The Making of "Caring for the University of Vermont"

In the Fall of 2000, I began taking photographs of people working at the university, cleaning, raking leaves, painting, bending pipes in the Smart Bender (a fascinating machine.) I was thinking of filling the sub-basement at Waterman with murals of workers.

As this project continued, I began making small drawings, then larger ones. In my Advanced Drawing class, Frank Owen suggested doing full-sized drawings. I did that and put them up in the corridor to see how they looked. Doing the full size drawings gave me the chance to work out a lot of problems of backgrounds and the placement of figures. I decided to do free standing paintings that could be made at home and put up anywhere.

After two sets were finished, I came to the University administration to ask about hanging them. It was the time of the annual staff banquet and we set up the paintings there. People enjoyed them and recognized some of the workers in the paintings. It was decided that they should be hung on the fourth floor of Waterman so that more people could see them and appreciate the staff who work so hard for the University. We hung them in December 2001 after the third set was finished and added the fourth set in January, 2002.

Finishing this project, having it be hung, really makes me happy. I still have hopes of filling the sub-basement with paintings some day. There are a lot more jobs involved in caring for the University that haven¹t been shown yet!

-- Sophie Quest, 2001

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