Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Rutland Cityscape Finds Permanent Home

photo provided
Bill Ramage's detailed drawing of downtown Rutland called "Ideal City" is part of a permanent art installation presented by Castleton University.

A dramatic, life-size drawing of downtown Rutland now has a permanent home in the city thanks to a new gallery operated by CastletonUniversity.

The college already operates one art gallery in Rutland - on Center Street - near the Paramount Theatre.  Now, Castleton is opening another, adjacent to it’s downtown Rutland campus and polling institute.   

University President, David Wolk, says the centerpiece of the new gallery is a 43-foot-long cityscape, created by artist Bill Ramage, who taught art at Castleton for more than 30 years.

"It's Castleton's gift to Rutland." - David Wolk, President of Castleton University

“It's Castelton’s gift to Rutland,” says Wolk. “I love Bill Ramage... He’s been working on this beautiful depiction of downtown Rutland for two years or so and it really captures the beauty of what we might otherwise take for granted.” 

Ramage’s intricate drawing of the streets and buildings of downtown Rutland is mounted on the inside of a curved floor to ceiling wall that faces a bank of mirrors.  Bill Ramage says it creates a wonderful effect for viewers. "One of the reasons I wanted to do this with the mirror, is because I can now say to you, 'you can walk into the drawing,' and you don't hear that very often....'Go ahead.'" 

The visual impact is stunning, interactive and fun.

"You're in the space and it is really fun," says Ramage.  "You know what's difficult?" he asks, "trying to describe it to someone who hasn't seen it."

Credit photo provided
Bill Ramage's drawing, _Ideal City" is 43 feet long and just over 10 feet high. It took Ramage more than two years and nearly 400 pencils to complete. In the gallery, the drawing is mounted on a curved wall in front of mirrors for a more dramatic visual effect.

Credit photo provided
An up close view of the details incorporated in Bill Ramage's Ideal City. The drawing took Ramage more than 2 years and nearly 400 artistic pencils to complete.

Ramage says to ensure accuracy, he had a photographer take more than 30 photographs of downtown Rutland with the lens exactly 63 inches off the ground. “Which is exactly the height of my eyes,” he says, “so you’re getting my perception.”

Perception and its impact on art is something Ramage says he’s always been fascinated by. This work, which he calls "Ideal City," was inspired by a 15th Century painting by the same name that’s also a study in perspective. 

While the gallery has a formal opening planned for Friday, Wayne Withington, of West Rutland, stopped by early to see the installation.

His eyes light up and he smiles as he stands between the curved drawing and its mirrored reflection. “You’re in it,” he says nodding.  “It’s like a 3-D effect.  It’s like you’re right there. It’s hard to explain,” he says. “You just have to see it. You have to see it, it’s amazing.”

Ramage’s Ideal City will be on permanent display in Rutland in Castleton University’s newest gallery on Merchants row.

One in five Vermonters is considered elderly. But what does being elderly even mean — and what do Vermonters need to know as they age? I’m looking into how aging in Vermont impacts living essentials such as jobs, health care and housing. And also how aging impacts the stuff of life: marriage, loss, dating and sex.
Latest Stories