$2,870 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 19 people in 3 months
Marble and stone carving are in the heartbeat of Rutland, Vermont.  I now live in Rutland City and have carved sculptures for 40 years.  Way back in 1990 I spent time carving marble at the Carving Studio on the old Vermont Marble Company site in West Rutland.  I then rented  an abandoned building on the quarry property to use for my studio.  I carved daily while  deriving continued inspiration from the endless odd shaped stones and metal remnants laying around the quarry.  In retrospect, I created a body of work that now amazes me.

This area has declined like many American localities over the last 20-30 years. Many artisans and many more laborers came to this area as immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th Century to work in the marble industry. Many of their children remained in the Rutland area.  Over those years as manufacturing jobs were exported to low wage areas around the globe, many of the local working class descendants of the people who had worked with the marble have been unemployed, underemployed, homeless, and for more than a few residents, eventually opiate use replaced meaningful employment.

It is my contention that there is a vast reservoir of talent waiting to be unearthed here. The stone is everywhere, the stories of stone are still in the families; but the old people who worked the quarries and labored in its mills, and carved the stone, are not going to be around much longer. I would like to facilitate stone carving for local people to access their roots.   It was the grandfathers of local residents who carved the national monuments in Washington, DC. 

I am seeking funding in order to get kids and adults here in Rutland to know and use their heritage which is literally underfoot.  By virtue of its inordinate presence everywhere, it is my hope that learning to carve will generate confidence and self-respect for local people, and down the road, promote the development of cooperatively owned cottage industries dedicated to stone work.

The first item on my agenda is to rent a store front in NW Rutland, VT.  The intention would be to provide a downtown location for kids and adults to get familiar with stone carving.  Group lessons will be offered without cost to participants.  Where viable, donations will be accepted and bartering will be encouraged. 

At this juncture with Spring approaching and this fund inadequate so far to rent a store, I've decided to use the Baxter Street Alley location to do the carving.  Late last autumn I taught a 10 and 11 year old girl and boy, from the Boy's and Girl's Club involved in the TAG Project with Shannon Kennelly's direction, how to use bush hammers to shape the stone.  Their two rudimentary carvings with light peeping through the holes which they hammered out, are at the top of the path.  One of my recent updates explains and shows pics of the area.  Great outdoor spot with a magnificent marble wall.

When I first struck a piece of Indiana limestone with a point chisel at Corcoran Art School in 1976, I smelled the odor of the tiny fossils locked within it for 300 million years. I was hooked. I'd like to share that love affair I've had with stone.

To provide students with their own tools, I'll encourage residents in Rutland County to donate the innumerable hammers and chisels rusting away in dank basements and old barns, so that the tools can be used again.

Imagine how it would feel to learn how to shape something you never knew anything about, it's around you all the time...and then, realize you're gifted at it, and have the means to pursue it.  I believe that could be the situation here in Rutland and I would like to try to make that experience available.

Thank you,

Nick Santoro
March 24, 2018
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This is the pegtv ad for the Tuesday, May 1st, 4 PM barbeque at the Baxter Street Alley
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We're going to have a barbeque by the big wall at the bottom of the Baxter Street Alley. On Tuesday, May 1st, at 4:00 PM, we'll barbeque hotdogs and serve homemade potato or pasta salad. I'll talk about how to use stone carving tools with a short demo and give residents a chance to swing a hammer and hit a stone. I'll try to engage people who live in the neighborhood about what folks want to do with this great area. I'll toss out a few ideas and see what happens.

1. Brought about 20-30 chisels for re-tempering down to Kevin Mulholland at Vermont Forgings in Wallingford.
2. About to order some Akemi glue products.
3. About to order enough 2 x 3's with 2 pieces of 1/2" plywood to make 16 carving tables.
4. Talking with social service institutions.
5. Spoke with 11 y.o. boy whose stone got broken about whether he wanted to continue and he said yes.

Addendum: Who knows, but, we may be needing more and more hammers and chisels as this summer passes, so if you or your friends come across any stone carving tools let me know, thanks, Nick
Wall and path
Path with barbeque sign May 1st
What to do at the turning point?
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Here's the current situation pertaining to the 9 pics just uploaded. About 10 days ago I found one of the kid's carvings broken...in the mean time I had a conversation with the owner of the adjacent property to the big wall. In no uncertain terms he told me that for years he's made efforts to prevent people from congregating at the bottom of the path because of damage to vehicles he had parked across from his auto business. So my preferred location for the carving was scratched!
Greg Cox of the VFFC agreed that carving could take place on the concrete pad in front of the food center where tables from last autumn's TAG Project with the Boys and Girls Club kids was started.
I went ahead and made a couple of signs to indicate to my targeted resident carvers where we shall carve.
The broken stone is a perfect example of the anger and disenfranchisement that hopefully can be harnessed. Whether carving a stone facilitates that transformation remains to be seen...
I'm sharpening chisels, fixing bush hammers and moving some stones over to VFFC for the process. As the weather eventually changes we'll soon see whether the creative activity of unearthing local talent over destructive anger is possible...
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A couple more pics...
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$2,870 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 19 people in 3 months
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