“Each is a recognizable `beacon,’ representing the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the history of Salisbury,” he said.
Salisbury Selectman and biking enthusiast Jerry Klima joined with Pearson, Assistant Town Planner Leah Hill and two members of the Newburyport Art Association to choose the winning proposals.
Pearson said children from the region will also be represented in the project through an “educational component.” Triton Regional Middle School students in art teacher Brooke Morse’s classes will be selected on a rotating basis to show their work on a movable art wall, she said.
When the seven chosen artists’ works are completed, their panels will be permanently affixed under the Gillis Bridge on the abutments, concrete structures that are about 80 feet long and 9 feet high. No artwork will be painted directly on the abutments.
Materials used must weather a relatively harsh environment, Pearson said, for they’ll stay up year-round. The committee has taken care to protect the murals against vandals, for “graffiti coatings” will be applied.
May 18 is the unofficial day for the unveiling of the murals on the Salisbury Art Walk as well as the opening of the Rail Trail Connector, which will allow bicyclists and pedestrians to travel between Newburyport’s Clipper City Trail and Salisbury’s Old Eastern Marsh Trail without having to cross one of the busiest portions of Route 1.
On opening day, local artists and craftspeople will be invited to set up their easels and display and sell their paintings, sculpture and other creatures along the Old Eastern Marsh Trail and the new trail connection, according to Klima.
The Rail Trail Connector is a million-dollar project and is possible thanks to federal funding, two generous local landowners who helped provide needed strips of land and the ingenuity of state transportation authorities.