Tina Fuller, director of the city’s Access 21 program, said the project combines community service, art, and biology and the students who are participating are in an after-school Access 21 program at Haverhill High.
Working on 12 4-by-8-foot panels, the students have been painting images of native plants such as sumac trees, and cattails as well as animals such as deer, foxes, coyotes, great blue herons, eagles, seagulls, geese, beavers, turtles and turkey vultures. The panels will be mounted on the back wall of the Arthur Sharp True Value Hardware on Middlesex Street, which abuts the rail trail, creating an 80-foot-long by 20-foot-high mural for all to see.
Senior Carlos Velazquez volunteered to help paint one panel to get some experience and improve his artistic skills.
”A lot of people are going to see what we’ve done,” he said, noting that his contribution is a wildlife scene featuring a male deer looking at the viewer. “The challenges was trying not to focus on any one detail, but to focus on the bigger picture.’’
Freshman McKenna Judge stood in front of her panel and studied the face of a fox she had painted.
”Getting the facial structure right was not easy,” she said. “I had to keep referring to a photograph of a fox to get it right.”
She said she learned a lot by working on this group project, including how to take criticism knowing it would only help make what she painted better.
”All of the input I received improved by work,” she said.
”What’s cool about this project is that each student is painting his or her own panel,” Persing said of the young artists she has been doing the project with. “I think it makes them feel that it’s theirs and that they’ve taken ownership.”