MONTPELIER, VT—The calming nature photography of Carol Langstaff of Sharon, VT, and the vibrant mural work of Kathryn Wiegers of Rutland, VT, will help to create a welcoming and tranquil environment when their publicly commissioned artwork is installed at the new Vermont Department of Mental Health Recovery Residence in Essex.
The commission is part of the Art in State Buildings Program, a partnership between the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services.
Langstaff’s and Wiegers’ artwork was selected as the winning concept design in the competition launched earlier this year. A committee comprised of selected building employees, community members, and visual arts experts chose the artists following a process of public input. Langstaff and Wiegers were two of four finalists in the competition.
Langstaff will be awarded an $18,000 commission, and Wiegers will be awarded a $25,000 commission for the permanent public art.
“For several decades I have lived and created on my farm in Sharon. Through the years my work has emphasized different themes and taken different forms, but it has always reflected an intimate and deep familiarity with a sense of place. In recent years I have turned to photography as a primary means of expression. Looking through the lens of a camera has allowed me to see familiar landscapes in an entirely new way. I am eager to share these new perspectives with the larger community,” said Langstaff whose work can currently be seen as a part of Inclusive Arts Vermont’s “Masked” exhibit.
“Painting murals is my passion. I grew up painting on walls in my home as a kid, and ever since, the sight of a primed white wall is something that I get very excited about. I paint simply for the love of paint and of the brush. The constant changes and challenges of bringing studies of nature and mankind to light is a part of my artwork that I look forward to. Obtaining a degree in biology has also deepened this influence,” said Wiegers, who recently completed a mural on the side of the Royal Group building on Woodstock Avenue in Rutland.
“The link between the arts and mental health has been well established. Artwork can have a powerful impact on an environment and one’s experience in that environment which can be instrumental in one’s recovery. We’re looking forward to working with the artists to develop designs with strong connections to nature that will enrich the lives of the residents, staff, and visitors at the site,” said Troy Parah, program director for the new facility.
The committee and community members will work with the artists to finalize the designs over the next few months.
The public art commission will appear at the new recovery residence at 26 Woodside Drive in Essex. Currently under construction, the new 16-bed facility will serve Vermonters who no longer require an inpatient level of care but continue to require significant support as they transition to a lower level of care. The new facility has been designed to feel more like home than an institution and to allow easy access to nature to help residents feel safe.
Funded by the Art in State Buildings Act, the Art in State Buildings Program allows up to two capital construction projects to be selected each year. A second public art commission is also underway. In January, artist Dan Gottsegen’s preliminary design was the winning concept proposal for the commission for the Vermont Departments of Health and Children and Families, located at the John Zampieri State Office Building in downtown Burlington. Gottsegen is currently working with staff, clients, and community members to gather ideas for imagery to incorporate into the design.
Since 1988, the program has commissioned artwork from over 60 artists to appear in 35 state-owned buildings and public spaces across Vermont.
“The Arts Council is proud to administer the Art in State Buildings program,” noted Vermont Arts Council Executive Director Karen Mittelman. “The works of art commissioned through this program bring inspiration and vitality to public places across Vermont, at a time when we all recognize how powerful it is to gather together in shared community space.”
For more information on the Art in State Buildings program or other public art projects, visit https://www.vermontartscouncil.org/programs/public-art.
About the Vermont Arts Council
The Vermont Arts Council envisions a Vermont where all people have access to the arts and creativity in their lives, education, and communities. Engagement with the arts transforms individuals, connects us more deeply to each other, energizes the economy, and sustains the vibrant cultural landscape that makes Vermont a great place to live. Since 1965, the Council has been the state's primary provider of funding, advocacy, and information for the arts in Vermont. Learn more at www.vermontartscouncil.org