Natalie Blake showing her ceramics

Natalie Blake

Randi Solin showing her art glass

Randi Solin

TAC Walks the Talk: Art Under Our Feet!

Internationally renowned artists Randi Solin and Natalie Blake are about to take a walk in Brattleboro. A sidewalk, that is.

In a collaborative effort of the Town Arts Committee (TAC), Department of Public Works (DPW), Hotel Pharmacy, and Fulcrum Arts, Elliot Street will be endowed with the first installation of Horizontal Art. Brattleboro, nationally known as an arts town, walks the talk with this project. Hotel Pharmacy is participating with financial support, and Solin and Blake bring their acclaimed artistry in glass and ceramics.

It's been a team effort from the start. Garry Jones, local sculptor of large-scale musical instruments and developer of art in all planes, says the idea popped into his head during the Town Arts Committee Charrette in January, and he has been working with Kate Anderson of TAC to develop the idea ever since. The Town Arts Committee conferred with Steve Barrett, of the Department of Public Works, who steered the Arts Committee to slabs in need of replacement as installation sites. "Using already budgeted sidewalk replacement funds, this is a win/win for Brattleboro," said Barrett. "Like the bus shelter idea, it provides an outlet for Brattleboro's arts and artists."

Logo of the Fulcrum Arts cooperative

Natalie Blake and Randi Solin, who together comprise Fulcrum Arts, had this to say: "We are honored to be part of the first public art project of this kind. A true acknowledgment that Brattleboro is woven together by artists. We come here to be undisturbed in the privacy of natural beauty; yet our boundless creativity should be illuminated as our best asset all over town. How fitting to start with this project: 'diamonds on the soles of our shoes.' We thank the pioneers of the Town Arts Committee for their hard work and vision. May this be the first of many."

The Fulcrum Arts installation will be made using glass and ceramic shards embedded in sidewalk cement. It will be unveiled during Gallery Walk on August 6.

According to Anderson, she and the Town Arts Committee are not done yet. "The next sidewalk will be tackled by an equally exciting team of artists, a BUHS group under the guidance of Gary Blomgren, Art Dept. Chair." Blomgren was enthusiatic and excited about becoming more involved in community art initiatives. "This project is a great way to connect the young artists at BUHS with the larger community in Brattleboro. Students will have the opportunity to give back to the community that has supported them so generously over the years. It will also give the students real experience in generating design plans, proposals, and creating community art."

Eventually, Brattleboro will be a town with a mosaic of original art as its sidewalks.

Copyright 2010, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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