EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 2, 2014

Fins and fashion

Discovery Club students get to the sole of the matter

By Mike LaBella

---- — HAVERHILL — The first shoe being decorated as part of Team Haverhill’s much anticipated Soles of Haverhill 2014 – Fashion Forward project was recently painted by students in the Discovery Club at Consentino School.

The young artists were guided by local muralist Elizabeth Persing, who is serving as the project’s Artist in Residence.

The whimsical design students created complements the recently completed mural on the Bradford Rail Trail on the back of Arthur Sharp’s Hardware, which features animals and plants of the Merrimack River corridor.

In keeping with the project’s Fashion Forward theme, students painted inhabitants of the river, including fish, eels and a seal, and depicted them in a variety of fashion fabric designs such as stripes and polka dots. One image, of a snapping turtle, was created in the design of argyle, a pattern of diamonds, while an eel was represented in a paisley print design.

Seventh-grader Selena Fuller, a member of the Discovery Club program, spent hours working with Persing on the shoe, which has not received an official name yet. The shoe is expected to be placed on the Bradford Rail Trail in July.

“We got to pick what project we wanted to work on,” said Selena, who loves to draw as well as paint. “Liz asked us what fishes we wanted to paint.”

Selena got to paint a fish with a striped design, as well as some bubbles along with some seaweed and sections of the shoe’s blue background.

“It came out pretty cool,” Selena said.

Eighth-grader Payton Collins said he thought it would be a good opportunity to take part in a relaxing and creative project.

“I love it,” Payton said. “Everyone got to pick their own design and be creative with their fish. It was pretty interesting.”

Eric Karlstad, president of Team Haverhill, said the project brings excitement, more activities, and even greater attention to Haverhill’s continuing renaissance.

“We had a phenomenal response to the 2009 Soles of Haverhill Shoe-la-bration and we are looking to make Soles of Haverhill 2014 – Fashion Forward even bigger and better,” he said.

Karlstad said the highlight of the Soles of Haverhill 2014 celebration will be a high-profile art display of artistically designed imagery on shoe sculptures throughout downtown.

“This year’s bench design will allow for greater community interaction with the artwork, and provide a practical solution to those wanting to rest and take in the downtown sites,” he said.

Soles of Haverhill 2014 – Fashion Forward is seeking businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor additional shoes. Find out more about the sponsorship opportunities by contacting organizers at soles@teamhaverhill.org.

Tina Fuller, who leads the Discovery Club, said the newest shoe is the 14th public art project to be done by Discovery Club students. Other works have included six small murals in downtown alleyways, large murals at several schools, and one of the original shoes, Merry Mac the Rollicking River Monster, painted by fifth-graders at Silver Hill. The Artist in Residence for the latest shoe project is funded by a STARS grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and a grant from the Haverhill Cultural Council.

For more information, contact Eric Karlstad at 978-994-9508 or ewkarlstad@yahoo.com. You can also visit Team Haverhill online at www.teamhaverhill.org.