Berthoff and Muyanja install the mural. Photos by Betsy Levinson

Concord artist completes mural on Thoreau Street 

By Betsy Levinson
December 1, 2023
Artist Fred Berthoff at home with his painting of the Concord Town House.

Fred Berthoff learned how to paint in prison, saying he “took tips from a couple of old-time Brooklyn wise guys” while incarcerated for 18 years on a drug conviction in 1994. 

But Berthoff’s life has been looking up ever since his release and trip back to Concord in 2011.  

He is a prolific painter now, displaying and selling paintings of sites around Concord. He’s painted the town houses in Concord and Ayer, Vanderhoof Hardware and a pizza shop in Bolton. He’s exhibited art at 51 Walden. 

But his latest work is probably his most visible. He was commissioned to paint and install a large, four-panel plywood mural of historic Concord on the side of Concord Provisions on Thoreau Street.  

“I told him to do it,” said shop owner Viren Patel. “I‘m happy with it.” He hired Berthoff about two months ago.  

Berthoff said he thought up images of the town and what it’s famous for, painting various scenes and figures along Main Street, White Pond, the Minute Man statue, the Town House, Punketasset and Walden Ponds, a State Police car driving along Route 2, and a VW “hippie” bus that he placed in Conantum, among dozens of colorful parts of the eye-catching mural. 

“I’m pretty excited about it,” Berthoff said as he drilled pieces of the plywood into wood blocks, working with his friend, Remy Muyanja. 

Berthoff and Muyanja install the mural.

“After all my travels, I am grateful to live here in Concord again,” he said. “Some of my old friends are still around. I value the community, and our history, with neighbors new and old.”  

In addition to painting, he plays his guitar on his porch these days. 

“With the passing traffic as my audience, I can practice the same song over and over and no one gets sick of it (though I have seen windows being rolled up).” 

The finished mural at Concord Provisions.