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

Walk To See: Highlighting Rutland's Growing Visual Art Scene

Nina Keck
Jamie Forrest and Emily Ohlinger, student interns from Castleton University, are working on the public relations and marketing aspects for DRAW, The Downtown Rutland ArtWalk.

Castleton University has been steadily expanding its art footprint in downtown Rutland. To shine a light on all the new art, the college will begin new guided art walks in downtown Rutland on Saturday afternoons starting Nov. 28.

The tours will not only highlight artists featured in Castleton’s three galleries, but will showcase new exhibits in Rutland's City Hall and public library.

Tours will start at the corner of Merchants Row and Center Street.

Victoria Crain will lead the tours — beginning in the university's newest gallery — a space that used to be a bank. The historic green marble building, on one of Rutland’s most prominent corners, is now filled with an eclectic mix of paintings, sculpture and three-dimensional displays.

“We think that art energizes places and the more [art] people see, the more people think, and the more people want to see some more,” says Crain. “We’re hoping that it will enliven the city. Already the city is kind of blooming. But we see people peeking in these windows they want to see what’s in here.”

In addition to showcasing the work of regional artists, the university believes the project will be a good teaching tool for its students.

Credit Nina Keck / VPR
Randolph Center artist Rachi Farrow created this sculpture of a "Voodoo Queen." The piece is currently on display at Castleton University's newest downtown gallery, in Rutland.

Emily Ohlinger and Jamie Forrest, student interns from Castleton University, designed a brochure that maps out the various galleries, installations and city murals. The two developed marketing for the project and later this spring, they’ll be leading the tours.

“I think it’ll definitely bring people down to the downtown more,” says Ohlinger. “It’s providing something new.”

"We're hoping that it will enliven the city. Already the city is kind of blooming. But we see people peeking in these windows they want to see what's in here." - Victoria Crain

Leading the way through the tour, Crain highlights the rich backstory of each piece, and its artist. 

“That’s a sculpture by Oliver Schemm," says Crain, "he loves to put found things together. And this is Rachi’s [Farrow] other doll - this massive creature.”

Crain points to a tribal-like figure created by Randolph Center artist Rachi Farrow. It’s at least 10 feet tall.

Credit Nina Keck / VPR
Another larger-than-life sculpture by artist Rachi Farrow, who lives in Randolph Center.

Getting people to point and say ‘wow, what is that in the window?' is the idea says Crain.

“I think it’s chicken wire under there that she crammed with fabric," says Crain of the towering piece. "You can tell it’s a human, but it’s filled with a lot of texture and color that’s she’s gotten from ... fabric, yarn, sweaters."

There are also half a dozen upside-down Barbie doll heads woven in, creating an odd, whimsical effect.

"So much of what's great about Rutland you don't see on Route 4; you don't see on Route 7. You've got to get down into the downtown and really dig into our history." - William Notte, President of the Rutland Board of Aldermen.

City officials think all the new artwork and the free tours will be a plus for downtown businesses.

William Notte is President of the Rutland Board of Aldermen.

“So much of what’s great about Rutland you don’t see on Route 4; you don’t see on Route 7," Notte explains. "You’ve got to get down into the downtown and really dig into our history.”

“To have a group ... volunteering their time to point this out to the curious," Notte adds, "is an excellent sign of Rutland on the right track.”

Castleton University’s new art walk tours begin in Rutland at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 28 and run through Dec. 18.

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