With an eye toward attracting visitors and celebrating the Rutland region’s history and the 30th anniversary of the Carving Studio & Sculpture Center (CSSC), a major new downtown Rutland sculpture has been commissioned.
MKF Properties and Green Mountain Power commissioned the roughly 10-ton sculpture as a tribute to the thousands of quarry workers, stonecutters and artists who built the stone industry in Rutland County. The sculpture, “Stone Legacy,” is being designed by internationally known artist Steve Shaheen. It will be carved by Italian artisans who will join Shaheen at the CSSC this summer, using stone donated by Vermont Quarries in Danby.
The sculpture will feature a marble base, with a life-sized figure of a stone carver on top, holding a stone chisel in one hand and a carving hammer in the other.
“It harkens to the earliest days of the region’s stone industry,” Shaheen said. “The carving will symbolically highlight the Rutland region’s deep artistic roots and the ongoing rebirth of the city.”
Mark Foley Jr., who has restored multiple downtown properties in recent years, said public art projects add to a sense of community, can celebrate history, and can become unique attractions that together can draw people to a community or downtown.
“This project will do all three,” Foley said. “It will celebrate the art and commerce that were the foundations of the region, connect us to that history, and attract visitors to downtown Rutland.”
Foley and Carol Driscoll, executive director of the CSSC, had been talking about a possible project when Steve Costello, who founded GMP’s Rutland Blooms project, visited Rapid City, S.D., last fall. “They have used public art to beautify their entire downtown and draw thousands of tourists,” said Costello, a GMP vice president. “I came home intent on expanding Rutland Blooms’ focus into history-based public art. When I approached Mark with the idea, he brought me into his conversations with Carol, and we quickly agreed to collaborate.”
The Rutland Blooms goal is to create several sculptures over the coming years, which could be in stone or bronze, and will focus on historic figures, such as Rutland’s John Deere, and Vermonters Norman Rockwell, Ethan Allen and Dorothy Canfield Fisher.
For the first project, Shaheen is creating a one-third scale model, or maquette, that will be referenced by Leonardo Corsanini, Massimo Baldoni and Andrea Ingrassi to create “Stone Legacy.” The Corsanini Studios, artisans from Carrara, Italy, specialize in enlargement and fabrication of marble sculpture around the world.
The stone will be brought from Vermont Quarries’ Danby site in late July, with the Italians arriving Aug. 13. The work should be complete in time for the CSSC SculptFest 2017 on Sept. 9, and will be installed in downtown Rutland in October. Organizers are in conversation with supportive city leaders to choose an exact site for the sculpture.
Photo by Evan Johnson
A rendering of “Stone Legacy” is unveiled at the Energy Innovation Center in downtown Rutland. Italian craftsmen will carve the 10-ton sculpture this summer.