Haverhill, MA

Contact Name
Eric Karlstad
Project Dates
Jan 2011-June 2012
Workshop Leader
Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) 2013
Event, Real Estate, Design
Create a 4 story mural that would serve as a grand visual narrative of Haverhill’s history; notable citizens of past, present, and future; inspire how we feel about our community and art; and allow people of all ages and abilities to have a hand in helping create the artwork. The mural enhances the walkability of this newly revitalized mixed use neighborhood by helping to create a safer atmosphere to increase pedestrian activity, generate interest, and encourage citizens and visitors to linger.
Project Goals
What were the project goals?
1. Turn a major eye-sore leading to one of the downtown gateways into a unique, world class work of art, contributing to greater civic pride.

2. Involve the community in the design, development, and the creation of the mural.

3. Long-term, use the mural as a “central spoke” to the promotion of historical/ cultural “Treasures” of the city, typically located in the out-skirts of the city.

4. Build upon the public art trail that is being created to help the economic development of downtown Haverhill.
5. Encourage dialogue and engagement between our community and arts and cultural groups.
Have they changed over time?
1. Following the installation of the mural, we discovered from visitors and residents that there is interest in an interpretive/educational element to the mural, addressing interests of high school students, seniors, and local art students.
2. This landmark mural requires tourism information and materials to be readily available. A Cell phone tour was then implemented.
Who are the project partners and stakeholders?
Implementation partners included:
Team Haverhill
Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce
City of Haverhill
Collaborative Property and Business Owners
MLS Studio

Financial partners/stakeholders included:

NMTW Credit Union
Haverhill Bank
Pentucket Bank
Verizon Foundation
Sherwin Williams
Covanta Energy
Shoe designer Stuart Weitzman
MA Cultural Council
Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce
Cordovan/ Beacon Properties
Hamel Mill Lofts/Forest City Properties
The Tap Restaurant
Keon’s Bistro 105 Restaurant
Project Specifics
How was the project implemented? What were the steps taken?
Steps taken:

• Researched, Identified and Secured vacant wall for mural
• Met with City for their support and involvement
• Identified potential community partners, stakeholders, sponsors and foundations
• Developed a theme for the artwork
• Created artistic criteria for project
• Researched, met and hired a reputable and experienced artists
• Developed a budget for costs and promotion
• Formulated plan for presentation to community
Have they been refined over time?
With each step of the project, as information was gathered, the steps were refined and adjusted.
What were your major obstacles?
1. Negotiating and Forming a mutual land use/lighting agreement with the neighboring landowner
2. Lighting: Need lighting specialist experienced with these types of projects
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
• Having a good track project track record for in the community
• Team Haverhill members and friends each brought their knowledge and strengths to the forefront when ever an obstacle arose.
• City was instrumental in helping to meet demands of neighboring landowner and display confidence in the project.
• Business community embraced the project and offered tcordheir establishments and business skills for fundraising .
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
1. Have a lawyer available to look over documents
2. Good doable planning and keep communication open with all City and stakeholders
3. Involve as many community members, neighboring property owners and businesses as possible in input sessions and fundraising activities.

Project Impact
How has this project contributed to creative community building?
•Leading to the creation of an action plan for more creative activities and artwork downtown.
*A Shoeworkers memorial and historical kiosk at a new parking garage,
*An 1 ½ mile Art Loop connecting rail trail and downtown with sculpture and art filled activities,
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
1. The mural was widely accepted with acclaim from all segments of the community as was featured on Channel 5, Chronicle.
2. Widespread segments of the community were involved in creating, implementing and financing the mural.
3. Discussions have been initiating a community-wide promotion of arts, history and culture.
Were there unexpected impacts?
1. That schools are interested in this artwork as an educational and learning tool for its historical nature, quality of the artwork, and the painting process
2. Renewed interest in Haverhill history. The mural has local people and students looking at their own family tree and history. Many people have come forward asking if there is a place in a future mural to include the story and contribution of their family member or friend.
3. Serious interest and planning for a downtown Arts District
4. The developers and residents tout of the view they have to their business associates, friends and family . They are our best advertisers!
5. Sponors, donors , local businesses ,schools, collaborative partners are seeking us out and asking “What are you doing next?” “How can we get involved?”
CCX Workshop Handout