Art student Nahant a big hit with the local crowd

Lafayette College art student Maggie DiGrande is the youngest Nahant resident to attend the upcoming Open Studio craft fair on November 28. DiGrande’s paintings are popular with Nahant residents who find his depictions of iconic Nahant landmarks nostalgic. (Olivia Falcigno)

At just 21 years old, Maggie DiGrande will be the youngest artist to have her work exhibited at Nahant’s Open Studio craft fair on November 28.

An art major at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, DiGrande, who was studying abroad in Italy when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, said she began painting scenes from her hometown as she was stuck at her parents’ house in Nahant and finishing the rest of her classes remotely.

“I was so bored,” she said of the lockdown. “I was taking a painting class and I really enjoyed myself. I was just doing it in my basement, and I’m so glad I was in that class because it made me forget about everything. After (the course ended), I continued.

DiGrande’s oil paintings, which have become hugely popular with Nahant natives in recent months, are inspired by beloved Nahant landmarks and celebrate DiGrande’s small-town upbringing.

Mainly inspired by her frequent walks around the city, she said she started with what she called “the four iconic scenes of Nahant”: the Coast Guard Station, Bailey’s Hill, Nahant Wharf and the cemetery. of Greenlawn.

It wasn’t until her mother posted some of her work on Facebook that DiGrande’s paintings really started to take off.

“I was getting a lot of positive comments from people in town, and then my mom and I came up with the idea to print them on note cards,” she said.

After contacting a local print shop in Saugus, DiGrande initially started small, selling his note cards in packs of 16.

“It exploded,” she said. “Almost everyone in town has bought them. I was driving to deliver and ship them to people in North Carolina and California. It was crazy how many people wanted a keepsake because they moved out of town or wanted to send it to a relative who lived here. It was awesome.”

Ahead of this weekend’s upcoming craft fair – which now has nearly two dozen vendors – DiGrande has ordered prints of several more of her works and said she looks forward to the big day, which historically draws more than a hundred buyers looking for homemade gifts. for the holiday season.

“Right now I have six scenes of Nahant and one of Marblehead Lighthouse at sunset,” she said. “My favorite is probably the wharf. I can see it from my house and I grew up jumping off the dock so it’s a very special place for me.

DiGrande added that his love for his hometown is evident even among his friends and teachers at school.

“When I was talking to my art teacher in the studio, she was like, ‘wow, it sounds like you have a lot of love for your hometown,'” she said. “A lot of people in college are dying to get away from their hometown, but I always talk about it. It’s a very special place for me.

DiGrande’s work will be available for viewing at the Open Studio craft fair on November 28. More details are available on the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/events/town-of-nahant/nahant-open-studios-community-art-and-craft-sale.

Kayleen C. Rice