Art to Transform Safford Street Underpass
Yes, you know where it is.
The Safford Street Underpass may not at first ring any bells, geographic or artistic, unless you live in South Royalton VT. It’s a craggy old railroad underpass with scuffed and faded remnants of an old mural; it sits across the street and a bit toward the town green when viewed from the Royalton Library steps. But even if you’re not a town resident, chances are you’ve driven through the underpass—on your way to and from SoRo’s culinary mecca, The Worthy Burger.
Artists Elizabeth Billings, Evie Lovett, and Andrea Wasserman aim to provide some “visual poetry” to the town with a new public art project at the Safford Street underpass. The final design is still being honed, but from the artists’ presentation to the Royalton Planning Commission, we know more than a little. After establishing a smooth concrete surface that spans the underpass and wraps around its entrances, the artists’ vision is to pay homage to the region’s natural beauty.
The installation will be in two parts, one on each side of the underpass. One will feature the land and the other the White River. The frieze depicting the land will contain representations of trees, some composed of words. The other side will show a meandering river. It’s a colorful design, and the artists plan to use some reflective materials and mirrors.
But my prose is a poor substitute that cannot do justice to the proposed installation. Click here and then click on “Safford 2” for a video of the artists’ presentation of some of their former public art creations and more to the point, their preliminary designs for Safford Street. There is also a Facebook page, SoRo Underpass Art, for a quick peek and for more information.
According to Nell Gwin, the design committee . . . “will continue to meet with them [the artists] through the design process which will come to a close by the end of August 2021. At that time we hope to be prepared with funding to continue on to the implementation phase.”
Such a beautiful and worthy addition to the charm that is SoRo.
(Photo, top, of the Safford Street Underpass by Susan B. Apel. It is clearly the “before”shot. Stay tuned to Artful for the “after” shot later this summer or fall.)
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.