Arts council solicits sculpture for rest area

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(Host) In the 1970s, sculptures by Vermont artists were installed at Vermont’s interstate rest areas as part of a sculpture-on-the-highways program. Many remain today.

Last year, when the state replaced an older rest area in Williston, the sculpture there was too fragile to move to the new welcome center. Now the Vermont Arts Council is soliciting designs for a new sculpture. Michelle Bailey of the arts council says the council is looking for a piece that will fit in with the design of the new rest area, which features a barn-like building and tables shaped like tractors.

(Bailey) “There’s a very specific look and theme to the rest area. As I said, it has an agricultural theme, so hopefully something would be able to blend in nicely with that.”

(Host) Bailey says the Vermont Arts Council hopes to install the sculpture this summer, after a legislative committee approves the final design.

Bailey says art installations in public places help reflect the character of a community. She acknowledges not everyone approves of every piece.

(Bailey) “When it first goes in, there is reaction, both positive and negative. But we find when there are public events like an opening or a dedication of some sort, where the artist gets to speak about their artwork, that often there is a greater level of understanding that happens with that connection with the artist. So it tends to have a more positive reaction once people get a chance to talk to the artist.”

(Host) The council is also soliciting ideas for a floor design in a renovated state office building in downtown Bennington. The deadline for submitting designs for the two projects is February 3. For more information, contact the Vermont Arts Council in Montpelier.

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