(Host) Fifty-nine brightly colored wooden trains will parade down Merchants Row in Rutland tomorrow.
As VPR’s Nina Keck reports, the trains are part of a new street art project that city officials hope will reflect the town’s history and raise money for its future
(Keck) Some towns have painted fiberglass pigs, others lamas or cows. Rutland chose to paint four foot by five foot wooden trains – hand made by local craftsmen. Maryanne Goulette is head of the Rutland Downtown Partnership.
(Goulette) “Once we decided on the train theme people really got excited about it. And it’s more than just street art. I think it’s really a celebration of Rutland.”
(Keck) Goulette and Mary Kay Skaza, Marketing Director for the Partnership, stand surrounded by the trains in a vacant ground floor office building in Rutland. Skaza says because the city chose a wooden structure to decorate, rather than a fiberglass form, participating artists and schools had much more flexibility in what they could do.
(Skaza) “There was a standard train that we gave all the artists – and then some people curved the roofs, a lot of people took off the smoke stacks and then built one of their own reflection what every their theme was. They just did so much.”
(Keck) The colors and flamboyance of the trains are eye popping. One is covered by bark and branches. Another train has an intricately decorated wedding cake for a smoke stack. Yet another artist removed the wooden side panels and replaced them with stained glass dragons that light up.
(Goulette) “We’re really excited. It’s been two years of planning and to see them all together and they’re all so unique and wonderful, Are you looking at the bubble gum one right now?”
(Keck) Goulette catches my eyes as they take in a train covered entirely by brightly colored gumballs.
(Goulette) “It’s called chew chew train and the artist is Lisa Cacciatori – and it’s made completely out of bubble gum. There’s little Wriggley pieces – they’re all lined up very precisely on this train. It’s amazing.”
(Keck) Don’t worry, she says, they used lots of clear coat. Because the various artists put so much time and energy into their trains, Goulette says they’ll receive 25% of the auction sale price.
After tomorrow’s street celebration and parade which begins at noon, the 59 trains will be put on display throughout town. A party and auction will take place in October. Money raised will pay for arts education in Rutland and new welcome signs for the city.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.