Fitchburg artist donates painting to Johnny Appleseed Visitors Center

Visit North Central Massachusetts, the tourism and destination marketing arm of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, today announced the addition of new artwork painted by Fitchburg resident Ann Howe to its Johnny Appleseed Visitors Center.

Howe, 86, a longtime resident of Fitchburg and local artist, joined her family, Fitchburg Mayor Stephen DiNatale, Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella and members of the Visit North Central Massachusetts and Chamber staff on October 16, to donate the artwork.

“Through a connection with a member of Mrs. Howe’s family, we learned they were looking to find a home for the painting so the community could enjoy it,” said Roy M. Nascimento, president and CEO, Visit North Central Massachusetts. “We thought what better way to share the talent of one of our local artists with the more than 165,000 people who visit our Johnny Appleseed Visitors Center than to have the painting call our visitor center home.”

The painting, which is inspired by the characters of the movie, “Wizard of Oz,” was completed more than three decades ago in June 1992 as a fun, family photo opportunity for the Saint Anthony’s Church Annual Italian Festival. Since then, people of all ages have enjoyed the painting, including Howe’s seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

“When I heard, my painting was going to the Johnny Appleseed Visitors Center, I got so excited,” said Howe. “I just moved to the Highlands and this painting was something I wanted to make sure my community and the children could enjoy for many more years. I’m so glad we found such a wonderful home for it and thank you to Roy and my family for all their help to get my painting here.”

Following installation at the visitor’s center, the painting will be on display during regular business hours.