The Art Walk at the Bradford Rail Trail is an effort by Team Haverhill, in cooperation with the Friends of the Bradford Rail Trail and the City of Haverhill, that added five public art sculptures as an additional attraction to the area. Up to four new sculptures will be added in 2023 as part of the Bradford Rail Trail Extension project.
The Bradford Rail Trail is a half-mile path running along the Merrimack River between the Basiliere and the Comeau Bridges. In 2008, the City purchased the land compliments of a state grant and a donation from the Greater Haverhill Foundation. The City and the Friends of the Bradford Rail Trail, a volunteer group, created the path for pedestrians, cyclists, joggers and other non-motorized users.
The Trail includes a variety of features, including benches, historical and educational markers, and a beautiful mural called “Wildlife in the Merrimack River Watershed” installed on the Arthur Sharp Building. The official opening took place on June 24, 2017.
The Art Walk includes 5 sculptures along the trail for the public to enjoy.
City Song Susan Kneeland
Cyclist David Barrus
The Path to Progress Dale Rogers, Jr
Two Sisters II Jack Welch
Sculpture 3 Susan Blim
In 2019, the City received more than a million dollars in state funding for the Bradford Rail Trail Extension, which will run from the Route 125 overpass to the Crescent Yacht Club. At the 2021 Possible Dreams visioning event, Team Haverhill members proposed a project to add artwork to the new extension, which is currently under construction and expected to be completed by autumn 2022. In March 2022, Pentucket Bank agreed to sponsor the Bradford Rail Trail Extension Art Walk. The $30,000 donation will be used for the purchase and installation of up to four permanent sculptures along the soon to be completed Bradford Rail Trail Extension and includes an amount for maintenance and upkeep.
In addition to Team Haverhill, the project has partnered with Creative Haverhill, a nonprofit community arts organization, to assist with soliciting artwork from artists. The Haverhill Garden Club is partnering to assist with installation of an “Edible Avenue” garden of indigenous edible plants that will be installed along the trail.
Here’s a bit of background about the original project:
The call for artists to submit sculptures for consideration took place in February 2015. Fourteen talented and experienced artists submitted ideas – some with multiple submissions. The selected artists include People’s Choice winner David Borrus, selected by a public vote, as well as Susan Blim, Susan Kneeland, Dale Rogers, and Jack Welch, who were selected by the Art Walk committee.
As with many Team Haverhill projects, the funding for the Art Walk at the Bradford Rail Trail comes from both residents and businesses. On November 16, 2013, Team Haverhill hosted an Auction Gala in support of the Art Walk at the Bradford Rail Trail at the Haverhill Country Club. Haverhill’s own Matt Noyes from NECN served as the MC and Auctioneer and the entertainment was provided by the Spotlight Playhouse. It was a fun and successful evening for all who were able to attend! From our business community, Pentucket Bank has generously stepped forward as the Corporate Sponsor of the Art Walk itself. They are have long been a supporter of Team Haverhill’s work and are excited about this most recent endeavor.