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Muralist Mary Lacy Takes Her Paints on Tour


Published August 31, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated December 10, 2019 at 5:14 p.m.

Mary Lacy painting silos at - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Mary Lacy painting silos at

Perched high in her bucket truck and spattered with paint, Mary Lacy has become a familiar figure in Burlington, one who has quite literally made a mark on the city. While her debut paintings of wildlife were sequestered inside the Moran Plant, other murals live boldly in public view: the hummingbird on a brick wall at College and St. Paul streets; the brilliantly colored abstractions on a pair of silos at Lacy has even emblazoned a recycling container with her signature fractalized style.

Now the Jericho native is taking her paints on the road. In a few weeks, Lacy will begin a 10-city mural tour with the help of a sponsorship from paint company Benjamin Moore. "I'm driving my bucket truck across the U.S.," she says. "It's always been my dream since I bought it."

Of course, she's not just driving in search of random blank walls. Lacy has done her homework, reaching out to arts organizations in those 10 cities. The tour begins in New York City, where she will contribute to a mural series about climate-threatened birds that's already in process through the National Audubon Society and Gitler&____ gallery in Harlem. Her target: a five-story brick building at 146th and Amsterdam.

"That will be the biggest one of the year for them," says Lacy, who will need to rent another bucket truck to reach the fifth story. The project has previously covered security grates — those steel doors that urban businesses roll down after closing time — with paintings of birds.

"They'll have a big existing audience," Lacy says of the murals. She notes that, on this paint job, former Burlington College professor and chair of art and design Dana Heffern — who is also a seasoned Broadway scenic artist — will lend a hand.

Lacy doesn't know exactly what she's going to paint in the "growing arts district" of Chester, Penn. But she's been in touch with an artrepreneur named Devon Walls, whose "homegrown arts movement" consists of buying abandoned buildings and giving them a makeover. Lacy's father, Chuck Lacy, is also involved in that project, she reveals. Her target building is one that already houses art studios and a performance space.

Next, the artist will head south, to projects in both Greenville and Greenwood, Miss., and in Savannah, Ga. "That's up to Thanksgiving," Lacy notes. "Then I'll come home for a month."

After the holidays, she'll depart for locations in New Orleans and New Iberia, La.; Austin, Texas; and Santa Monica, Calif. Finally, "I'm hoping to finish in San Francisco, because it's where I started painting," she says.

Lacy admits she's "in awe of the opportunity" to paint in locales across the country. "It makes me speechless sometimes," adds the 25-year-old. "I also think it's generous of the communities to welcome me — rather than [asking], what can I bring to them.

Lacy expects to continue focusing on animals and says she can localize the murals by depicting native creatures. "I'm really passionate about environmental messaging," she says. "I've worked really hard to develop [art about] the natural world."

Lacy leaves on September 16.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Burlington Muralist Takes Off on a 10-City Painting Tour"

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