The idea of making the connector an art gallery came through discussions with members of the Newburyport Art Association, Klima said.
“We thought about adding one mural,” Klima said. “But it was Elena Bachrack and Bonita Leflore, of the Newburyport Art Association, who suggested making it a gallery of murals. The murals really are wonderful. If you had the room, you’d be happy to have any one of them in your home.”
Sponsoring a mural contest with the help of NAA, the sketches of seven artists were chosen from the 11 who applied. And even that was a collaborative effort of financial support from the Cultural Councils of Salisbury, Newburyport, Amesbury and West Newbury, along with the Institution for Savings, the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank and the Coastal Trails Coalition.
Working out how to hang the murals also took the ingenuity of Don Wilson, of Wilson Welders, who donated his time, talents and materials to make all hardware that holds the murals onto the concrete abutments.
“It’s been an amazing project, really, with so many contributors,” said Klima. “It started off that we just wanted to make it safer for people to cross the road. Now, it’s not only safer, it’s really beautiful. It’s a garden spot in Salisbury along the Merrimack River, with a panoramic view of Newburyport.”