The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce cut two ribbons on June 11 to unveil the Farm Friends mural and welcome the Cheese Bus to the community. The Farm Friends mural was painted by Filomena Jack, an artist from Elmira, NY, and was supported with a grant from the ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes. On the southeast corner of the Chamber’s 214 N. Franklin Street location, the street art is a tribute to nature. Subtitled “Our landscape transforms us,” Jack hopes that her creations will inspire others and spark transformation.
“Thank you to the Chamber for choosing a whimsical and abstract painting for the side of this historic building,” said Jack. “Art is determination manifested and a willingness to do ‘it’ anyway, regardless of what ‘it’ is. If you hear a voice that says don’t do it, do it anyway. If it’s raining, do it anyway. If you’re afraid of heights and need to climb a ladder, do it anyway. This building used to be a bomb shelter. I hope that this art will shelter your dreams and that you do your thing … anyway.”
Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn congratulated the artist and all involved with breathing life into the Cheese Bus.
“In Schuyler County, we are all about collaborations,” O’Hearn said. “This is a perfect example of a partnership that brought together the art community, the business community, local government, the Chamber, and academics.”
The Cheese Bus is owned by two Watkins Glen High School seniors, Cale Sutterby and Silas Farrell. It was a New Visions class project that was one idea among many and took shape, according to class adviser Paul Richmond, with help from many in the community. The bus debuted in April and can be seen throughout the summer at Lakewood Vineyards. The bus serves local cheeses, meats, and a variety of snacks.
“Owning a business is different than just working for someone,” Sutterby said. “It’s nice to set our own hours, but we have to work until everything is done.”
Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Hardy emceed the ceremony.
“We are pleased to support a phenomenal and inspiring arts trail in the Finger Lakes,” said Hardy, thanking Jim Guild, a local business owner and the building owner on which the mural was painted, for his support of the project. “And we’re always excited to welcome new entrepreneurs to the community. In this case, their spirit is amazingly contagious. We look forward to seeing all the great work that they will do in our community.”