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Better Places Crowdfunding campaign launched for “Reconnect Fairlee”

July 5, 2023

FAIRLEE, VT – Fairlee residents and recreational visitors will soon be able to enjoy a welcoming, Vermont-made mural under the  I-91 underpass thanks to a recently launched crowdfunding campaign. The campaign is sponsored by the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development’s Better Places program and is led by Fairlee Community Arts.

The campaign will fund a mural at exit 15 and will reconnect Fairlee’s east and west sides, which were severed by the completion of I-91 in 1963. The Town’s primary economic center—Main Street restaurants and businesses—is to the east of the interstate, while Lake Morey, the Town Forest, the Lake Morey Resort, and many seasonal residents are to the west of the interstate.

“Public art adds to the artistic and cultural value of a community while enhancing the quality of life for residents,” said Department of Housing and Community Development Commissioner Josh Hanford. “Creating such an inspired reconnection of Fairlee’s Main Street and Lake Morey is a creative way to support community revitalization.”  

If the campaign reaches its $5,500 goal by August 15th, Reconnect Fairlee will receive a matching grant of $11,000 from DHCD’s Better Places program.

Click HERE for project details and to DONATE. 

The funds raised will go directly to the artist, Matt Heywood of Middlebury, Vermont, and purchase materials and supplies for painting and installing the mural, which will feature gorgeous depictions of Green Man and Snow Sister. Instead of only painting on the bridge’s bulwarks, portions of the artwork—specifically the seasonal leaves and berries that surround the wise faces of the Green Man and the Snow Sister—will be painted onto mural cloth by Town residents, then applied to the walls with adhesive.

“In many ways, I-91 benefits Fairlee. It is easy to commute from Fairlee to Hanover or Lebanon and it simplifies travel to Fairlee for those who come here to skate on Lake Morey or drop their children at summer camp,” said Cathy McGrath, a member of the Fairlee Selectboard. “Yet I-91 also severed Fairlee’s economic center (Route 5/Main Street) from the recreational visitors and seasonal residents of Lake Morey, leading to a physical demarcation that ultimately affects Fairlee’s economic vitality. It is our hope that this simple, Vermont-made mural will transform the underpass, brighten days, invite visitors to explore Fairlee, encourage biking and walking from one side of Town to the other, and reconnect Main Street and Lake Morey.”

Residents, businesses, and neighbors ready to support vibrant public places, community gathering areas, and local opportunities are encouraged to get involved and support this public art project in Fairlee. 

Learn more and donate here.