TICONDEROGA - The downtown Ticonderoga street art project has generated tangible results.
An auction of the 32 decorated wooden soldiers that stood guard in the community this summer raised $5,000 for new lighting at the Liberty Monument.
More than 60 people turned out for auction at Adam's Rib Sept. 30 when the soldiers and four other pieces of donated artwork were put up for auction by the Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership.
"Throughout the evening, the excitement level was high as those in attendance spent the cocktail hour viewing the unique one of a kind works of art lined up along the walls, beckoning the highest bidders," said Sue Rathbun, chairwoman of Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership. "During the preview, all were treated to delicious appetizers provided by Darren Geiser, owner-chef of Adam's Rib, while listening to upbeat guitar and vocal music graciously donated by Nelson Shapiro, Ticonderoga's well-known music teacher."
Rick Harker served as auctioneer.
The first item to go to bid was a beautiful 24 x 36-inch canvas wrapped color print donated by Rich Timberlake, photographer, who has a summer home on Lake George. The winning bid was $410, setting the bar for things to come.
The first soldier auctioned was created by Ticonderoga Elementary School students, bringing a high bid of $200. It will be returned to the school as a tribute to Riley Knight, who helped paint the soldier last spring before he took ill.
Several other bidders followed suit, winning the highest bid to return a soldier to the middle school, high school, senior center, library, country club, Fort Ticonderoga and various businesses.
Bids ranged from $50 to $500 per item, with the average bid running close to $160.
All proceeds will go to the Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership's main street improvement goals as outlined in the 2009 streetscape plan prepared by Elan Planners of Saratoga for TMSP and the community. The partnership's priority project remaining for 2010 is to get the lights back on the Liberty Monument, estimated at a cost of $7,000.
Last the spring, the Montcalm Partnership provided $1,000 in funding for the purchase of red paint for the new crosswalks along Montcalm Street, which were installed by the town highway crew. The partnership's design committee was also instrumental in getting five new gateway flags installed at the Fort Ticonderoga/Montcalm Street intersection in 2009 and 50 new welcome banners installed in 2008.
According to Rathbun, the soldiers project and auction were very well received and positive for Ticonderoga.
"All summer, everywhere I'd go, people remarked how much they loved seeing the soldiers," she said. "Cooperation and enthusiasm were tremendous, starting with George Demers, our wooden soldier maker, to the numerous sponsors, artists, committee volunteers, volunteer photographer Elaine Monroe, and event donors like Nelson Shapiro, Rick and Michelle Harker, Darren Geiser, and Rich Timberlake, who were incredibly generous. We owe them our sincere thanks and appreciation. When we light up the monument again, I hope all involved will attend and feel proud that they helped make it happen."
TMSP would like the street art project to become an annual event and invites ideas and suggestions for the 2011 theme. To offer comments contact Rathbun at 585-9721 or 2244.
To donate to the Liberty Monument lighting project, contact John Bartlett, TMSP design committee chairman, at 585-2304 or send donation to: TMSP, PO Box 379, Ticonderoga 12883.
The Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership (TMSP) is a tax-deductible 501 (c)(3) organization.