On Dec. 14, 2015, Gov. Peter Shumlin cut the ribbon on the new state office complex in Waterbury. As visitors enter the building, the first thing they will see is a striking mural that rises up a stairway. The mural tells the story of Vermont and of the former Vermont State Hospital that occuped the buildings of the state complex for over a century.
The mural was created by Sarah-Lee Terrat of Waterbury Center, one of Vermont’s leading public artists. She was chosen in 2001 to design the Vermont State Quarter, part of a national state coin series. She also designed many of the original Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops.
Her iconic brightly colored murals can be seen all around Vermont, and the country. Her bright, fantastical artwork can be seen at the Vermont Children’s Hospital, in the floors of NRG Systems in Hinesburg, in the children’s bedrooms inside the homes of Phish musicians Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon, on the walls of Arvad’s Restaurant in Waterbury, and at the Bonaroo Music Festival in Tennessee. Samples of her work can be see on her website
In 2015, Terrat received a $50,000 Arts in Public Buildings Grant from Vermont Arts Council for a mural project in the Vermont State Office Complex. She spent two years in the State Archives doing original research about the former psychiatric hospital and its patients. The mural captures the lives and stories of the former patients and staff.
She discusses the former state hospital, her roots in art, and her advice to young artists.
Sarah-Lee Terrat, artist, owner, Yelodog Design