Home Arts Clothespins, Student Paintings, and Community Mural Highlight Summer Art Projects

Clothespins, Student Paintings, and Community Mural Highlight Summer Art Projects

The Clothespin Sculpture, created by Flywheel Industrial Arts (Ben Cheney, Jesse Cooper, and Chris Eaton, created for 20/20 Hindsight Art at the Kent exhibition), will soon be installed at the site of the former Montpelier information booth between Christ Church and the Julio’s parking lot on State Street. Photo by Mary Admasian.
Installation of the Clothespin sculpture on State Street, ten new panels painted by high school students on Main Street, and a large community-painted mural at the Montpelier Transit Center on Taylor Street are among the art projects coming to downtown this summer.

Clothespin Sculpture

The three large wooden clothespins in this sculpture, which mark the city’s historic role in clothespin manufacturing, will be installed at the site of the old information booth on State Street, between the Julio’s parking lot and Christ Episcopal Church.

Created by artists Ben Cheney, Jesse Cooper, and Chris Eaton of Flywheel Industrial Arts, the sculpture used to be sited at the Kent Museum in Calais. Montpelier Alive raised $12,000 to cover purchasing, moving, and installing the work. Bob Hannum, a member of the Montpelier Public Arts Commission, said the sculpture is being refurbished and is expected to be installed later this month.

High School Panels

The 10 panels painted by Montpelier High School students and installed last year on Main Street in the open space beside the Drawing Board were damaged in the July 2023 flood. Later this month they will be replaced by 10 new, “colorful, abstract paintings” done by Colleen “Flan” Flanagan’s students. Even if the existing panels had not been damaged, they were considered a temporary installation.

“The idea was always to rotate the paintings in the space to keep it fresh and give the opportunity to the high school students to make public art,” said Public Arts Commissioner Rob Hitzig. “Once a year seems like a good period.”

Community Mural Project

During the week of June 24–28, young artists (ages 10 and up) in the Montpelier Mural Camp at the T.W. Wood Art Gallery will design a “site-specific mural for the Montpelier community” that will later be installed at the Montpelier Transit Center. 

Under the leadership of art instructors Sabrina Fadial and Mollie Hoerres, the artists will scale their design, transferring it to large panels that combined will be 24-feet wide and 10-feet high. During the city’s Independence Day festivities on July 3, community members will be invited to join in a ‘paint-by-numbers’ to complete the mural.

Fadial said the mural will draw inspiration from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects of the 1930s, when the federal government’s employment and infrastructure program put millions of Americans, including some artists, to work.

Public Art on Private Buildings

Last year, the commission began a program in which it will provide matching grants of up to $10,000 to building owners who “improve their property with public art.” Hannum said some building owners have expressed interest; however, the commission has not yet received any applications.

Gateway Park Murals

Hannum said the Public Arts Commission will soon announce the selection of artists to paint two or three more murals on the stanchions below Interstate 89 in Gateway Park. There are currently four murals there, with the long-term goal being to create murals on all 15 surfaces. The park is across from the Green Mount Cemetery on U.S. Route 2/State Street, heading towards Middlesex.