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Cullen Wins First Inaugural Positive Street Art 5k in Nashua
Author News Admin
April 4th, 2016
Cullen Wins First Inaugural Positive Street Art 5k in Nashua
Reposted from:  http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/1079060-469/5k-and-singles-auction-aid-art-veterans.html

Monday, April 4, 2016

5K and singles auction aid art, veterans charity
By DEAN SHALHOUP Staff Writer NASHUA -

Brian Cullen, a Nashua attorney whose office is in the city's downtown, was the first runner across the finish line at Sunday's inaugural 5K run/walk hosted by Positive Street Art to benefit Nashua's military veterans.

But as he milled around catching his breath, Cullen didn't care so much what his winning time was as he did about the reason he entered in the first place.

"We really like what PSA is doing," he said about the Nashua-based nonprofit formed several years ago to promote urban art and creative community-building events while helping erase the negative connotations of vandalism-inspired graffiti.

His winning time? "I'm not really sure," Cullen said. "I'll find out later."

Upwards of 70 runners and walkers braved unseasonably nippy wind gusts and a crust of overnight snowfall to take part in the run/walk, which started and finished at an eastern entrance to Mine Falls Park at the end of Spine Road. It was the first part of a morning-afternoon doubleheader fundraiser to kick off Positive Street Art's upcoming "HeARTS and Minds" mural project dedicated to local veterans.

Part II, thankfully for participants, was held indoors at Peddler's Daughter on Main Street, where a cleverly conceived "singles auction" took place, also to benefit the mural project.

There, some of Nashua's "most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes" agreed to put themselves up for bid, said Alyssa O'Mara, a key organizer of the day's events. The top bidder on each bachelor or bachelorette won a date with that individual, and received a gift card for "a fabulous venue," O'Mara said, adding that all proceeds from the bidding will go to the mural project.

The idea for the project came about as a way of turning a negative into a positive, Positive Street Arts acting director Tom Lopez said Sunday as runners and walkers retrieved their bibs and jogged in place to ward of the morning chill.

After vandals sprayed graffiti onto walls plainly visible to veterans living at the Dalianis House, a Harbor Homes Veterans FIRST residence on Factory Street, PSA volunteers covered it up with a large American flag - a far more pleasant sight for veterans to see when they look out their windows - Lopez said.

"Public support for veterans can fade" over time, he said. "But this is when we should be thanking them."

Organizers hope Sunday's events give a significant boost to the upcoming mural project, the first installment of which is scheduled to be ready for Memorial Day.

Next, Lopez said, will be a Fourth of July mural, which is planned for Sy Mahfuz's downtown business PRG, formerly known as Persian Rug Gallery.

Another in the works will be timed to coincide with Veterans Day, Lopez said.

For more information on the mural project, including artist participation and donor opportunities, go to www.positivestreetart.org. Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.