hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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October 31, 2013

Mural along river brings color to river trail

Dedicated to memory of mom involved in project

If someone told you there are deer and foxes and other creatures in the woods along the Merrimack River, you probably wouldn’t be surprised.

But if the story was that a group teenagers brought the critters there, you might wonder how and why. Wouldn’t Mother Nature supply enough animals for those woodlands? Why would the teens have to get involved?

The answer is that the kids, a group of artists, “brought’’ the creatures to an area along the Bradford side of the river by using their paintbrushes.

And now their work is there for everyone to see.

The wildlife mural next to the Bradford Rail Trail is complete, and got its first public showing during a recent dedication.

The artwork, designed to show rail trail visitors the wildlife they might encounter along the trail, was dedicated to Laura Alvino, an 11-year member of the School Department’s Discovery Club, one of the organizations involved with the mural’s creation. She died early last spring, after a long battle with cystic fibrosis.

The mural hangs on the back wall of Arthur Sharp’s hardware store at 21 Middlesex St. Contractors assembled 12 four-by-eight-foot panels of the 80-foot-long mural created by the Access 21 after-school program at Haverhill High School.

“We thought it was a great idea and a good use of the space,” said hardwood store owner Patrick Lane. “The mural is part of a project that enhances Haverhill’s environmental efforts and the trail’s appearance.’’

The new mural is one of several pieces of art that will be placed along the trail, which will be part of a visitors’ loop along the river in Bradford and the downtown, between the Basiliere and Comeau bridges.

Public art in an urban setting attracts people, organizers said.

“They can use it as a landmark,” said Haverhill mural artist Liz Persing, who has worked with students in the Haverhill School system on a downtown mural project.

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