History Through Art

History Through Art (“HTA”) is a Portsmouth, NH-based artistic mural project that aims to bring awareness, inclusion, and the celebration of marginalized persons in Portsmouth's history. The HTA project will use various public and private spaces to bring these oft-forgotten stories to life, with different regionally-based artists at the helm of each mural. Artists will collaborate with a local historian, seamlessly melding fact with artistic rendering. HTA is spearheaded by Friends of Ruth Blay, Inc., a non-profit focused on honoring the last woman hanged in New Hampshire and furthering the justice movement for women and marginalized persons of Portsmouth’s history.

Why kick off “History Through Art” with the last woman hanged in New Hampshire? When we face the darker parts of our past, we meet our obligation to shape a more honest history and we strengthen our commitment to learn from it. The questions this mural will ultimately inspire - what people did, why they did it, why some failed to act, or why some, especially Blay (Read about her here), stood up in extraordinary ways, and what that means - are vital. They show the marriage of head and heart that is history. Ultimately, the answers we come up with will help us define who we are as a community today and what our values are.

Ruth Blay Mural

The first mural in the History Through Art Initiative features Ruth Blay, the last woman hanged in NH. Viewable on Court Street, in Portsmouth, NH. (Photo by Nancy Pearson)