Two Vermont artists and two artist teams have been selected as finalists to design, create and install a permanent work of art at the One Taylor Street Redevelopment Project. They are: Michael Zebrowski of Morrisville; Miles Chapin of Westminster West; Rodrigo Nava and Gregory Miguel Gomez of Putney; and a six-member team headed by Elizabeth Courtney of Montpelier and Michael Singer of Wilmington.
In March, 2017 the city announced that – In collaboration with Montpelier Alive and the Community Engagement Lab – it had received a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, part of a $150,000 project to create a master plan for public art, and to commission the city’s first major public work of art. A seven-member selection committee was appointed to review applications, which were due on November 1, and to select the finalists. Each artist and team will receive a small stipend to create a concept of their proposed art installation to present to the public on January 31, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at City Hall.
The artist selection committee will then recommend one artist or team to the City Council for final award of the commission. The installation is expected to be installed in the spring of 2019.
According to selection committee chair Nathan Suter, the group received 23 applications. "As a group, the candidates represented a broad range of artistic practice, media, and experience with public art making,” Suter said. The group of finalists, he added “is diverse in terms of artistic approach, is deeply rooted in Vermont, and demonstrates an appreciation for the history of the site as well as its potential to distinguish Montpelier for residents and visitors. We eagerly anticipate the presentations of proposals on January 31st when these artists and teams reveal their proposals."
About the finalists:
Michael Zebrowski teaches sculpture and 3D art at Johnson State College, and has held academic positions at numerous other institutions including the Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Buffalo, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He has designed large installations in Buffalo, NY, Baltimore, MD and, in Vermont, at Oxbow Park in Morrisville, Shelburne Farms, and Spruce Peak in Stowe. For more information, visit upendthis.com.
Team leader Rodrigo Nava was born in Mexico, and has exhibited his sculpture around Vermont and the Northeast. He has done residencies at art schools in Vermont and Mexico. Gregory Miguel Gomez has also exhibited around the state and the country, is an associate professor of art at Wheelock College in Boston, and has taught at Wellesley College and the Maryland Institute of Art. Visit rodrigonava.com and gregorygomez.com.
Miles Chapin is a sculptor who works in Vermont granite and in stone pulled from farmers’ fields. He has exhibited widely in Maine and Vermont and has created public art in Maine, California, and Massachusetts, and in Vermont at the Putney School. Visit mileschapin.com.
Landscape architect and environmental consultant Elizabeth Courtney served for 15 years as the executive director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council and currently works for the Sustainable Montpelier Coalition and Vermont River Conservancy. She co-leads a six-member team of applicants with Michael Singer, founder of Michael Singer Studio, which offers architectural and landscape design, planning, interpretive design, fabrication, and construction. Other team members include Steve Libby, of Hinesburg, executive director of the Vermont River Conservancy; Sarah Hoffmeier of Montpelier, founder of Ecolibrium, a landscaping/design company; Meg Ostrum of Montpelier, a consultant specializing in historic interpretation and heritage preservation; and Erica Heilman, a Calais-based independent radio producer and creator of the podcast “Rumble Strip.”
The one-acre Taylor Street site is a former scrap yard and train depot currently in use as a parking lot for state employees. The City of Montpelier plans to transform it into a state-of-the-art transportation and commercial center and public park. The transit center project is funded through the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration and the city.
Begun in the spring of 2017, ArtSynergy is an initiative of the City of Montpelier, in collaboration with Montpelier Alive and the Community Engagement Lab, to develop a strategic Public Art Master Plan and community-wide vision for how public art can be integrated into the city. ArtSynergy invites those who live, work, recreate, shop in or visit Montpelier to participate in a survey about public art.