hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


May 30, 2013

From murals to sculptures, art helps fuel comeback of downtown

Merchants: Shopping, dining atmosphere improves with help of local artists

In his memoir “Townie’’ about growing up in Haverhill in the 1970s, best-selling author Andre Dubus III recalled shopping with his mother downtown for school clothes.

He described large department stores and Barrett’s men’s clothing store in particular, where it seemed every local man and boy went to buy his best clothes.

The once vibrant large retail downtown with successful shoe factories nearby eventually disappeared, replaced with smaller, specialized shops and offices.

“Haverhill has changed,” said Melinda Barrett, who runs Barrett’s Specialty Foods at 103 Merrimack St.

There, in the same building the elders of her family ran Barrett’s men’s clothing store, she operates a deli that supplies downtown shoppers and workers with fresh sandwiches and cold drinks.

What also helps make the downtown successful is the art work that adorns various spots in the city center, she said.

“The use of art to beautify and educate at the same time is wonderful,’’ Barrett said. “The shoes (large shoe sculptures reminiscent of Haverhill’s shoe-making past) around town was a team effort, which included artists, the chamber (of commerce), the Historical Society, as well as Team Haverhill. I am not sure that there is any way to correlate art and the bottom line, but its presence has to be seen as a positive.’’

Image sells, or at least that is how Haverhill businesses see it. Art contributes to the way a city presents itself and attracts visitors who want to spend money, merchants said.

They said art work plays an important role downtown, especially during this revitalization period. Art work displayed downtown such as murals painted by students, the sculpture of a sturgeon (a prehistoric fish that lives in the Merrimack River today) and the giant painted shoes around town improve the appearance of the community.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • 140808_HG_HAND_CUTTING

    Attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Marjorie Goudreault walkway are, from left, Elizabeth Delgado, special assistant to Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera; John Dimitry, former NECC president, and his wife, Audrey; Steven Buturlia of Pelham; Kelsy Buturlia of Pelham; Barbara Goudreault of Haverhill; Christopher Goudreault of Haverhill; Mary Goudreault of Tewksbury; Bill Moynihan of Haverhill, chair of NECC's Board of Trustees; Julie Reynolds of Middleton, N.H.; Patrick Goudreault of Haverhill; Matthew Goudreault of Haverhill; Lynn Morton of Tucson, AZ; Ann Corey of Atkinson; and NECC President Lane Glenn.

    'She was passionate about what she believed' Posted 6 days ago 2 Photos
  • The city wants you Posted 6 days ago

    Joseph Roach is the new CEO and President for Holy Family Hospital in Methuen and Holy Family Hospital at Merrimack Valley in Haverhill. He is standing in front of the hospital located in Haverhill. CARL RUSSO/Staff photo

    No, you're not in Methuen Posted 6 days ago 1 Photo
  • The Lamp Post Posted 6 days ago

    AMY SWEENEY/Staff photoRoyal Nails and Spa offers the best manicure, according to a vote by readers of the Gazette.

    More than just a mani-pedi Posted 6 days ago 2 Photos
  • 140717_HG_MSC_BURGER_3

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo The Lasting Room burger with hand-cut fries is a favorite of customers.

    Lasting Room burgers make for lasting impressions Posted 6 days ago 3 Photos
  • SCHOOL SUPPLIES3 [Duplicate]

    AP Photo/Yoobi Yoobi Pretzel Erasers make going back to school fun.

    Sharpening up for class Posted 6 days ago 8 Photos

    Staff file photo Buffalo boneless ribeye steak is offered at Haverhill Beef Company on Merrimack Street. Here, owner Peter Carbone holds a tray of freshly cut pieces.

    Get far more than beef at Haverhill Beef Posted 6 days ago 3 Photos

    PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photo Elaine Saragas serves coffee at Heav'nly Donuts.

    Best coffee brewing at Heav'nly Donuts Posted 6 days ago 1 Photo

    PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photo Pentucket Bank President Scott Cote, left, and financial adviser Kevin McKinnon talk in the main lobby of the bank's Merrimack Street branch.

    Pentucket Bank is tops Posted 6 days ago 1 Photo

Photos of the Week