hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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October 10, 2013

Soles of Haverhill at it again

Second shoe sculpture event coming -- with a twist

Get ready for another round of giant, fancifully decorated shoe-themed sculptures.

Team Haverhill, the organization that several years ago launched the successful Soles of Haverhill Shoe-la-Bration celebration, is at it again.

In a unique twist, this time the sculptures, again designed by local artists, will not only provide another permanent art installation in the city. They will also double as durable benches, each one bearing a plaque recognizing the business or individual sponsoring the sculpture.

The new Soles of Haverhill 2014 Fashion Forward initiative is being put into motion as Team Haverhill begins plans for a second installation of giant shoe sculptures next year.

Another twist is that the giant fiberglass sculptures will not be auctioned off to the highest bidders, as was done with the first set of sculptures. Instead, Team Haverhill wants the planned dozen or so sculptures to become permanent public art in the city by offering them through a sponsorship program.

When the original 14 high-top women’s shoe sculptures were auctioned off in 2009, several of them left the area — and some folks were not happy.

“Many people were sorry to see them leave the city after the auction,” said Eric Karlstad, who is co-chairing the event along with Team Haverhill member Leota Sarrette. “They were particularly unhappy about the Merry Mac sculpture, which was won by a family member of the local artist who created it, then moved it to the western part of the state.”

Like the last shoe sculpture event, all the sculptures must be on public display for a period of time before being moved to their sponsor sites in the city.

The large-scale community project called the Shoe-la-Bration was launched by the Soles of Haverhill, in partnership with Team Haverhill and the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce. The project raised money for future endeavors and also raised awareness of the city’s rich history in the fashion and shoe manufacturing worlds, its diverse and talented artists, and its community spirit.

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