GROTON — What was once an eyesore on the rail trail in Groton is now a colorful work of art.
The eye-catching mural on one wall on the Peabody Road underpass results from the efforts of many.
“These are perfect blank canvases,” Joni Parker-Roach owner of the NOA Gallery in Groton said. The wall, once the target of graffiti attacks, now portrays the finest points of the rail trail and Groton.
People are skiing, riding horses, biking and strolling through the four seasons portrayed in the design. Flora and fauna show the seasons’ progressions. Local buildings and natural features like the river and Gibbet Hill connect everything together.
The artwork was coated with special anti-graffiti paint to make it easier to keep the artwork pristine, Duane Cromwell said.
As the chairman of the Friends of the Nashua River Rail Trail, he spoke at the unveiling ceremony on a lovely spring day last week.
He said the nontoxic coating is expensive but works well. He sprayed solvent on words written on the opposite wall and easily wiped the unwanted paint away.
Planning, funding and executing the project took the efforts of many from across the community. “It’s really about collaboration,” Parker-Roach said.
She approached several schools in the area. Groton School students were interested and designed the mural. They painted it with the help of younger students from the NOA Gallery.
Sarah Webb, community service coordinator at Groton School, worked with the students and found a mural artist to lead the project. Students saw David Fichter’s work in Cambridge and thought his style was a good fit.
He coached the students through the entire mural-creating process.
Organizers hope to place other murals along the trail in Groton. “Ideally, it’s going to be really cool if we have students from all the schools,” Parker-Roach said. There are three other walls along the trail in Groton where murals could go.
It is her hope students from Lawrence Academy, Groton-Dunstable, Parker Charter and Nashoba Tech in addition to Groton School students will take part in future projects. She said she would like to get graffiti artists involved in future projects.
Many people use the trail and will see the murals. Rollerbladers, walkers, runners, cyclists and a horseback rider passed by during the afternoon of the unveiling.
Other people were fishing in a pond nearby. Dogs were on leash, wildflowers were blooming, dragonflies were hovering, birds were singing.
State Rep. Bob Hargraves attended the gathering. His home on the well-used trail is connected to it by a path. He said he has “absolutely no problems” with the users of the trail near his property.
Donations of time, energy and money came from many sources: Groton School Art Club and Community Service Board, NOA Gallery, Friends of the Nashua River Rail Trail — a branch of the Friends of Willard Brook — the Groton Cultural Council, Moison’s Ace Hardware, and the Parents Independent School Network.
Students from the Groton School included Jane Bang, Julia Nestler, Becky Kang, Sidney Wood, Cynthia Liu, Emily Villa, Sommer Carroll, Dardan Callaway, Julia Dwyer, Harling Ross, Annie Bergen and Bronwen Carter.
NOA Gallery students who helped with the painting include Trevor Schrady, Justine and Abbey Morelli, Jackie Sernak, Martha and Cary Pergory, Katherine Wheeler, Paige Bailey, Phoebe Fry and Alexa Stathis.