One of the panels created for the After Irene Floodgates Arts Project.



It’s been nearly a year since Irene devastated the area and everywhere people are still picking up the pieces, literally. With the snow gone, the remnants of what happened are again visible. Though homes and businesses may be repaired, emotions remain close to the surface.


A group of Waterbury area artists have decided to channel those emotions and remembrances into a public art project, After Irene Floodgates Art Project, and have extended an invitation to their neighbors in The Valley to join them in creating a personal remembrance of what happened when Irene hit and, even more, what happened afterwards. The Valley Arts Foundation is partnering with Revitalizing Waterbury to bring the project to the Mad River Valley.


The After Irene Floodgates Art Project is designed to get responses to, viewpoints of or emotions to Irene, and people’s experiences in the days, weeks and months following the storm. The art is intended to be displayed widely between the two communities with the purpose of attracting artists and spectators of all ages. All ages and levels of expertise are welcome to participate.


The vehicle for those responses is a 6-by-6-inch panel of compressed particleboard that has been prepared to be a canvas of sorts. Kits containing the panels and more detailed instructions are available at the Mad River Chamber and the Festival Gallery in Waitsfield. Any kind of visual presentation is encouraged – a painting, drawing, stencil, photograph, collage of items – to be affixed to one or more panels. The panels will be grouped and presented during the Festival of the Arts in August to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the 2011 flood.


“Not sure how to get started but want to contribute? We will be hosting at least two painting workshops in The Valley: one on Saturday, June 2, at Quench Artspace and one later in June at the Waitsfield United Church of Christ. We’ll provide basic supplies (including the panel); you bring items of flood interest you might want to use along with your imagination and vision. You are encouraged to create your panel art using anything you want: found objects, photos, paint, etc,” said Karen Nevin, director of the Vermont Festival of the Arts.


For questions contact Nevin, (802) 496-6682. To pick up a kit, stop by the Festival Gallery, next to Tempest Book Shop, or the Chamber of Commerce.