On January 20, 2021

Super heroes live in Rutland City

By Victoria Gaither
Batman vs. Gryphon on Merchants Row

 

By Victoria Gaither

You can look at many things to judge a community; the top of my list is art. Art is a community heartbeat, and I felt the beat strong on a cold morning as I walked through downtown Rutland to view spectacular murals. Sure, most communities have murals, but there is something special about the collective body of work in downtown Rutland.

I found out superheroes exist, animals bring comfort, Black Lives Matter, a tunnel leads to new possibilities, and Vermont’s friendliness holds true. I parked my car on Merchants Row, only to look up and see a story playing out before my eyes, Batman vs. Gryphon; who won?

The Gryphon building will never give up its secrets. Rounding the corner on West Street, greetings of good morning came from a man on his way to work, and I spot “The Giraffes” by artist Kathryn Wiegers, looking right at a balloon that says “Everything Is Going to be OK.”

By Victoria Gaither
“Everything Is Going to be OK”on West Street

I stand with tears in my eyes thinking about events playing out in America, but at that moment, my heart believes, “Everything Is Going to be OK.” How a balloon, monkey, and bird brought peace to my heart on a cold morning is remarkable, so Rutland, thank you!

And thank you to Artist LMNOPI for “We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest Until It Come,” a quote taken from a song composed by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, for a mural that took my breath away! I accessed the mural through a walkway opposite Walmart, directions given to me by Chris and a friendly female worker at The Bakery.

By Victoria Gaither
“We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest Until It Come,” Center Street Alley

My heart was beating fast, walking towards the courtyard, and then it opens up to snow on the ground with a larger-than-life portrait of a beautiful brown girl looking at me. How special! Who is she? My soul feels connected to her, and all that comes with her. At a time of Black Lives Matter, her face resonates with me; I can’t stop staring, my toes and fingers are cold, but I don’t feel it; I feel her story, which is my story. There is power in this mural.

Plus, the power in knowing “The Hidden Tunnel” on Wales Street by Wiegers is symbolic of new possibilities. Artists Persi Narvaez and Brian Sylvester welcomed me to the “Family Table” on Evelyn Street. It didn’t stop there. “A Vermont Farm Scene” took me back to childhood memories of being in geography class in Washington, DC, flipping through pictures of Vermont farms. The farms and barns are real; how lucky am I to see them in person.

By Victoria Gaither
“The Giraffes” on West Street

My morning walk pushed inspiration into my blood and renewed my passion for all things news. As a journalist, I travel the world, but a walk through downtown Rutland crystalized how life should be through a series of art murals. After looking online at the downtown Rutland’s website, I missed a few murals. I feel happy about that because I get to go back. I can’t wait! Thank you, Rutland, my superhero at a time when it counts!

Victoria Gaither is an Emmy award-winning journalist, traveler, writer and photojournalist; who is spending the winter in Killington.

By Victoria Gaither
“Family Table” on Evelyn Street

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