A Train for Waterbury

Phil Godenschwager's aluminum sculpture rolled into town this week

You are looking at a 57-foot aluminum sculpture on the side of a railroad bridge in Waterbury, Vermont. It was installed this past week, above Route 100, because the people of Waterbury thought a piece of art would be a nice way to greet folks as they enter the town. So they held a contest, invited artist submissions, and 800 people came out to vote. Phil Godenschwager, a Randolph artist, got the job. 

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The sculpture took shape 40 miles from Waterbury in another train town. In fact, Phil's studio is so close to the Randolph depot that when the Amtrak Vermonter comes through in the early evening, on its way to Waterbury, you can look out the window of Atlantic Art, Glass, and Design and see the pizza delivery guy standing on the train platform with an order for the crew. It took many months for Phil to get that train sculpture to its final destination, and this week, when he bolted it into place, the people of Waterbury rejoiced.

Randolph, I should note, has a number of nice Phil Godenschwager installations, including an exquisite stained-glass window in Chandler Music Hall and a whole series of beautiful windows in the Veterans Cemetery chapel . . . but we do not have a 57-foot aluminum train sculpture that glows in the dark, its cars meticulously shaped to resemble actual historic buildings, its caboose shaped to resemble an actual historic boat. 

Yesterday I got an email from Phil saying the project was done. He sounded pretty elated. I'm glad for him, and I'm glad for Waterbury, really. So what if Randolph doesn't have a Phil Godenschwager train sculpture? We have other nice things. One of them is a train that stops downtown. Another is Phil. And we can always get in the car and drive to Waterbury, right?  


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