Cindy Sheeler managed to combine her artwork with her love of teaching and gardening to earn entry in the Norman Rockwell Museum’s exhibit, “In Full Bloom: Artists Design Garden Gates.”
Sheeler, an art teacher at Gloversville’s Boulevard Elementary School, was among 24 artists selected by the Stockbridge, Mass., museum to participate in the juried show, which runs July 4 to Sept. 7.
Museum Curator Charles Sable said Sheeler’s gate has been used in some of the publicity for the show.
Each gate is distinctive, Sable said, describing the works of art as ranging from the more architectural to the whimsical. Sheeler places her entry in the latter category. There are gates made of welded steel and others of wood and stone.
The gates show is this year’s edition of the museum’s annual outdoor sculpture exhibition, which in past years has featured such outdoor subjects as windmills and scarecrows.
“I love whimsy,” Sheeler said Wednesday on the grounds of Boulevard Elementary where her gate was briefly displayed before its trip next week to Stockbridge, Mass..
On her gate, she painted the slogan, “What Sweet, Sweet Delight to See My Garden Morning, Noon and Night.”
Sheeler said the words remind her not only of her own garden but also of her grandmother, Mary Carreiro, who originally inspired her gardening interests.
What made this project special, Sheeler said, is that she was able to create the gate right in her classroom, day by day, so that all the 630 Boulevard students could observe its progress.
It took two months. “They saw every little step of the way,” she said.
“I loved doing it in front of my students,” she said. The kids were shown “you just don’t throw paint on something and have it done in half an hour,” she said.
Her colorful and whimsical design is an appropriate entrance to a garden because in her view, “a garden should be a fun and whimsical place to be.” Though Sheeler designed her gate, she credits family fiend Joe Jablonski for the carpentry that put it together.
The gates in the exhibit will be erected around the museum grounds. Most are for sale, Sable said, although prices will have to be negotiated between the artists and prospective buyers.
On July 7, the jury will award cash prizes in the categories of best in show, most inventive, most classic, most functional and viewer’s choice.