Courtesy of Hopewell Valley Arts Council
You’ve probably seen some colorful posts around town over the last year or so — they’re a part of the Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s ArtSpires project. Sixty-three of these were installed last year, in 20 clusters, throughout the Hopewell Valley and are a tribute to our many native ash trees that have succumbed to invasive emerald ash borer beetles. The spires were decorated by local artists and groups, and use wood from infested and at-risk ash trees felled by Hopewell Township Public Works — a way of celebrating these trees and raising awareness through HVAC’s ongoing initiative Out of the Ashes: Art Emerging from Fallen Trees.
Two posts continue to add color and inspiration to our Mt. Rose Distillery segment. Post 62, “Happy Trails,” is by Betty Ruger and inspired by the beauty of local trails. The piece, a bit of encouragement for passersby, includes the words “walk, bike, explore, hike” over torched and painted wood that shifts in color from different vantage points or at during different times of day. Betty lives in Hopewell, and paints landscapes in oil and acrylic paints.
Just next door is post 63, “the Four Elements” by Tommy and William Carter — teenage brothers from Pennington. The pair used spray paint to symbolize a different element on each side of the post — earth, air, fire, and water. The effect, with the colors representing each element spilling onto neighboring sides of the post and representing the symbiotic nature of elements in general, was inspired by nature and music and is reminiscent of Native American artwork.
Also of note, Lucia Stout — a featured Art on the Trail artist — is responsible for post 3 in Hopewell Borough Park. Entitled “Four Seasons at Beachtree Farm” — her home for 34 years — each side represents a season and features oil paintings of landscapes and beloved farm animals. Lucia shares the preserved, regenerative farm, which inspires much of her artwork, with her husband, their cattle, and sheep. In addition to paints, she forages black walnuts from the homestead and uses them to make sepia-colored inks, with which she draws and paints.
The posts were auctioned off to benefit HVAC last December; but most are still in place. Map out a route and see how many of these inspiring pieces you can track down.