Good for Kelly and her funky mailbox-painting project in Huntington, VT. We covered her story last month, and now Seven Days has a lovely piece in this week’s issue by Paula Routly. The slideshow assembled by Cathy Resmer gives a richer sense than the single newsprint photo.
The rural mailbox is a study in contrasts. On the one hand, it’s a personal postal sanctuary fiercely protected by the federal government. On the other, provided the “current resident” owns it, a mailbox can also be a means of self-expression. Along Vermont roadsides, it’s not unusual to see Audubon scenes, American flags and Warren Kimble creations mingling with the standard black, slushy silver, or rusty-red metal loafs.
Kelly O’Brien is taking the mailbox medium one step further: In Huntington, the 38-year-old unemployed carpet saleswoman is turning postal regulation into public art. In the last two months, she’s transformed about 30 drab mailboxes around town into colorful creations. A red mailbox with blue polka dots and funky yellow lettering stands out on the Main Road into Huntington. Further down, a cluster of four cheerily painted boxes makes a statement at the intersection of Blackbird Swale. One of the lids is a landscape that looks like the surrounding area. Is that Camel’s Hump? In arched cursive letters it reads, “Our Road Leads to Heaven.”…
To get the word out, ironically, she resorted to electronic mail. She posted a message on Front Porch Forum, the neighborhood email listserv that is building community connections all over Chittenden County, including in Huntington. “Hi, All — I’d like to paint your mailbox!” O’Brien enthused in her initial communication with her town’s Front Porch members. “You’d be helping me out by letting me paint and take photos for my portfolio . . . and you’ll benefit by getting a one-of-a-kind mailbox.” She added, “If you hate it, I can repaint it to the original black, gray or white.”
About a dozen people responded, and O’Brien went to work — on location.