The four-foot art installations will no longer decorate
the landscape, but the 30 Rutland-based heARTs will live on in the
admiration of new owners while benefiting local folks in
RUTLAND-Large acrylic hearts have decorated the Rutland landscape
for nearly five months, locals and visitors alike admiring their
Each heart has been designed and decorated by a local artist or
a team of local artists and is also sponsored by a business. In
all, 30 hearts were unveiled earlier this summer and have since
been on display as part of a public art installation across the
This Friday, Nov. 2, those who have become particularly attached
will have their chance to purchase their favorite heart at an
auction at the Paramount Theater. The viewing begins at 5:30
The project began when Mary Crowley and Karen Seward were
thinking of a way to show how much heart the Rutland area has. From
record-breaking blood drives to fundraising, Rutland delivers
admirably, especially for its size.
When Crowley and Seward witnessed the outpouring of support in
the wake of Tropical Storm Irene they knew that the time was right
for the heARTs of Rutland community art display. The director of
the HBRASV, Sherrie Birkheimer said "this project is all about
community and how our community shows heart in so many ways. Our
community came together to support this project in ways we never
could have hoped for. The artists really stepped up and spent so
many hours of hard work."
One of those artists is Carolyn Shattuck, a Rutland resident who
works in two-dimensional collage and books. She says "When I heard
about the project, I don't think there was a doubt in my mind that
I would do one. I feel a strong sense of community here in Rutland.
I've been here since 1978 and I like the idea of being a part of
something larger something for the community." Shattuck was a
perfect fit for the project not simply because her work translated
beautifully onto the four-foot tall acrylic heart. She explained,
"I am influenced a lot by 'outsider art'. It is not refined through
lots of education, it comes from the heart."
Shattuck's piece is titled "The Quilted Hearts of Gee's Bend," a
nod to the famous quilters of Gee's Bend, Alabama and their iconic
status as 'outsider artists.' For nearly 100 years quilts have been
produced in Gee's Bend and the recent exposure and success is a
story of community and strength. Shattuck has had some recognition
using the patterns from the quilters to create wholly original
artwork. Some of those works are on display at Dartmouth College,
Carnegie Mellon and the University of Iowa.
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Shattuck
"The Quilted Hearts of Gee's Bend" Sponsor: Downtown Rutland
With so many different styles of art represented there is something
for everyone. "There are many people who are looking for different
things in art," says Director Sherrie Birkheimer. "Beauty is in the
eye of the beholder, after all."
In addition to auctioning off the hearts in a live format, there
will also be a silent auction called Art for heARTs where other
local arts and crafts are available. The Stafford Jazz and
Contemporary Music Program will provide music for the event while
students from the culinary program at Stafford Technical School
will provide the hors d'oeuvres. The money raised goes to victims
of disaster relief fund and to fund children's art education.
Friday's event is expected to be another memorable outpouring of
encouragement with crowds coming out to support the heARTs of the