SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Tuesday night, a mysterious box of art and supplies showed up on the road alongside the Moreau Community Center, and the teens and organizers there set off on a quest to find out who it belonged to. Two days later, the answer came calling.
On Thursday, local resident Linda Ward came to the community center to pick up the pizza box of artwork that had been found on Main Street by middle and high school students attending the center’s teen program. Ward is an art student at a Quaker church on nearby Saratoga Avenue. The likeness of Marilyn Monroe and other works inside the box hadn’t traveled far before being found on the pavement.
“It was raining, and (instructor Karen McGinn)’s husband helped me out as I was getting ready to leave,” Ward recalled. “I had two containers of paints, and then I realized I couldn’t find my paintings. I thought I must have left them in the church, and they were locked up and going home. Then that night, my granddaughter tells me ‘Nanny, I need to talk to you. It’s about Marilyn.'”
The pizza box of artwork that Ward had thought she had left inside the church had actually been left on top of her car, by McGinn’s well-meaning husband. Ward was too short to spot the box on top of her vehicle, and drove off with it still above her head, sliding off the top of the car as she drove by the community center. The rest, as they say, is painted history.
Ward has always wanted to paint, and chose retirement as her time to do it, starting about three years ago. The portrait of Marilyn Monroe was just one of the works inside the pizza box, alongside a painting of a butterfly and various reference photos. Ward’s only previous portrait was of Queen Elizabeth II. Although she’s modest about her limited experience, her teacher is proud that the lost work was so quickly recognized.
“I said that when you’re doing portraits, it helps to do them of someone you recognize,” said McGinn, who joined Ward at Moreau Community Center on Friday. “You guys recognized this as Marilyn. That means she’s doing something right.”
Ward found McGinn through the center, which connects community members young and old with classes and community connections both within and outside the center. McGinn runs her own studio, teaching a class of mostly seniors using acrylic and watercolor paints. McGinn has a storied 45-year career in artwork and painted most of the wall and table art at the Mikado restaurant in downtown Glens Falls.
Perhaps most miraculous about the returned artwork is the fact that nobody ran the pizza box over before the community center teens spotted it. McGinn’s class took to using pizza boxes to transport art due to their size and shape – wide and flat.
Ward’s portrait of Marilyn Monroe has been through a lot, but there’s more to do. The artist has details to add to the likeness’ face and makeup – and is ready to get back to it.
“Marilyn gets around,” she said with a laugh.
The box of art was found by South Glens Falls middle and high school students who visit the community center’s “Bulldog Zone.” Teens use the center as a social space, as well as a place to work on homework. Ward commended the youth there for doing the right thing.
“Really, I just can’t thank the Moreau Community Center and the children who found this enough. I think that’s so neat.”