NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

New shoe comes to Haverhill campus

Marc Mannheimer and two NECC art students stand behind a white paster shoe that they will paint and place on campus.Photo courtesy of the NECC Newsroom

Mannheimer, Dorgan, and Marr first met on July 17 to begin planning the shoe’s design

Over the summer, NECC Professor of Art and Design Marc Mannheimer led two students in designing and painting a bench for our campus.  This was no ordinary bench, though.  This bench is part of a huge fundraising project led by Team Haverhill, an independent volunteer action group dedicated to improving living and working conditions throughout the city.

Aptly named “Soles of Haverhill,” this project was launched in 2009 with the introduction of 14 huge fiberglass shoes.  According to the website, after being designed and painted by local artists, 

“The sculptures were sold at auction in Oct. 2009, raising more than $40,000 for local non-profits nominated by the shoe sculpture sponsors.”

The theme for this years shoes is “Fashion Forward.”  As part of the upcoming events throughout the city, Team Haverhill hopes to create a brochure map that would lead visitors on a “fashion trail” allowing them to enjoy many of the shoes and other related attractions.

The shoes are a celebration of Haverhill’s rich history as the worlds largest supplier of women’s shoes until the late 60s.  

This years sculpture design has been somewhat re-fashioned to include seating for two, allowing the community to truly interact with the artwork.  The original model was a low-heeled shoe which featured both a buckle and a bow.  It was entered for display at the Chicago World Fair in 1893 and now resides in the Buttonwoods Museum. 

Funding for the project was provided by the Office for Institutional Advancement and according to Mannheimer, the college being a non-profit organization, “got a good deal on it.”  

Once the decision was made in mid-June that a sculpture would be painted by NECC students and placed on campus, Mannheimer sent a school wide e-mail asking for volunteers.  Only six students responded to his e-mail and on July 17 only two students arrived at the Artspace in the Bentley Library to begin work.

One of those students was Jaclyn Marr from Salisbury.  She is an illustration major and said that she really enjoyed coming up with the concept.

 “We tried to base it on education but put our own twist so it isn’t just things you see here every day,” said Marr.  

The other was visual arts major Adam Dorgan from Peabody.

“We all threw in our ideas.  Some parts were a collaboration and some were based more on individual ideas,” said Dorgan.

Mannheimer eagerly accepted the challenge of leading students in creating a design appropriate for NECC campus. 

 “Everything is related to subjects that we study here at Northern Essex, but we took some creative license,” said Mannheimer.  

The shoe is scheduled to be picked up on August 14 by a company that will apply a protective coating, making it weather proof. 

 All of the shoes will then be presented to the public in late September in downtown Haverhill at the Essex County Trails and Sails Festival.  After the unveiling, each of the shoes will be distributed to its permanent home.  

The NECC shoe will eventually be placed under a shady tree outside the Hartleb Technology Center on the Haverhill campus, to the right of the bus kiosk.