RUTLAND — The newest mural to grace downtown Rutland will soon urge all who see it to “Open your heart.”
A 28 foot by 22 foot photographic mural will soon grace the south wall of the former Strand Theater, which now houses Roots – The Restaurant, and faces Washington Street and Rutland City Hall, joining three sculptures on the Rutland Sculpture Trail and two other murals in the Center Street Marketplace in downtown Rutland.
Featuring a heart image carved in sandstone by wind and water, as photographed by longtime Rutland Town resident and Green Mountain Power Vice President Steve Costello, the mural is intended to offer beauty and inspiration for kindness and caring for one another and the community.
“I shot the image in Antelope Canyon, Arizona, during a solo hiking trip several years ago,” said Costello, an avid hiker and wildlife photographer. “Printed on canvas, it’s been a favorite wedding gift for family and friends, and I’m excited to share it with the community.”
Working on the Rutland Sculpture Trail, on concepts for murals in downtown Rutland, and community development more broadly, Costello said the photo began to take on more meaning for him. Paramount Theatre Executive Director Eric Mallette, who is also involved in the ongoing efforts to use arts and culture to support a vibrant downtown, first suggested the image be made into a mural, and helped raise funds to cover the cost of the installation.
“The image really spoke to me the first time I saw it,” Mallette said. “It’s warm and beautiful, but it also makes you think about what’s important in life.”
Costello said the image will likely mean different things to different people. “For me it started as a simple message of love for family and friends,” he said. “I hope it prompts people to think a little about love for those close to them, and about the concept of loving your neighbor. It seems like we can all use more love in our lives and communities right now.”
The location for the mural has special meaning for Costello, too: His father went to work as a ticket-taker at the Strand at age 5, after Costello’s grandfather died suddenly in 1928.
The mural installation will be completed by Awesome Graphics this fall, with support and funding from many community organizations and individuals.