State applauds Linear Park mural

State officials on Tuesday recognized Watertown High School students and local volunteers who coordinated the painting of a 230-foot-long mural along the Linear Park bike path that depicts local landmarks. The project, titled “A Bicycle Ride Through Watertown,” was one of four across the state selected this year by the Massachusetts Cultural Council to receive a Gold Star Award as an “exemplary” local program, officials said. The participants were honored at the State House and received a certificate for their accomplishment, according to an agency spokesman. The Watertown mural, which aims to capture the essence of the community, was created by local students who devoted weekdays last summer to the project under the guidance of artist Gregg Bernstein. They hope the mural will discourage graffiti on the cement wall that snakes along the bike path, and encourage public art in the community. The mural took shape after three years of planning and fund-raising by the town’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee. Various town departments and local businesses also donated time, money, and resources to the project, coordinators said.