Art on the River
Vibrant Downtown public Art that Celebrates and highlights Bethel's white River
In spring of 2017, Bethel was awarded a $15,000 Animating Infrastructure grant from the Vermont Arts Council. This competitive grant program is awarding us funding to support high quality public art projects that will help enliven our streetscape, from the Wall to the Hall. The funding will support three quick, tactical art projects that help implement the outcomes and strong community needs that emerged from the Better Block project. It will fund three main projects, which together will help enliven downtown and celebrate what makes Bethel special.
Our giant retaining wall (at the intersection of Routes 12 & 107) has seen better days. Unfortunately it won't be rebuilt any time soon, but that doesn't mean it can't be beautiful! Renowned mural artist Mary Lacy made Bethel the final stop on her 10-city national mural tour, and transformed our wall with a 200-foot mural of brook and rainbow trout. More than 150 people participated in painting and installing this beautiful work of art. Learn more about the mural project.
Bethel's flower baskets have long been popular, but they are high-maintenance and no longer feasible. In their place, we've commissioned Bethel artist Teal Sallen of Teal Emlyn Illustration to design a set of eight artistic banners that will bring color and life to downtown while celebrating icons and assets chosen by the community. Check out the first four banner designs below and let us know what you think!
The final four banner designs will feature Bethel artisans, Bethel white granite, the Town Hall and historic buildings, and the White River and Peavine Park. A volunteer public art review group is providing feedback on designs and will make decisions on details like text. Let us know if you'd like to be involved.
During Better Block, we heard that there aren't enough places to sit in downtown Bethel. Benches and seating are particularly lacking in our downtown green spaces, which could be more inviting and accessible. Fine woodworker Lindley Brainard will design a set of sculptural benches that mimic the curves of the White River. She'll be using downed black locust logs from Bethel's Branliere Town Forest, in a nod to our Locust Creek.