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Photo: Burlington Free Press

Photo: Burlington Free Press

Photo By: Gordon Miller

2021 marked the 10-year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene wreaking havoc on our community. The storm, and its subsequent floods, upended lives, destroyed businesses, and decimated infrastructure throughout Waterbury. Despite the challenges and hardships of such an event, we endured thanks to the resilient spirit of our residents and our willingness to help our neighbors. To commemorate overcoming such hardship, Waterbury Arts is pleased to announce our flagship project, Phoenix Rising. Like the creature of myth, Waterbury found new life through adversity and will forever continue to endure. The Phoenix represents our eternity, strength, and renewal, as a community. Phoenix Rising is a contemporary art piece composed of aluminum panels and vinyl. It is a vibrant display that stands nearly two stories tall and is mounted to the historic building at 5 Stowe Street, in downtown Waterbury, Vermont.

Thanks to the overwhelming support of our neighbors, Phoenix Rising was dedicated August 27, 2021.


The Artwork

The Phoenix Rising original art by Jessi Wilson was chosen as the winner of an open design competition held in December, 2019. The contest's theme of "Phoenix" was chosen because the story of the mythical bird resonated with a community that had re-emerged from the devastating flood of Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.


The Inspiration:

Just months after the flood, Waterbury held its traditional River of Light Lantern Parade through the still-damaged village. Leading the river of golden lights and bundled neighbors was an enormous paper lantern Phoenix, an apt symbol of the community's resilience. 

Lantern 37.jpg

Great press along the journey from concept to completion can be found here:

Channel 5 News piece by Liz Strzepa

Article in the Waterbury Roundabout

An incredible video by Steven Tanzi, the Digital Media Specialist at Radio Vermont

Photo By: Gordon Miller
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