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Home » 50th Anniversary, Headline, Students & Alumni

NECC Unveils Mural in Honor of 50th

Submitted by on October 6, 2011 – 3:19 pm
Michaela and Lane Web

Michaela Dutra-Lowell and NECC President Lane Glenn

Artist Michaela Dutra-Lowell of Amesbury usually works on projects the size of a notebook and she claims she doesn’t much like to paint.  But this summer she broke out of her comfort zone, creating a 6×10-foot painted mural in honor of Northern Essex Community College’s 50th anniversary that will hang permanently in the Spurk Building Lobby on the college’s Haverhill Campus.

The mural was unveiled on Wednesday, October 5 by Dutra-Lowell and NECC President Lane Glenn, also of Amesbury, during a brief ceremony attended by over 100 cheering onlookers including college faculty, staff, and students.  Dutra-Lowell recently graduated from Northern Essex with a degree in illustration and is planning to continue her education at a four-year art school.

Dutra-Lowell was selected to create the mural by Rachel Hellmann, her art professor, who calls her “one of the most talented students I have ever taught.”  Once she decided to take on the job, she met with a committee to discuss what they were hoping to accomplish with the mural.  A companion mural was created in 1978 and the goal was to build on what had been started by creating a graphic representation of changes at the college over the past 30-plus years such as the development of the Lawrence campus, the building of the Hartleb Technology Center, the growth in student diversity, and the focus on community service.

Dutra-Lowell was tasked with meeting with a committee of faculty and administrators to develop a concept for the project and then to create the design.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to do this,” Dutra-Lowell told the crowd.  “I wanted to really put my feeling into this; I love the school, the campus, and the people.”

A longtime resident of Amesbury and one of nine siblings, Dutra-Lowell has “loved drawing and making things” for as long as she can remember.  She graduated from Northern Essex with her twin brother Michael and they took many courses together.  Dutra-Lowell plans to transfer to Mass College of Art or Montserrat and, while she will study art, she has not decided what specific area she will pursue.

Northern Essex is celebrating its 50th anniversary with events that will be held throughout the year.  For additional information, visit