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Historic Mural Inspires Local Artist

A Stoneham artist is helping to ensure the historic mural, “Stoneham Yesterday and Today” has a tomorrow.

The Stoneham Historical Society and Museum (SHSM) approached painter Sheila Foley in April to produce a rendering of what the mural will look like once it is displayed at the museum.

The mural, painted by Richard M. Gibney in 1968, depicts vignettes of Stoneham’s history, including a cordwainer in his “10-footer” shoe shop, the railroad station with a Civil War Union soldier and a bare-knuckle boxing match on Great Island in Spot Pond.

Foley’s 18×24-inch acrylic on canvas work envisions the mural in its new home, complete with spectators. In order to have the setting more closely resemble a working museum, Foley added a display case in the foreground.

Foley based her work on some of Gibney’s original sketches, since the mural was in storage.

Foley’s depiction will be on display at the museum and around Stoneham until the original mural is installed and unveiled in early 2024.