You’ve got mail…and a painting

Emily Benoit's mailroom painting for March. Photo coutesy of Heidi Cole. 

For most students, the mailroom in the Campus Center serves as a place to pick up mail and maybe a care package or two from home.

But for Castleton senior Emily Benoit, the window of the mailroom is her canvas. Every season, she turns the glass into a work of art, creating the changing seasons with each stroke of her paintbrush.

“I want to be an elementary teacher, so I have a lot of creativity,” Benoit said. “I really like the seasons, and I enjoy painting them.”

The efforts are appreciated. Students enter the mailroom after seeing the paintings on the glass, always curious as to who made the paintings, Benoit said.

“It’s really nice. It’s a big window, so a lot of people can see, just for everybody,” she said.

Heidi Cole, supervisor of the mailroom said she enjoys the images on the glass and that she and Benoit comes up with the ideas for them.

“I love what she does,” Cole said. “We go according to the seasons. I have no painting skills, Emily does.”

According to Benoit, she started doing artwork with her father when she was five years old. Her father taught her how to draw bunnies, but she says her father is not an artist.

“I always liked to draw, so he would draw with me when I was little,” she said.

Benoit works in the mailroom three times a week, each shift for two hours. The paintings take four hours to complete. She said her next painting is going to be a turkey, but her favorite is the one that she recently completed featuring a scarecrow and a jack-o-lantern.

Associate Dean of Students Victoria Angis who works out of the campus center said she appreciates the paintings and what they add to the space.

“I think she’s added a nice, warm, welcoming touch to what could otherwise be a pretty sterile area,” Angis said. “She’s very talented and it’s a pleasure to see what she comes up with each season.”

Benoit said her favorite reaction came from a student who was convinced that a professional had done the painting. For her, however, she enjoys seeing the reactions from people who appreciate her work.

“I really like when people walk by and they just stop and stare at the window,” she said. “I just get a lot of compliments. It’s really nice.”

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