Retaining Wall Mural

When you first drive into Bethel from the south, this is what you see. A crumbling wall doesn't give the best impression of our wonderful town, right? What if, instead, people saw something like this:  

Murals can add critical color and vibrancy to downtowns, and Bethel sorely needs that on our downtown retaining wall. We also have the chance to have a renowned mural artist bring life to our wall... for FREE! A mural on our wall could help transform our downtown and show everyone what a vibrant, beautiful community we have.

What do you think?

Read about the project details below and then fill out our quick feedback form. We want to hear what the community thinks and use your input to shape this exciting project!

The BRI is currently working with renowned mural artist Mary Lacy, the Town of Bethel, and the Vermont Agency of Transportation to explore a mural for the retaining wall at the intersection of Routes 12 & 107. 

What Would the Mural Depict?

Mary's tour features murals of animals in her distinct geometric style. She works closely with communities to choose an animal that represents the spirit of the community and the mural site. Our mural would need to feature an animal that is long and thin (to fit on our long, thin wall). What animal do you think captures Bethel? 

Watch her video about murals at the Moran Plant to see examples:

About the Wall

The retaining wall at the intersection of VT Routes 12 & 107 was built in 1940, and it's seen better days. It is owned and managed by the State of Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), which is in charge of maintenance and rebuilding. Our wall appears to be crumbling and looks blighted, but it is structurally sound and not in danger of collapsing.

VTrans maintains an inventory of all retaining walls and infrastructure in the state, including a ranking by condition.  There are 59 comparable walls statewide in similar or worse condition and repair funding is very limited. Major rebuilding and repair projects also take several years to design, plan, budget and permit. That means our wall is not likely to be rebuilt for a number of years.

How Would a Mural Work?

How exactly would we put a mural on a crumbling wall? At a dangerous intersection? And is that smart? We've got a plan. 

About Mary Lacy & the Mural Tour

Vermont Artist Mary Lacy is well known for her large, striking murals on buildings and other infrastructure around the state. Mary is currently conducting a national 10-city mural tour, sponsored by Benjamin Moore. She is working with communities around the country to identify sites that need color and life, and to involve those communities in painting murals that brighten up buildings and walls in their neighborhoods. 

Mary would like to return home for the last stop on the tour, completing the 10th mural in a Vermont town, in June 2017. And she'd like to do that in Bethel, on our wall. She's interested in Bethel because we are a community that is actively working on downtown revitalization, and has a need for public art.

Mary would likely design the mural on pieces of plywood, cut into geometric shapes. Community volunteers could help paint those pieces at a safe location away from the wall. We're working with VTrans to find a way to attach those pieces to the wall so that they could be easily removed and would not further damage the wall. The mural could be removed for inspections and repairs, and could easily be reattached or installed elsewhere in the future. The installation would only take about 1 day, minimizing disruptions to traffic and any safety concerns.

What Will this Cost the Town?

There would be no financial cost to the Town of Bethel or taxpayers for this project. Mary's mural tour (including her truck, paint, etc.) are fully sponsored by Benjamin Moore. The BRI would fundraise or apply for grants to cover any additional materials that we need. We would need volunteer time and support from the community in order to make this happen - people to paint, direct traffic, etc.