Northshore Magazine

Northshore April 2020

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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Page 25 of 125

NORTHSHOREMAG.COM 24 APRIL 2020 FAC E S + P L AC E S are beautiful and inspiring," says Matthew Juros, principal owner of the Haverhill-based architecture firm Fishbrook Design Studio. And so many of Haverhill's big changes have been informed or influenced by art. "Haverhill is kind of, in this moment—people say this all the time, that it's kind of in a renaissance, but there are creative vibrations going through the city," says Erin Padilla, programs and operations director for the arts nonprofit Creative Haverhill. "We're all in this exciting moment of planning.… We're devel- oping so much about Haverhill, and what Haverhill will be, and the arts is a huge part of this conversation." In fact, wherever you look in the city, you'll find art. It pops up on the sidewalks in the form of oversized and vibrantly colored shoe sculptures that pay homage to its shoemak- ing past. It's reverberating through Haverhill City Hall, thanks to the Pentucket Players, a community theatre group that's been stag- ing incredible theatrical productions for 27 years, and which is adding new programs for school-age children focused on creative play, says executive artistic director John Buzzell. You'll see more artistic spirit along the Bradford Rail Trail, where pieces of public art "It's striking to me how vibrant the life is here," says Juros. "The street life I see on any given Tuesday afternoon is tremendous.… It's start- ing to fill up with kind of a vibrant street life that's only going to improve." In fact, two of Haverhill's newest projects are also among its most exciting. One is Cre- ative Haverhill's recent purchase and reno- vation of the once-vacant Cogswell School building. When it opens (hopefully by spring of 2021), the new Cogswell ArtSpace will be home to a three-story community art space for all ages, containing juried galleries, a com- munity gallery, arts classrooms for children and adults, affordable artist studios, multipur- pose rooms, space for after-school arts clubs and vacation camps, and a large working area in the basement with a ceramics lab, print- making equipment, and woodworking space. Another exciting project would transform Haverhill's downtown even more: the non- profit Weitzman Initiative for the Arts and Industry, named for famed shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, who learned shoemaking at Seymour Shoes, his father's Haverhill shoe fac- tory. The eight-story building would include a museum—featuring Weitzman's own historic shoe collection—as well as a theatre, an edu- cational institution, a public gathering space, eateries, and makerspaces. In its shoemaking heyday, Haverhill was a center for fashion and culture, and Ben Consoli, owner of Haverhill-based BC Media Productions and communications director for the Weitzman Initiative, believes it can be again. "At its core, the Weitzman Initiative is a group that is dedicated to the betterment of Haverhill and reclaiming Haverhill's position on the world stage." from artists like Susan Kneeland and Dale Rog- ers Jr. stand sentry over the riverside path. You'll hear it echoing across the Merrimack River from the live jazz nights every Sunday at The Tap Brewing Co., and see it splashed across the beautiful four-story Essex Street Gateway Mural, in which Haverhill luminar- ies are painted on the brick façades of one of those old factory buildings. "I'm in that mural, and so is my father," Dubus says. "It feels right that I'm somehow in that town. I left it, but it never left me." That spirit is also found in the many design- ers, chefs, artists, and other creatives who call downtown Haverhill home, even as the city continues to reimagine and build its future. PHOTOGRAPHS BY SCOTT MURRY Clockwise from left, Ann Jones is the president of the Greater Haverhill Art Association. Matthew Juros is the owner of the Haverhill-based architecture firm Fishbrook Design Studio. Downtown has a artistic buzz. The Tap Brewing Co.

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