest. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • A bicycle-themed sculpture is seen on Main Street in downtown Concord on Friday. About a dozen pieces were installed as part of the Big Bicycle Project.

  • Bicycle-themed sculptures are seen on Main Street in downtown Concord on Friday, May 5, 2017. About a dozen pieces were installed as part of the Big Bicycle Project. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Bicycle-themed sculptures are seen on Main Street in downtown Concord on Friday. About a dozen pieces were installed as part of the Big Bicycle Project. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Irish Electric Corp employee Juan Abud installs colorful umbrellas above Capital Plaza in downtown Concord on Friday, May 5, 2017. The display celebrates Saturday's Capital Arts Fest. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

Monitor staff
Published: 5/5/2017 11:31:08 PM

The owner of Concord’s Capital Plaza has suspended hundreds of colorful umbrellas overhead to brighten up the corridor for the Capital Arts Fest.

Owner Steve Duprey said he was inspired when he saw pictures of the original Umbrella Sky Project in Águeda, Portugal, and wondered how he could recreate it in Concord.

When Duprey bought the Capital Plaza properties along North Main Street last year, he had the spot.

“We’re starting the process of revitalizing and redoing the plaza in Capital Plaza to lighten that up and bring it up to date and make it more lively,” he said. “As a first step, we thought, ‘Why not do our version of the umbrellas?’ ”

He started with 100 umbrellas Thursday, and then ran out, deciding that he wanted to triple that number before Saturday. How does one attain 200 multicolored umbrellas overnight?

“It helps to have worked on a presidential campaign that was always a day late and a dollar short,” said Duprey, who is a Republican National Committeeman and campaign manager, adding, “Actually, I’ve worked on a bunch of those.”

(The additional umbrellas were shipped overnight “for a premium, of course” by a company in California that specializes in the lightweight sort of umbrellas needed for the display, Duprey said, noting that he learned from a similar display last year in Littleton.)

In the long run, Duprey said he’s planning to hire lighting designers to relight the plaza. He said he hopes to bring art installations and performance art, too. “We’ve got to bring some life to that moribund sort of corridor there,” he said.

The display for the Capital Arts Fest will be a temporary fix for that objective.

“The whole goal is to add some lights and colors, and I think we’re doing that in spades,” he said. “And umbrellas.”

Another art installation, the Big Bicycle Project, also appeared on Friday. About a dozen bicycle-themed sculptures were installed along Main Street, said Ryan Linehan of the organizing Kimball Jenkins School of Art.

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




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