Should Orleans try a county-wide art project?

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – “Chubby” stands outside a former Rochester fire station on University Avenue.

ROCHESTER – “Chubby” is quite popular in Rochester. I met him yesterday for the first time.

He is one of several fiberglass horses painted in Rochester along University Avenue’s “ARTWalk.”

Chubby is located in front of a former Rochester fire house that is now home to Craft Company No. 6, a handmade arts and crafts store that’s been in business for three decades. There is also a sculpture of a firefighter next to Chubby. Before motorized fire trucks, horses were used to pull steam engines to fire scenes. Chubby was Rochester’s most famous equine firefighter.

Other communities have done public arts projects, including Batavia with horses and Olean with squirrels. I think we could pull this off in Orleans County.

Olean painted many fiberglass squirrels and sprinkled them around the city.

I think one possibility for Orleans would be having different painted “creatures” spread around the county, with one in front of each of the 10 town halls and the four village halls.

The lakefront communities – Kendall, Carlton and Yates – might consider having giant painted salmon. We could mix in other animals – deer, ducks, beavers, bluebirds and more. Each community could pick an animal to highlight. These would be painted and set up outside the municipal buildings.

It would be an attraction and would link the communities together and provide a sense of history and “place,” as community planners like to say. If each community contributed, it wouldn’t be a huge daunting task for one entity. I also like the idea of spreading them around the county, rather than concentrating them all in one spot.