For Immediate Release: 5/21/18
Steven Gosset | Steven.Gosset@nypa.gov
Media Relations | (914) 390-8192
PUBLIC ART INSTALLATION WITH SUNDIAL MADE FROM OLD ERIE CANAL STONES OPENS IN FAIRPORT
Project Co-Funded by Canal Corporation Connects Wetland Walk to Erie Canalway Trail
FAIRPORT—A public art project--funded in part by a matching grant from the New York State Canal Corporation--that includes a butterfly garden and a sundial made from stones salvaged from a 19th-century version of the Erie Canal, debuted today in this Monroe County village.
The project, at the Thomas Creek Wetland Walk in Fairport, also improves access to the Erie Canalway Trail, upgrades the site entrance and expands the parking area.
The Fairport Industrial Development Agency had received a $50,000 grant for the project in 2014 from the Canal Corporation through the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council created by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, which has made $1.7 million in grants from the Canal Corporation.
The ribbon-cutting for the installation comes less than two weeks after the Canal Corporation hosted a forum on how the connection of the arts community to New York’s canals can promote community engagement and enhance economic development.
“This is a shining example of how the arts and the Erie Canal can come together to create vibrant public spaces,” said Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corporation director. “Fairport has long been a quintessential canal village and this installation will make it an even more compelling destination.”
Working in conjunction with the Fairport Public Art Committee, the village IDA sought to commission artists like Vanessa Sheldon of Rochester—the creator of the sundial--who could enhance the connection for pedestrians between the wetland walk and Erie Canalway Trail.
The limestone blocks used for the sundial came from the Wayne County village of Newark. According to the Canal Society of New York, they are remnants of the second-generation enlarged Erie Canal Lock 58 built in 1849. The lock was one of three closely spaced locks in the Newark Flight that lifted westbound boats 24 feet in a horizontal distance of less than one quarter mile.
That version of the Erie Canal was replaced by the current iteration 100 years ago by the Barge Canal, now called the New York State Canal System.
The 13.2-acre wetland walk has a rustic feel, yet is less than a half-mile from the center of the village, home in June to one of the most popular festivals annually on the Canal System. Fairport Canal Days typically attracts about 200,000 visitors over a weekend. For more information, visit www.fairportcanaldays.com
About the New York State Canal Corporation
New York’s canal system includes four historic canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. The canals form the backbone of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and connect hundreds of unique and historic communities. In 2018, New York is celebrating the bicentennial of the start of the Erie Canal’s construction.
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