hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

November 14, 2013

Auction's goal: Raise $25,000 for rail trail art

Upcoming event designed to add sculptures to river walkway

By Bruce Amaro
Correspondent

---- — It’s a $50,000 plan.

If it works, the Bradford Rail Trail will be decorated with sculptured art work, making it a tourist attraction.

So say organizers of the All Aboard Auction Gala, which is happening this weekend.

The event’s goal is to raise $25,000 for the sculptures. That would double the amount of money available for the project because the local Pentucket Bank has already donated $25,000.

The Team Haverhill civic group and the Friends of the Bradford Rail Trail conjured up the plan to place the sculptures on the trail in a project called the Art Walk.

The trail is along an old railroad bed on the Bradford side of the Merrimack River, across from downtown. It is being groomed to give people a place to stroll, run and bike along the river.

The auction gala will be Nov. 16 at the Haverhill Country Club, 58 Brickett Lane. Tickets are $50 per person, and will not be sold at the door.

Tickets must be purchased by sending a check to Team Haverhill at P.O. Box 5034, Haverhill, MA 01835 or at the Team Haverhill web site — www.teamhaverhill.org.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. and a buffet dinner begins at 7 p.m. The event will feature a live and silent action and live entertainment.

“We have a featured singer ... who is singing a couple of songs that fit in with the theme of the evening, transportation,” said Spotlight Players President Scott Helmers.

Sandra Huerta Vitti of the Spotlight Players will sing “Chattanooga Choo Choo’’ and “Sentimental Journey,’’ Helmers said.

With TV meteorologist Matt Noyes of Haverhill as the auctioneer, the event’s planners have some interesting items to put up for bid.

“We have one African safari photo trip worth about $6,000,” Team Haverhill member Timothy Jordan said about one of the auction items.

Called the Hakuna Matata, it features a six-day, six-night South African Photo Safari for two people, including full luxury accommodations, with three meals each day and cross-country trips in open Land Rover vehicles with experienced guides.

Team Haverhill has solicited artists nationwide to submit sculpture designs for the trail.

“We have already talked with Dale Rogers, our local sculptor,” Jordan said of the well-known Haverhill artist, whose metal sculptures have appeared in exhibits around the country.

Rogers is best known locally for his large dog sculpture, “The American Dog’’ — a 16-foot-tall work off Interstate 495 south at exit 48.

The plan is for the rail trail to display six sculptures — four permanent pieces and two temporary displays.

“We plan to introduce two new sculptures every one or two years at the temporary displays,” Jordan said.

Already the trail has a piece of art work created by local students — an 80-by-13-foot wildlife mural displayed on the back of Arthur Sharp’s Hardware store, which is next to the trail.

Pentucket Bank made the decision to sponsor the rail trail sculpture project earlier this year.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Team Haverhill on this unique initiative for the City of Haverhill,’’ said Scott Cote, president of Pentucket Bank. “I am looking forward to watching the transformation of the Bradford Rail Trail into a safe and interesting destination that residents and visitors to the city will enjoy.’’

IF YOU GO

What: All Aboard Auction Gala to raise $25,000 for sculptures along the Bradford Rail Trail

When: Nov. 16. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and a buffet dinner begins at 7 p.m.

Where: Haverhill Country Club, 58 Brickett Lane

Cost: Tickets are $50 per person, but not sold at the door. Tickets must be purchased by sending a check to Team Haverhill at P.O. Box 5034, Haverhill, MA 01835 or at the Team Haverhill web site — www.teamhaverhill.org.