Yesterday’s photo of concrete sculpture was not a crowd favorite, and it’s understandable. Concrete blocks? So exciting. With just a glance, there isn’t much to it, particularly in a cloudy season with no snow or leaves. Perhaps taking this interstate sculpture in greater context will make this sculpture more interesting. Yes, there are more concrete sculptures at rest areas on Vermont’s interstates. There are marble sculptures, too. Read on to learn about Vermont’s interstate art.
An art collection, known as “Sculpture on the Highway,” was developed in the late 1960s/early 1970s. There are eighteen concrete and marble sculptures located at rest areas and pull offs on Interstate 91 and 89, stretching from the Massachusetts border to the Canadian border. The intent was to create one (very long, linear) sculpture park. These sculptures were commissioned as a result of Vermont’s sculpture symposia, an American response to an international phenomena of the 1960s goals of fostering peaceful artistic dialogue. The efforts were funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Vermont Arts Council, and organized by Paul Aschenbach, a University of Vermont Sculpture professor. Aschenbach brought in talented sculptors from all over the world. The marble was donated by the Vermont Marble Company and the concrete donated by the S.T. Griswold Concrete Company.
Today some of these sculptures are located in rest areas or pull offs that have since been closed due to budget restraints. However, you can see many of them (though you might have to look closely – the Georgia sculpture is set behind the parking lot, not a place you’d immediately notice). In 2013, the Vermont Agency of Transportation relocated a 1968 marble sculpture by Viktor Rogy from the original Guilford rest area to the new Guilford rest area off I-91 northbound. While it is in a new setting, the (now cleaned) marble sculpture can once again be viewed by the traveling public in a similar environment.
A bit more interesting than just one concrete sculpture, yes? Want more information? See these links:
- This collection on Flickr features many of the sculptures.
- Read this article from the Chicago Tribune for a detailed 1970 account of the sculpture park (page 4 & 12 of the actual paper).
- Photos of the Georgia rest area northbound art from Obscure Vermont.
- A Brattleboro Reformer article about southern Vermont sculptures.
4 thoughts on “Vermont’s Sculpture on the Highway”
Ok; I was completely unaware this was a real project! I honestly thought you were kidding. Art is so subjective. At my college campus in the 90s someone thought it would be brilliant to commission a few sculptures to place in front of the entirely re-built Cultural Arts Center, which housed the theatre department and thre different styles of auditoriums.
Unfortunately, the chosen sculptures were essentially large, polished marbled stones of brownish reds and black, standing partly upright within a rectangular bed of smaller, polished stones. The minute they were installed they were nicknamed “the litter boxes.” No joke. That’s what they look like: a dirty litter box.
No worries. It does seem odd that there would be concrete sculptures on the interstate! I don’t always get sculpture, but I am starting to see how a sculpture park would be interesting. Your college sculpture parks sound funny. Ah, a litter box. Yikes!
Kaitlin, I’m embarrassed to say that I had no idea about the sculptures – I never noticed the one in Guilford, at either location. I’ll have to start looking for them!
I wouldn’t know if I didn’t work in transportation!