People were drawing all over Rutland Saturday.
It was not an outbreak of graffiti, but rather “Draw Rutland” Day, an event organized by artist and gallery operator Bill Ramage.
“I found out from a friend in Wales that they have National Drawing Day,” he said. “Every single city provides people with the opportunity to draw.”
Ramage said he wanted to try it here.
“It’s an interesting way to highlight, underscore, put in quotes,” he said, explaining that when you look above eye-level in downtown Rutland, you find a rich collection of interesting architectural features. “It’s just an incredibly beautiful 19th century city. I thought that if people came in and drew it, maybe they’d see it through new eyes.”
Ramage said his goal was to get at least 30 participants to produce a total of more than 100 drawings. Toward that end, he promoted the event on social media as well as the mailing lists for The Rutland Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Rutland Economic Development Corp., the Downtown Rutland Partnership and Castleton University.
“I figure something like 7,000 emails went out all together,” he said. “This is totally an experiment. If it is really successful ... it would be great a year, two years from now, if other cities would do it. We could have, not a national drawing day but a Vermont drawing day.”
Ramage distributed supplies from The Opera House. People could be spotted around downtown working with drawing pads through the afternoon. Ed Epstein said he picked the spot on Merchants Row from which he was drawing the corner with Evelyn Street because it was in the sunshine. Epstein said he has work on display in a downtown gallery.
“Almost nobody comes by, but I’m taking part in this,” he said.
By mid-afternoon, Ramage had a collection that ranged from professional-looking illustrations of downtown streetscapes to a sketch of a snowman running from a girl on a sled. Ramage said the latter was one of three brought in by a young girl named Olivia.
“And this is from her father,” Ramage said, holding up a slightly more refined picture of what appeared to be a scarecrow holding a broom.
As Ramage showed off the submissions, 5-year-old Savannah Massey came in with a recognizable rendition of Green Mountain Power’s Energy Innovation Center, located across the street. She said she was drawn to the building’s “cool” shape, particularly its doors.
“I’m gonna draw the lamp,” she said, plopping down on the floor in the hallway of the Opera House and looking through the windows as she continued her drawing.
Ramage said he will eventually display the submitted work at one of his galleries.
“That’ll be a real treat for Olivia,” he said.