Metro, Arts, Newton

Doors Find New Homes Through Online Auction

Newton Community Pride (NCP) auctioned off the 21 doors that were displayed for its public art initiative Newton Out Doors. 

Twenty-five brightly painted doors were displayed throughout village centers during the summer months. The participating artists were selected through a competitive process by the Newton Out Doors Selection Committee. 

The artist selection process was competitive with 100 total applicants, Gloria Gavris, board chair of NCP, said. The proposal itself consisted of a draft drawing for the 30 by 80–inch doors. After selection, NCP paid the chosen artists for their work.

“We spread out all the artwork with three or four in each village center to create more pedestrian activity and add more color and creativity to our local centers,” Gavris said. “They stayed up from May to September and now we collected them all for the public art auction.”

NCP will use the money raised from this auction for a public art initiative in spring 2022, Gavris said. NCP plans to continue to expand its scope through more public art initiatives. 

NCP conducted three public viewings of the doors, allowing potential bidders to appreciate the doors in person. The final public viewing was on Thursday at 1294 Centre Street, Newton Center from 4 to 6 p.m. Photos and descriptions of the doors are also available online. Online bidding for the doors closed on Friday at 7 p.m.

“There are a lot of creative ways that they could be used now that they’re no longer out in the world,” Dinny Starr, vice chair of NCP, said. “They could go back outside in your garden or some people have talked about using them as a headboard or tabletop.”

Bids for the doors ranged from $100 to $525. “Inside and Outside of the Virus” by Sophy Tuttle received the highest offer of $525. All 21 doors sold during the auction. 

Twenty-five doors were donated for the project, 20 from a homeowner undergoing a house renovation and five from the Nathaniel Allen House which recently finished an eight-year-long restoration project by the Newton Cultural Alliance. 

Of the 25 original doors that were on display, four doors were not available through the auction. 

Amanda Beard Garcia’s door titled “Por Por” depicting her Asian grandmother was vandalized in July and then moved to the front of Newton City Hall. The piece will not be included in the auction due to the damages. The other three doors were too damaged and worn away from months of public display to be included in the auction. 

“Some of the artists that are represented here are accomplished professional muralists,” Starr said. “They knew what they were doing, putting the artwork up and making sure that it was weather safe.”

Starr specifically mentioned Tuttle, a renowned muralist in Massachusetts who recently completed the mural “Fear” in East Boston as part of the Sea Walls Boston mural festival. Tuttle’s door, “Inside and Outside of the Virus,” expressed an “inward” lifestyle with the inner door and nature, which was used as an escape throughout the pandemic, with the outer door, according to the auction website.

Along with Tuttle, the local artist couple Grey and Leslie Held painted the doors “Let Me In,” which features an original poem and the phrase “let me in” in several different languages. Shihui Angela Zou, a Newton North High School student, painted her doors as an appreciation for Chinese culture and history. The doors feature beautiful cherry blossoms and the string instrument, the erhu. 

“Let Me In” by Shihui Angela Zou on display at the auction. Image by Olivia Vukelic / Heights Staff

“One of the things that was really important to us about the project was to bring art where people were,” Gavris said. “After COVID, dreary winter and spring, I think more than ever the arts are important to bring to the community.”

Featured Image by Olivia Vukelic / Heights Staff

October 3, 2021