Artists Chosen for Public Art Commission at Essex Recovery Residence

MONTPELIER, VT—Soothing nature photography by Carol Langstaff of Sharon, VT, and vibrant wall art by Kathryn Wiegers of Rutland, VT, will help create a welcoming and tranquil environment when their publicly commissioned artwork is installed in the new department of Vermont. of Mental Health Recovery Residence in Essex.

The commission is part of the Art in State Buildings program, a partnership between the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services.

Artwork by Langstaff and Wiegers was selected as the winning concept design in the competition launched earlier this year. A committee made up of selected building employees, community members and visual arts experts chose the artists following a public participation process. Langstaff and Wiegers were two of four finalists in the contest.

Langstaff will receive an $18,000 commission and Wiegers will receive a $25,000 commission for permanent public art.

“For several decades, I lived and created on my farm in Sharon. Over the years my work has emphasized different themes and taken different forms, but it has always reflected an intimate and deep familiarity with a sense of place. In recent years, I have turned to photography as my main means of expression. Looking through a camera lens allowed me to see familiar landscapes in an entirely new way. I look forward to sharing these new insights with the wider community,” said Langstaff, whose work can currently be seen in Inclusive Arts Vermont’s “Masked” exhibit.

“Wall painting is my passion. I grew up painting on the walls of my house as a kid, and ever since the sight of a primed white wall is something that excites me a lot. I paint simply for the love of paint and the brush. The constant changes and challenges of bringing nature and humanity studies to light are some of my work that I look forward to. Getting a degree in biology also added to that influence,” said Wiegers, who recently painted a mural on the side of the Royal Group building on Woodstock Avenue in Rutland.

“The link between the arts and mental health is well established. Works of art can have a powerful impact on an environment and a person’s experience of that environment, which can be instrumental in their recovery. We look forward to working with the artists to develop designs in close connection with nature that will enrich the lives of residents, staff and site visitors,” said Troy Parah, program director for the new facility.

The committee and community members will work with the artists to finalize the designs over the coming months.

The public art commission will appear at the new salvage residence at 26 Woodside Drive in Essex. Currently under construction, the new 16-bed facility will serve Vermonters who no longer require an inpatient level of care, but continue to need significant support as they transition to a lower level of care. The new facility was designed to feel more like home than an institution and to allow easy access to nature to help residents feel safe.

Funded by the Art in State Buildings Act, the Art in State Buildings program selects up to two capital construction projects each year. A second public art commission is also underway. In January, artist Dan Gottsegen’s preliminary design was the winning concept proposal for the Vermont Departments of Health and Children and Families Commission, located at the John Zampieri State Office Building in downtown Burlington. Gottsegen is currently working with staff, customers, and community members to gather ideas for images to incorporate into the design.

Since 1988, the program has commissioned artwork from more than 60 artists to appear in 35 state-owned buildings and public spaces across Vermont.

“The Arts Council is proud to administer the Art in State Buildings program,” said Vermont Arts Council Executive Director Karen Mittelman. “The artwork commissioned through this program brings inspiration and vitality to public places in Vermont, at a time when we all recognize how powerful it is to come together in shared community space.”

For more information on the Art in State Buildings program or other public art projects, visit

About the Vermont Arts Council

The Vermont Arts Council envisions a Vermont where all people have access to the arts and creativity in their lives, education, and communities. Engagement with the arts transforms individuals, connects us more deeply to one another, energizes the economy, and supports the vibrant cultural landscape that makes Vermont a great place to live. Since 1965, the Council has been the primary provider of funding, advocacy, and information for the arts in Vermont. Learn more at



Catherine Crawley, director of communications for the Vermont Arts Council, [email protected]802-828-5422

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