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Community Art & Events

Community art projects and events are a great way for everyone to connect, engage, and get creative! MakerSphere partners with other local organizations and schools to bring art opportunities and fun to everyone. MakerSphere organizes the Annual River of Light Lantern Parade, one of Waterbury's most popular and well-loved community events. In addition, MakerSpere participates in the Waterbury Arts Fest each year as well as Waterbury Winterfest. 

Floodgates Art Project 2.0 asks Waterbury,
‘What’s on Your Plate?’

 

By Sarah-Lee Terrat and MK Monley 

 

In August 2012, a year after Tropical Storm Irene devastated many parts of Vermont including Waterbury, a group of community members in collaboration with Revitalizing Waterbury organized an art exhibition entitled “After Irene: A Floodgates Art Project.”

The show featured art from a variety of community members of all ages as people created original works on small square tiles using an array of media from paints to collage. Over several months, workshops were held for people to work on their creations together and kits with supplies were distributed for others to work at home.

The exhibit received several hundred submissions. Organized by volunteers, the display was expected to last a couple of weeks, but it extended for nearly two months due to the overwhelming response from the community to visit and take in the pieces made by neighbors and friends. 

Just 12 years after Irene in July 2023, another flood devastated wide swaths of Vermont impacting many of the same Waterbury homeowners and businesses. The psychological toll left by the devastation that hit our state last summer has been undeniable. Then again in December mere months after the July flooding, more rain (added to an already saturated water table) created flooding again in towns across the state, including Waterbury once more. 

After Irene; A Floodgates Art Project

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Photo by Gordon Miller

The Vermont Community Foundation sees one of its roles in helping communities move forward from those events last year. One way it is lending support to Waterbury is through its Vermont Flood Response & Recovery Fund which has awarded MakerSphere a generous grant of $6,300 for a flood art project that takes its inspiration from the post-Irene effort that was such a success. 

The New Project

MakerSphere now is offering community members a chance to participate in a new art project called, “What’s on Your Plate?…Floodgates Art Project 2.0.” Following a format similar to the 2012 “After Irene: Floodgates Art Project,” MakerSphere wants to continue the important work of uniting the community and promoting participation, camaraderie, and collective healing through art. The goal is to inspire people to use art to share their responses, viewpoints, experiences, and emotions regarding the flooding that Mother Nature continues to dish out. 

Like the first Floodgates project, everyone will start with the same canvas. This time, organizers will provide heavy-duty Chinet paper plates. They will ask people to create their perspective of “what’s on their plate” after all of the flooding. What are your hopes? What are your fears? How are you doing? What do you need? How have you been helped and/or how are you helping others? What’s on your plate?​

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How to Participate

From mid-June to mid-August MakerSphere will host community workshops throughout Waterbury and will provide art kits to take home for those who prefer to work on their own.

 

MakerSphere stresses that this project is to provide an emotional outlet by creating a piece of art and anyone is welcome to participate. It’s the process – not the product – that is important.

Participate at a Workshop or an Event

June 18 at the Waterbury Public Library

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

July 10 at the Waterbury Senior Center (for all ages)

3:0o pm - 5:00 pm

July 13 at Waterbury Arts Fest, Pilgrim Park

10:00 am - 3:00 pm

July 25 at the Waterbury Farmer's Market

4:0o pm - 7:00 pm

Stay tuned for more dates coming soon!

Completed artworks will be displayed in various downtown locations in September and October. Project guidelines and kits for those working at home will be available starting in mid-June at the Waterbury Public Library, Stowe Street Emporium, Red Hen Bakery and Brookside Primary School. ​

The project will be open to anyone in Vermont. Those in and nearby Waterbury are encouraged to attend the local workshops and pick up kits from MakerSphere locations. MakerSphere will connect with some additional community organizations around Central Vermont should they want to participate and offer similar opportunities for residents in their areas to create art for the show. The deadline for submissions will be Friday, August 16.

 

Artist and art teacher MK Monley chairs MakerSphere’s Board of Directors. Artist Sarah-Lee Terrat is a volunteer with MakerSphere. Together they are leading the “What’s on Your Plate? Floodgates Art Project 2.0” project. 

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