Plymouth celebrates mural project along Town Brook

November 19, 2018 : Wicked Local, by Rich Harbert

Town officials joined student artists Wednesday in celebrating the completion of a mural beneath the Market Street bridge over Town Brook.

PLYMOUTH – There wasn’t a lot of room to stand back and check on progress, but art students at Plymouth North High School had a plan.

Working within a two-day window, the 14 students in Lauren Jezierski’s Art and the Community class sketched out a design they had perfected in the classroom and went to work with their brushes, transforming a drab concrete passageway under Market Street bridge into a joyous and delightful work of art.

The colorful mural, part of an ongoing campaign to beautify downtown in time for the town’s 2020 anniversary, celebrates the brook the bridge crosses. Pilgrims settled in Plymouth because of the ready water supply they found in Town Brook. Native Americans settled their village of Patuxet here long before for the same reason.

“It’s pretty easy to see, but the river is the main point of this,” Mike Caple, visual and performing arts coordinator for local schools, said Wednesday. “The reason certainly the Pilgrims and the first nations and the Wampanoags settled here was for this river. This water runs deep, literally, and is why civilizations have been here.”

“Isn’t it amazing to see, compared to what it was before?” Town Planner Robin Carver said.

Caple and Carver joined art students and town officials in celebrating the mural’s completion Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony beneath the bridge.

The mural is the second one completed downtown by students in Jezierski’s classes. Another colorful creation decorates the skate park at Holmes Playground at Summer and Newfield streets. Students will paint a third mural beneath the bridge over Main Street Extension next year.

It’s all part of a broader beautification plan that has also seen the placement of decorative furniture in public spaces throughout the downtown area and the covering of stark utility boxes with art depicting the history of different places in town.

Jezierski said her students started designing the mural at the beginning of the year by digging into the history of Town Brook.

They learned of its importance to Native Americans who settled here before the Pilgrims as well as its significance to the English settlers and their descendants. Natural wildlife flows through the mural along with depictions of the industrial uses of the brook.

Once they had a design, the students needed approval. They took the concept to selectmen, who signed off before painting could start in October.

Jezierski said the narrow confines of the work space did not seem to bother the students. They split into teams after assembling on the pathway beneath the bridge last month and sketched out the overall design. They then formed their own teams to focus on different design elements in the mural.

The project was finished in two days of site work. Work on the design for the Main Street Extension bridge will begin in the spring. That mural will be painted by a new class next fall. Jezierski said the delay is necessary because the bridge is technically part of a state highway and needs state as well as local design approval.

The state helped pay for the art projects through a matching grant program. MassDevelopment awarded $13,000 for the projects. The town along with the Plymouth Bay Cultural District and the Chamber of Commerce raised a matching share through a crowd-funding initiative.

Carver said the projects would not have been possible without its many corporate and individual sponsors. The Visitors Service Board, Cape Auto, Tech-Etch, Beals & Thomas, Plymouth 400 and VHB were the leading sponsors.

Carver presented certificates of appreciation to the 14 students who worked on the mural. They are Mya Iacobucci, Nataliia Makar, Genesis Moran, Alyssa St Croix, Aubree Fanning, Alexis Herbert, Erin Olding, Asher Stein, Ashley Martel, Kate White, Jack Colbert, Mike Cohen, Alexis Marinos and Taysia Hatch.