Ultimately, the proceeds from the first event benefited local charities and future art endeavors, and the shoe sculptures located throughout the city visually transformed the area while showcasing local artists and providing recognition to the sponsoring businesses.
So after such a successful event, what do you do for an encore?
Team Haverhill, an all-volunteer group with a proven track record of bringing positive attention to the city, has a simple answer: This time, turn the shoes into benches.
Karlstad said the idea of incorporating a bench into the shoe sculpture was done to encourage people to sit down and interact. It also solved a design problem that would have resulted in a big hole in the sculpture. The new design is based on an ankle-height vintage woman’s shoe inspired by a shoe on display at the Buttonwoods Museum. An image of the shoe is also on the Essex Street Gateway Mural, which was painted on the side of a four-story downtown building and sponsored by Team Haverhill.
Karlstad said the Soles of Haverhill 2014 Fashion Forward project will have a theme of bringing the community together for a good cause.
Travel around the inner city and you’re bound to come across some of those giant Shoe-la-Bration shoes in various high-visibility locations, including in front of City Hall, in front of Trinity Church on White Street and the Firefighting Museum on Kenoza Avenue, in Washington Square and Columbus Park, next to Pentucket Bank and in front of the Buttonwoods Museum.
As prominent businesses vied for ownership of the shoe sculptures in 2009 through sponsorships and auctions, the event captured the attention of thousands of locals and tourists who wandered through the city to see the whimsical sculptures. Shoe-designer-to-the-stars Stuart Weitzman, son of a Haverhill shoe factory owner, signed on as a sponsor and flew in from New York City to autograph a Swarovski crystal-studded sculpture that he designed and is on display downtown at the Hamel Mill Lofts apartment complex.