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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The John Bellairs Mural

John Bellairs mural
Team Haverhill, an independent citizen action group dedicated to bettering Haverhill, Massachusetts, began a Mural Project in 2007 consisting of outdoor murals of famous people from the city's past. A new series of murals are planned for 2008, bringing the total to 18, and among those will be one honoring author and former Haverhill resident John Bellairs.

Massachusetts artist Sheila Foley will unveil her mural of Bellairs during Haverhill Artfest weekend, September 27 and 28, 2008. The mural (7x3 feet vertical) will be painted in acrylic on to one of the old brick factory buildings and made to look like a stained-glass window, inspired by the stained-glass windows of Canterbury Cathedral.

Foley says she chose John as her subject because of his writing for young adults. "I am also an author/illustrator and, like John, taught at a Catholic School. The more I read of John's work, the more I come to know him through his words, [and] the more I wish I'd known him. His intelligence and wit are legendary. I laughed out loud at St. Fidgeta - it is so ridiculously true."

Haverhill is striving to revitalize their downtown area, Foley says, and the mural project is one way to improve the appearance of the city's old factories (some similar to what Johnny Dixon wandered around in The Curse of the Blue Figurine).

Team Haverhill's goal is to make their city a destination unto itself, rather than a route you pass through on your way someplace else. "Spreading some cool artwork down the alleys and by the riverside will...encourage people to stay in town to shop, eat, the linger," says Foley.

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