The large painted heart that you have become accustomed to seeing outside of the Fine Arts Center was one of 30 similar hearts that was auctioned to the highest bidder on Friday, November 2, 2012.
The Paramount Theatre hosted the live auction of the 4-foot hearts that were painted by local artists and Castleton students that were displayed as part of the heARTs of Rutland project.
The project has been raising awareness and funds for victims of Tropical Irene and other disasters, as well as for children’s art education.
Three of the hearts that were sold were painted by students and faculty of the Castleton State College. Art students Kristen Partesi and Nicole Ruman painted a heart called “Vermont Everlasting.” Jessica Perkins and Molly Hornbeck painted “Renewal.” Communications Assistant Kate Richards contributed a heart called “Heart of the Season” as well.
If one word were used to describe the driving force behind the project, it would be community. Each aspect of the auction event showcased local accomplishments to continue sharing how this community can come together and achieve great things.
“We are a small college with a big heart. This is a small community with even bigger hearts!” said President Wolk at the event.
Prior to the start of the live auction, Art from the heART, a silent auction featuring Vermont handmade gifts and artwork was held. Homemade works of art donated by local artists were up for auction.
Paintings from many artists were featured along with a quilt that was donated from the Winter Warms Project. Children and adults in the community painted mini hearts to accompany the paintings and a variety of other goods.
Inside the theater, guests were welcomed by the sound of students from the Stafford Jazz and Contemporary Music program singing and playing instruments.
Rutland High School student who has attended Castleton’s Upward Bound program, Courtney Marsh, said she was excited to perform with the Stafford All-Stars.
“The best part is, we were asked to perform here,” Marsh said. “It means a lot. They reached out to us to get involved because they wanted to give us a chance to show our work.”
Students from the Stafford Academic Culinary Arts Program prepared and served an abundance of hors d’oeuvres – from meatballs and sushi to cheese and crackers.
When it comes down to it,the night was about the hearts and each painted heart has a story.
The artists designed their hearts based on their own inspiration and style.
Julia Quimby-Cohen, wife of Business Professor Paul Cohen, painted the heart named “Covered Bridge Love.”
“I chose to paint a covered bridge because I feel that it is a symbol for Vermont and to help fundraise for the recreation of the covered bridges that were lost in Vermont from Irene.”
When the auction started, the auctioneer, Bob Prozzo, told attendees that the hearts were worth a lot of money and countless effort. “These hearts were almost $1,000 before the artists even added their own work to them,” he said. Artists then spent weeks and money on adding their personal art onto their heart.
The money raised from the live auction, silent auction and other fundraising events held since the project began will be distributed to victims of disaster in the Rutland region via the Long Term Recovery Committee of Rutland County as well as children’s art education.
The hearts were meant to represent how, even when a disaster such as Irene hits Vermont, the community as a whole comes together to help and support in every way.