Students worked with Persing and Haverhill High art teacher Ellen Mullane to create the mural, which is titled “Animals and Plants of the Merrimack River Corridor.’’ It covers the entire back wall of the hardware store, facing the river. Animals such as coyote, deer and otters were drawn onto the panels and then the students painted them.
Persing designed the mural and worked with students for six months to complete the panels showing animals and plants that would typically be seen along the river.
Susan Blim, an art teacher at Haverhill High School and a gifted artist, worked with a group of students to create three tree sculptures, which were added to the mural design to create a mixed-media piece.
At the dedication of the mural, a eulogy was read by Karen Ehresman in memory of Alvino.
“Laura was a loving wife, mother, loyal family member and friend, educator, organizational genius, and ardent fundraiser for cystic fibrosis,’’ Ehresman said. “Laura’s energy and enthusiasm for life was boundless. She loved the city of Haverhill and all that it offered to her and her family. She enjoyed the parks throughout the city and was a strong supporter of the rail trail mural project through her work with Access 21 and Discovery Club. She is forever in our hearts.”
Funding for the mural came from: Haverhill Cultural Council, Haverhill Foundation for Excellence in Education, Larry Olasky, Leota Sarrette, and the Friends of the Bradford Rail Trail. Access 21 and the Discovery Clubs are program of the Haverhill Public Schools funded by 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants from the state.
To build the rail trail, the city bought an abandoned stretch of train track and land and is preparing a walking, hiking and biking area along the river. Organizers said their goal is for the trail to become a tourist attraction.