Local artists Chandra Burkhart and Jennifer Cerutti recently completed an “interactive photo op” project at the rear of the Arboretum’s historic Barn. The project, funded by a Schoharie Area Long Term (SALT) Community grant, features two larger than life nature-themed murals that have already become a big hit with visitors, young and old, to the Arboretum – and fodder for social media!
Jennifer Cerutti, graduated in 2018 as an art major from Skidmore College, with a concentration in both graphic design and photography. She works as a designer for Price Chopper / Market 32; she also owns her own freelance agency.
Jennifer’s minimalist work depicts two huge white-tailed deer antlers with the rings of a tree. She chose white to contrast with the deep red of the Barn.
Jennifer was intrigued by the “out of the ordinary” challenge of the project, as well as the opportunity to work with paint again. “Once I settled on my idea, the toughest part was actually getting it on the barn!” she said. “The texture of the wood and the paint brush wasn’t what I expected.” Jennifer reported that she stayed late at night to finish the mural using the headlights from her truck – and warming up in the truck every now and again.
Executive Director Fred Breglia pointed out that the Arboretum’s founder had a great affection for the deer in the woods and fields around his homestead.
Chandra returned to college at a “turning point” in her life to pursue “what made me happy”: art. She graduated from Hudson Valley Community College in 2018 with a degree in digital media. She said, “I enjoy the technical side of my art – photography, digital manipulation, graphic design, web design – as much as I enjoy getting my hands dirty with painting, sculpting, and, of course, gardening.”
Chandra used a vibrant palette of deep black and bright oranges, yellows, and white, to replicate the monarch butterfly’s vibrant coloration. “I had a lot of challenges with working outdoors for about three weeks,” she noted, “from ladybugs flying into the wet paint, colder days and painting with gloves on, to rain cutting my workday short.” She said that her goal was to create something “iconic,” something that would help visitors appreciate the smaller things in nature – writ large.
Visitors to the Arboretum may notice that many of our plantings encourage monarchs and other native pollinators.